Graphic by K8 Strassman

Beauty gets a Glow-Up

November 1, 2020

7 months of structure and routine with little chance to escape has us restless to experiment with the novel and new. We’re itching for entertainment where we can find it. As many of us get out and face the world again, we’re doing it with the new beauty looks we tried out throughout quarantine.

Experimental beauty is on the up. Lockdown life was a make-up free affair, a great reset for our skin and our idea of beauty. But we let our beauty standards slip: showers were optional, every day was casual Friday, and “Zoom as you are” became the norm, not the exception.

Though we had no occasion to get glammed up, going back to “beauty school” and playing with our palettes became a way to cheer up — we passed quarantine time watching make-up tutorials on YouTube & TikTok. The experimentation helped us see ourselves with fresh eyes and evolved to become a form of self-expression, empowerment and source of entertainment. Now when we put on makeup, it is to please ourselves rather than to save face or impress others. There’s a newfound freedom to take risks with our look, express our creativity and have fun with beauty.

7 months later, daily rituals and routines are on the down. Been there, done that — we’re bored with our routines and they are becoming stressful.People are ready to move on from them, ditching their routine to break the monotony, infuse some excitement, energy & spontaneity into the day… even if it is as simple as trying out a new beauty look.

The Decode

ON THE UP: Experimental beauty

Here’s how beauty is hitting on all 5 Drivers of Momentum right now:

DISRUPTION:In August, TikTok’s #EuphoriaChallenge (based on the hit HBO show & we’re so excited it’s coming back Dec. 6!) reminded us of the transformative powers of makeup & inspired our own quarantine Glow Up (n. physical or emotional transformation for the better). We’re finally able to show off our new makeup skills, but now we’re flipping why we wear makeup on its head: from public self-expression to more personal reasons — entertainment, distraction, to show off individuality, etc.

As we start going out again, we’re putting all those YouTube & TikTok tutorials to use & get glammed up again but in a new way: by showing off a feature people can actually see: our eyes. Eye makeup sales are soaring because we’re leaning into colorful eye shadows, extra long and false lashes, and dramatic cat eyes as we experiment with new makeup styles to show off the windows to our souls.

INNOVATION: Brands are getting creative by evolving how they reach and engage with consumers to ensure the beauty process remains fun & exciting. They know how much we value in-person interactions & advice from makeup artists. Bringing us into the future of experimentation, brands are innovating on the typically impersonal e-commerce process & introducing opportunities for virtual interactions that make the online shopping experience more human and personalized.

  • Bobbi Brown’s virtual makeup consultation service Artistry Like Never Before offers complimentary virtual sessions for makeup tips and tutorials tailored to the customer. And it’s working: the brand saw a 15%increase in new customers, a 46% conversion rate from the consultation, and a 51% repurchase rate after the initial post-consultation purchase.
  • Beauty box subscription services like Ipsy are partnering with brands like Two Faced, Clinique and Origins to help consumers trial new and existing products. They recently evolved their offerings when they announced a first-of-a kind Ultra Personalization feature. Glam Bag Plus members can now build a personalized bag filled with a mix of full-size favorites from coveted brands worth up to $350 for the same $25 fee.

POLARIZATION: Women aren’t the only ones upping their grooming game. Men are getting in on the fun, too. Stuck at home staring at themselves on Zoom for months on end, men began experimenting with things they never even considered before: DIY haircuts, makeup & giving themselves manicures & pedicures…

The result of all this experimentation? A more gender-balanced selection of beauty products & even more male experimentation across beauty categories like nail & skincare.

Men’s grooming has been stigmatized for far too long, but brands are finally leaning in & offering new products specifically for men beyond the simple razor, shaving cream & cologne.

STICKINESS: For the first time, we’re all focused on the same skincare concern: Maskne (n. acne around the mouth caused by wearing masks). From men to women, children to adults, athletes to desk jobs, it’s bumming us all out.

How does it happen? The heat & sweat under our masks causes our skin to become irritated & dry while also clogging pores and causing spots to form. But we have to wear masks, so we need to learn to live with them. Here are some ways people are experimenting with treating & preventing maskne.

  • Protect your face with products like ‘Mask Relief Mist’ and ‘Face Balm for Masks’ which create a barrier & reduce acne-inducing friction between our masks & faces.
  • Switch to a silk mask & be sure to wash it regularly.
  • Wash your face & dry with clean towels. Resorè’s antibacterial & sensitive-skin-friendly towels help stop the spread of harmful bacteria and potent skin irritants in your towel that can cause maskne.
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SOCIAL IMPACT: We’re all for experimenting… but what really matters is where we spend our dollars. People are increasingly focused on supporting brands that share their core values.

  • Nordstrom made experimenting with inclusive beauty brands easier than ever before with the launch of its Inclusive Beauty online shopping category. Among the curated collection of products is something for every skin tone, every hair texture, every gender… for everyone. The collection features Black- and Queer-owned brands, as well as inclusive products from brands like MAC, Too Faced, and Estée Lauder.

ON THE DOWN: Routines

These days, we’re over our strict routines — they’ve gone from providing a source of sanity & control to an added source of stress.

Routines were helpful when we were trying to bring order and a sense of normalcy to our upheaved lives. But after months of doing the same thing day in and out, we’re craving the freedom that makes life fun and “when rituals become confining, they stop being beneficial.The momentum for routines is down because the routine has become mundane and limiting–we’re ready to shift out of auto-pilot and make the everyday more adventurous.



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Mike Berland

Mike Berland

Momentum Maker, Author of Maximum Momentum, Founder & CEO of Decode_M