Beauty is therapy. That much, we all know by now, over half a year into the coronavirus pandemic, beginning with a community lockdown that had us confined, self-isolating in our homes to contain its spread. In our frustration, boredom, or despair, beauty soothes and excites. Beauty gives us a semblance of normalcy — a way to feel like ourselves again.
And because we each have our own way of coping, there are two sides to the trends that the lockdown influenced. You’re either doing the most, or the bare minimum. You are either D.I.Y.-ing it all, getting busy with your hands with the help of online tutorials or video calls from supportive loved ones, or you find comfort in buying new things; you just love the anticipation of a package delivery.
Still got the blues
Do you miss the beach? Me too. And the feeling is mutual for many as it manifests itself in lids awash with the ocean blue and touches of seafoam green.
Many have taken the time to master the challenging cat eye during the lockdown, and going for a liner in blue — not unforgiving black — electrifies the look. With the eyes as the remaining focal point in a face covered by a face mask, it keeps things exciting.
Trends are cyclical, but it’s never really the same the second time around and now is no exception. Cool blue brings out the warmth in dark eyes, but it can also look dated. The on trend interpretation is fresh in its contrasting pairing with warm browns.
While beauty retail brands that reacted quickly to the pandemic with an online strategy remain visible, we had to miss the pampering — not to mention the expert beautifying — we get from our beloved salons.
After hair cuts, salon mani-pedis are one essential indulgence many didn’t want to give up during the lockdown. The fulfillment of unlocking a new skill isn’t quite like the bliss of a hand massage by a pro, but it comes close. Now, how to replicate that perfect mani on your other hand…
One work-from-home perk is that you only need to observe dress codes from the chest up. So in place of office-friendly nudes, many are having fun with nail art. Doing it yourself can be therapeutic or stressful, depending on your skill level (and brush selection). Don’t worry, practice makes perfect.
New hair, new me?
It started out of necessity. Overgrown ‘dos are losing their shape, so we took matters into our own hands — or whoever you’re in quarantine with that has what it takes.
Lockdown also coincides with summer, which is the height of the annual dilemma: “Should I Get Bangs?” Those who watched the Hulu adaptation of Normal People are especially inspired by a lead character. They even have two Instagram accounts: @mariannesbangs, 9,210 followers and @mariannes_bangs, 4,825.
It’s also been a summer of coming to terms with your natural hair texture and getting playful with it. If you have long hair, plaiting it in braids or rolling it into space buns is a fun way of staying cool, not necessarily in a Jennie of Blackpink kind of way. Tip: Give your ears a rest from face mask elastics by putting them over your buns instead.
Closed salons, natural hair regrowth and/or a thirst for adventure also increased the popularity of box dyes. Not every case is a success story. But it’s just hair — it will grow back.
Next-level home facials
All this extra time (and anxiety) led to upgraded skincare routines, not only with daily masking and face massages, but also the addition of devices that are safe and easy to use for beginners.
In Korean drama world, it’s even good enough for parallel universe royalty.
In the Zoom
Zoom meetings and classes, e-numans, webinars, and Instagram Lives are the new, socially-distanced ways to socialize. You’re either acing your base for the camera, plus ring light, or figuring out that the low resolution display won’t be able to do it justice anyway, and go for good old red lipstick. Whether it’s for your mental readiness or an easy way to look put together, it’s a classic that still makes an impact with minimum effort.
Only the essentials
Nobody wants acne, but it surely trended during the lockdown, appearing either as mascne (irritation from wearing face masks for extended periods) or as signs of emotional distress, hormones going haywire and showing up on everyone’s faces. For this condition, even dermatologists recommend skip-care, the opposite of the ten-step skincare trend, reducing it to two to three steps with the most efficient products. It’s perfect for the lazy and/or the busy.
This eliminating mood extends to other parts of your routine that may not be necessary to you anymore, like shaving or wearing a bra and replacing it with extended showers and lots of moisturizing time. Freedom!
We’re all in this together
Lazada reported yoga mats as its lockdown bestseller. Studies have long reported the benefits of exercise for one’s mental health; especially important as we’re going through a crisis. We don’t have to be productive busy bees. It is enough that we survive. Staying active is an effective way of boosting your serotonin levels. It improves your mood and overall well-being.
Now, motivation to keep moving isn’t sold anywhere, but doing it as a group through Zoom workouts is a good way to keep yourself in check. Boutique studios have been quick to adapt and offer the same kind of energy you get from a physical class into your computer screens. It gives you that sense of community you may have missed, cooped up in your own bubble.
I know it feels like 2020 is put on hold and the world has come to a dreary pause. But experimenting with ideas like these keeps things new. No one’s really losing out if we all emerge from this with new skills unlocked. Which one are you trying today?