Taking cues from the anti-beauty movement, which challenges the cookie-cutter ideals of traditional beauty standards, and the euphoric beauty movement (see trend #51 in The Future 100: 2020), which celebrates makeup as a form of jubilant self-expression, a groundswell of experimental beauty is capturing consumers’ imaginations.
At the outset of quarantines and lockdowns, the novelty of not going out in public had people zipping up their makeup bags and unplugging their hair tools, relishing natural, low-maintenance routines. Makeup sales were down 22% in the first quarter compared to 2019, according to market research firm NPD; E. L. F. Beauty reported a “significant decline” in retail sales during the last two weeks of March; sales at Estée Lauder Companies dropped 11% in its fiscal quarter ending March 31; and in Japan, lipstick sales fell by over 20% in April, according to findings from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
But as the weeks turned into months, people have begun to pick up their makeup brushes and flat irons again. With extra time on their hands and limited access to salons and professional services, beauty enthusiasts are leaning into DIY forms of self-expression, trying out new hairstyles and reaching for vibrant, eye-catching makeup.