What is considered essential? Within the few months of the coronavirus pandemic, many people’s concepts of necessity have drastically changed. Simple aspects of life that used to hold much importance – such as clothing, fashion, and beauty – are no longer mandatory in the big scheme of things. Now the most essential things are family and friends: keeping them safe and healthy, and preventing the spread of the pandemic. Accessibility to beds, hand sanitizers, face masks, and ventilators. Individuals that are risking their lives to treat or provide for others each day: doctors, nurses, janitors, grocery store clerks. These are what are essential right now.
COVID-19 has changed almost the entire population’s outlook on life, and what parts of it are the most necessary for survival. One of the industries most largely impacted by the disease is the beauty industry. With a sharp decrease in sales as well as widespread store closures, many individuals are struggling to maintain their businesses. Many big launches are being postponed, and companies have had to learn how to transition their supplies to online. Some types of businesses have had to shut down entirely, such as hair and nail salons. However, with phase one of Virginia’s reopening plan, and with many other states around the country already reopening beauty stores, they are expected to receive large boosts in sales over the next few weeks.
However, even once the pandemic is over, the beauty industry may be permanently affected. With everything going on around the world right now, one of the last things that seem important is buying a new lipstick or trying out a new nail polish color. One editor from Allure, Jessica DeFino, describes the new discoveries she’s gathered from the pandemic. Along with her, many people are beginning to contemplate the difference between products they want and products that are necessary, and what factors are most important to them in deciding that.
One large discovery consumers have drawn from this crisis is the importance of health. Not only in terms of the virus, but in the beauty industry as well. One example of this is lead-based makeup, which was very popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, oftentimes resulting in lead poisoning. Although that was centuries ago, not much has changed with modern-day products. In a study conducted in 2010, 100% of 400 different types of lipsticks were found to contain traces of lead in them. Many other ingredients in products today are still questionable as well, such as parabens and retinol, which have inconclusive results from many studies. A big takeaway from the entire virus is the importance of science, and it displays how much information we don’t know about the human body. It teaches us how science is always changing as well, with new research and findings being discovered, and how standards need to be altered with them. Why would consumers be willing to buy and use products that could potentially be putting them at risk?
Additionally, the virus has put more focus towards the beauty of nature, and the true importance of sustainability. There has been a recent influx in DIY products, which often use natural ingredients to replace the harsh chemicals found in traditional products. From tea tree oil as a spot treatment to coconut oil as a body moisturizer, there are many ways to begin to replace beauty products. With 77 billion units of plastic packaging each year used in the beauty industry, natural remedies provide for a much more environmentally-friendly way to carry out usual makeup, hair and skincare routines. Not to mention the thousands of palettes, brushes, tubes, and jars of beauty products each year, none of which is able to be recycled. While the coronavirus has caused many detrimental effects in the world, one of the only positive aspects is being able to see the beauty of nature once again. From a heavy reduction in air pollution in China to the canals in Venice being much less polluted, nature has already begun to heal itself within these past few months.
While everyone’s lives may be a little confusing right now, it will ultimately broaden their perspective of the world. A few months ago everyone was living their normal lives: going to school every day or working a job, being able to see friends and family – now everything has changed. It becomes clearer what is most essential in life, such as protecting those people they care about most. Although the beauty industry may be at a difficult time right now, with many stores having to shut down, it will eventually recover and begin to profit once again. This can be applied to the entire population as well; although many individuals are facing a lot of struggles right now, the pandemic is not going to last forever. Everyone is going to come out of this much stronger, knowing that they fought through one of the biggest global pandemics in history.