With the pandemic, many women no longer feel the beauty need to wear layers of makeup
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down, causing many pre-conceived notions to be challenged. As many of us sought refuge in our own homes, the clothes that we wore to Zoom meetings and to lounge in also became more comfortable. Also slowly slipping away was the pressure to wear layers of make-up. Back to the basics for many of us. An online meeting seemed easier and more breeziest with glowing skin, lipstick, and mascara. Women have chosen to stick to this new-found freedom as the pandemic recedes. Generally, this has meant accepting their natural selves; for some, it means feeling closer to nature and having a more confident face.
Romanian-born Mihaela Paunescu lives in the UAE since 2008. Also an entrepreneur, she has a daughter. Women are turning away from heavy make-up now that Covid is taking a backseat to a more natural or minimal look as Covid takes a backseat to the pandemic. There might also be environmental factors at play: wearing a mask, less exposure, less opportunities to hang out etc.
I have noticed that Arab ladies seem to care more about their make-up than, say, European women when asked whether societies and cultures accept women who go light on make-up or if this is perceived as ‘laziness’, Mihaela says. “But we make different choices based on our habits, lifestyle, and place of work.”
Despite declining cosmetics demand, skincare product demand has increased in recent months. According to her, skincare products are always in demand due to our desire to remain clean and their ability to take care of us. Natural, organic skincare products have also become more popular.”
When Mihaela has some skin condition or other problem, she feels that make-up can help.
Despite the trend of going ‘natural’ always having its supporters, we find in recent times that many celebrities post their pictures without make-up on Instagram. Images like these do influence most of us, especially when we live in an age where we are constantly on social media or following events. Mihaela feels that many fields are exhibiting a ‘back to nature’ trend. Markets are “flooded with fake images, filters, and unnatural looks and behaviors”. The awakening of our collective consciousness through Covid is another reason why we are returning to being natural.
This trend stands out. Brandessence conducted a market analysis (conducted in late 2021) that estimated the skincare market reached USD 132.64 billion in 2020, and the global skincare market to reach USD 198.13 billion by 2027. With Covid continuing to shift its focus from make-up to skincare, along with increased consumer awareness, the skincare market is expected to grow at a significant pace.”
Look the way you want:
The debate over the appropriate amount of make-up also involves Ishita Gupta, who is a student in California, and how other students relate to this issue. “I’ve never been one to wear a lot of make-up, but most of my friends don’t either. “I usually wear just natural make-up to parties and even then only very rarely.”
Students don’t usually wear a lot of make-up, but one feels the need to wear a little when out and about. Myself, I do not wear makeup, never have. However, I will put on eyeliner when going out: not because I am afraid I will not be accepted otherwise, but because people will see me and tell me I look nice. However, I am completely comfortable with nothing on.
We want to go for a more natural look because of the pandemic, says Ishita. This makes sense to me, and I really resonate with it. “I try to maintain a healthy glow on my face because I don’t wear a lot of cosmetics [and that requires using less products on my face], and I eat well. This is also a sustainable way to look and feel good,” she says.
Whether it is a generation shift or the fact that times have changed, but, for Ishita, looking good comes from the inside out. For Ishita, real, substantive beauty makes her feel confident. Fit, clear skin, and a workout make me feel good. Inside and out, I am healthy and beautiful. I don’t wear makeup. Sometimes I can use it as a party trick, but I don’t see myself using it regularly.”
Alicia Keys of beauty:
This has endorsed the no make-up look for years now. Glamour UK stated that she had worn make-up since she was 16 years old. In the music industry, it was what you did every day for your television. Therefore, I did it because I thought that is what you do. My addiction made me feel uncomfortable without it.”
“I love makeup!” she said clearly: “I won’t give up on it.”. Lip gloss, blush, eyeliner are favorites. Not that, she said. However, I do not want to feel that I have to do it.”
Keys pointed out that the main argument here is that one does not need to feel ‘obligated‘ to abide by it. Ultimately, it comes down to a woman’s choice and her comfort, not what society thinks.
A triumph for skincare of beauty:
In Kavita Mathur’s experience, the pandemic saw many women returning to a natural and simple look. “As a result of being confined to their homes during Covid, women realised that simple and natural beauty also comes with ease and effortlessness. We’re brought closer to our true selves. There is also true joy, peace, and happiness in this ‘space’. When we see this, we’ll make sure to keep returning.”
Health and immunity are of prime importance to us, says Kavita. Make-up products are able to make our skin breathe, but the chemicals in them can harm us [especially if they are not natural and organic products are very expensive].
People today want to stay beauty in any way they can. Therefore, “women want to look more natural.”
Society cares about being well-groomed. Additionally, beauty is not superficial; it is a reflection of our inner self. The only thing that society notices about well-groomed women is their panache and elegance.”
We are entering a new era where other pandemics may emerge. Thus, we need to become physically strong with a strong immune system in order to be able to fight off pandemics, and also mentally strong and spiritually grounded in order to defy any fear in our environment. As the largest organ in our body, our skin, health and skincare are regarded more highly.”
From a philosophical perspective, she examines the debate on make-up. She says we all share two things. There are two aspects to staying healthy and happy. Make-up isn’t right or wrong. You should do that at that point because it will bring you joy.”
As a result of the pandemic, Kavita feels that celebrities have gone for a cleaner, minimal make-up look. They are, of course, trendsetters. Let’s be inspired. During the pandemic they had also experienced that less is easier, so we need to enjoy and celebrate the natural look right now.”
True beauty is reflected in a woman’s soul, not in her face, as Audrey Hepburn said about beauty. She shows passion and caring. Women’s beauty grows as they age.”
Appearances in life are never wrong or right. Denim and a tee is cool for some, while trousers and a polo shirt is formal for others. Perhaps we are slipping into comfort with our inner selves as we count the losses and grief of many during the pandemic and even now. As women, dressing up is fun, but we also enjoy grinning through our freckles. We may have become less judgmental after the pandemic of a few wrinkles here and there – that a concealer could have covered before, but now they do not matter – and more appreciative of a healthy, happy face.