Has the pandemic changed your relationship with makeup?

It didn’t initially, but I think the way it has impacted the largest industry and the beauty community/readers has ultimately ended up impacting my own relationship – I definitely feel a little less engaged and interested, which seems to be a common feeling within the community lately.

— Christine

39 Comments

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Lisa Avatar

It is odd, but I am more engaged with make up since the pandemic. Not sure why — more – time to experiment and play? Perhaps. I realized that these past couple of years that I wear make for myself and my enjoyment. But I like like to connect with others about make up, that is fun. That is why I read this blog!

Cristiana Avatar

The pandemic definitely changed my relationship with makeup. Lipstick has always been my favorite makeup product, and with masks it was hard to wear, rubbed off, so I just stopped wearing it. It made me a little depressed to not be able to wear all my pretty lipsticks.
The masks, and I’m not complaining about wearing them nor am I an anti-masker (it’s just fact), also rubbed off complexion products. After awhile I was like, why bother? So I just stopped wearing most of my makeup.

clidre Avatar

Not at all for me. I purchased more makeup since I have more time available and I lost the contact with reality. So I purchased things I normally wouldn’t see myself wearing. And now I’m full of regrets. I’m now back to my normal routine and I have the old makeup habits and preferences

Mariella Avatar

I think it’s a combination of the Pandemic and just reaching a point of having so much more makeup than I need (and that glut often diminishes my enjoyment). I never gave up makeup during the Pandemic even though most of it went unseen but I’ve always got lipstick on and blush, often tinted sunscreen (looks so grubby when I take off my mask) and always concealer and eye shadow and liner. But the stores being closed for so long and then no testers, so samples…it’s make it less fun and exciting to go makeup shopping. But I really don’t need more makeup, Pandemic or no Pandemic.

Rachel Avatar

I still have to wear a mask at work, so I haven’t bought any color lip products since the pandemic began. I’ve never been a big wearer of face products, so fortunately masks didn’t bother me in that regard.

Maya Avatar

Yes for the worse. I have an N95 plastered to my face throughout the work day and even outside work because COVID rates are so high. I still see people get sick and nearly die from it every day at work in the hospital so I cannot take any chances. It is frustrating because I just want my life back – everybody is going out and enjoying things and I cannot even wear the makeup I have that brings me such joy because I cannot leave my hospital job. I stay inside and don’t get sick so I can take care of everybody who is getting sick. I cannot even wear eyeshadow anymore because the masks and PPE get so humid in the summer that it makes my eyes water and burn. I do not see any end in sight and I truly hate how I have lost my ability to use the things that brought me happiness.

Swoozy Avatar

I spent so little on things I used to spend on – dry cleaning, clothing, shoes – that I spent more on products I normally wouldn’t have bought due to price. It allowed me to experiment with some higher end makeup and, while I definitely bought too much eyeshadow, it also allowed me to really figure out where my sweet spot is for makeup and not want to jump on every high end toy I never used to be able to buy. I found out Hourglass powders just don’t do it for me, but Sisley loose powder is amazing, while Sisley foundation was meh for me. Chantecaille foundations are wonderful for me, but their eye shadows are so so. I’ve tried to become more environmentally conscious and buy more refillable items – Kjaer Weiss for example – and will likely stick with that.

Agona Avatar

Most days, I really only do my eyes. I don’t do a full face unless I’m going out on the weekend. But yeah, day to day, just eyes and a gloss now. I was thrilled to even do gloss because we were masked at work up until a couple of months ago.

Nancy T Avatar

It sure has!
For one thing, when literally EVERYTHING, just about, shut down due to the pandemic, it was no longer just a matter of my wandering into a local Sephora, MAC or Ulta and getting to have a swatch-athon that could lead to a fun purchase.
And then there’s the masks. Making wearing lip color a bit of a problem, especially in the beginning of the pandemic when most of us were wearing cloth or those accordion fold masks! Now that I have KN95 masks if I am needing to wear one, those do not disturb my lipstick or gloss.
And yet, I also believe that the pandemic has led to myself and many others having more depression than before it, and that is something else likely has contributed to us being less interested in makeup. I do still wear a full face if I’m going out, but I used to do that quite often even though I was just staying home!

Kira Avatar

I bought a lot of Pat McGrath during all the sales, and also grew my collection of high end items, so these days I don’t buy new color cosmetics as often and just enjoy what I own. During the pandemic, I had less opportunities to go full-glam (like for a concert), but my love of full glam hasn’t stopped. I also generally wear makeup everyday, and that hasn’t stopped.

Z Avatar

Yes.
Not my undying love of all things makeup. But what has changed is what I’m *willing to tolerate, business-wise, and spend my money on.* I no longer support those people who have outed themselves as racists – to be fair those people used to be quiet racists with their groups of friends, now they seem to think it’s a character positive and not a flaw? -, fascists, “green” or “science”-washers (disgusting how those sales tactics prey on easy to scare and manipulate people/those unwilling or unable to educate themselves), environment destroyers, or just plain ol’ entitled. I’m also not interested in paying your 1,000% markup on some basic formulation science and cheap ingredients just because you put a celebrity’s name on the container.
The pandemic exposed how fucking ugly human society is and “seeing how the sausage is made” has certainly, irrevocably changed forever who I am as a consumer.
Obviously there are no clean companies. Every company is guilty of some offense, however it’s a mistake to allow your mind to equate minor infractions like an extra carboard insert with the horrors Nestle inflicts on the world. The world is shades of gray, friend, and the less you allow manipulators to tell you otherwise, the better off you might just end up being.
Ok, so that paragraph highlighted something else that has taken place since the start of the pandemic. It’s not just when it comes to cosmetics, though, it’s broad. I don’t tolerate bullshit anymore. Like, at all. Granted, I was a straight shooter before, but living through the actual workings of the world laid bare was…..a sobering moment that will not be forgotten.

Cherie Avatar

Well said. I could not agree more. For me it was a distaste for the wellness community. I was reading Caroline Hirons book and she mentioned a truth that just stuck out to me — the Wellness community was built on privilege. I kept getting emails from various sites all while I knew people were losing jobs left and right and so many people who lost their jobs had a hard time keeping food on their table. I felt like many in the wellness community preyed on people’s insecurities for profit while so many people could barely keep it together.

Alison Avatar

Appreciate what you say, Cherie. For some years, I worked in the wellness community, and had stepped away due to seeing the privilege. I still think they have helpful stuff but if not everyone can afford it, we can’t ignore that. I know many different kinds of people, not just one group– so this whole division was really a shock to me.

peach Avatar

I agree very strongly.

I had a lot of experiences before the pandemic warning me the terribleness in our society and communities. I have been told numerous times by therapists and doctors that only a few people are like that. Now, after seeing numerous people behave terribly or I see articles how there are some primary care physicians who don’t believe vaccines work, judges bemoaning mask mandates, or “how much do we really owe the immune compromised” like we’re disposable and so on- I’m just disgusted. The Covid-19 pandemic is less over than the AIDs epidemic (NPR has a good article on this.) Bad people didn’t just die in history books. The time we are living will just be another chapter.

Lellalee Avatar

I didn’t really wear all that much make-up before the pandemic. But when I came to go on my first night out post lockdown, I couldn’t even find my make-up bag! I feel lockdown worked wonders on my skin and I’m trying to keep a better complexion by keeping as make-up free as possible.

Nicole Avatar

It’s changed drastically for me. I used to be a red lipstick every day girl. I haven’t worn lipstick since February 2020. I’m a long time Medical ICU RN so obviously I live in a N95 and full protective eyewear. On my down time I still mask and wear protective eyewear in public. Cosmetics are nearly obsolete for me.

Cherie Avatar

Definitely. With the mask wearing and staying away from people, it just wasn’t worth it. I only used makeup for Zoom meetings. Skincare, on the other hand, my interested went up significantly. I started to pay attention and give myself facials more regularly. A little bit of sanity. I’d say my interest in makeup is now gradually coming back as I have more facetime with people.

Nina Avatar

Not really. I had and have backups of my favorites, which are few, the beauty of being a minimalist 🤍 I tried to daily not let the pandemic bother me too much. I saw and stood witness to good people falling victim to histrionic personality disorder and it was right then I said it was going to be business as usual for me at least Fortitude and lipstick are fierce 🤍 oh, and a sense of humor helped 🤍

Genevieve Avatar

I continually wore makeup throughout our many lockdowns (Melbourne was the KIng of Lockdowns in the world!) – but I didn’t bother to use primer or mascara. Lipstick, which I love, was tricky to wear because of the mask situation – so I just wore it around the house. I just shopped my stash more…..
The pandemic impacted all the brands because their workforce was at home and I think that more people focused on their skincare routines instead. I certainly did buy more skincare products during that time as my ‘beauty fix’ as our budget beauty shops Priceline and Chemist Warehouse were allowed to be open. They sell budget beauty lines, but their skincare range is quite developed and offers a wide range of products at every budgetary level.

Pearl Avatar

I think I may have more of an appreciation for it now, simply because it was one of the highlights for me in the past two years. Locked down at home? Break out the make up and nail polish and skin care!

I’ve always enjoyed putting on make up and have appreciated my collection, but now I feel a deeper sense of gratitude for having a hobby that allows me to self-soothe, as it were, these last (going on) 3 years. There have been some pretty dismal days and this was one of the very few things that I could do for myself to lift my spirits so I could be there for others.

Deborah S. Avatar

I definitely have been affected but I think it has more to do with not being able to shop in person for a long time and not being able to test products. Half of the fun of going makeup shopping is walking around Sephora/Ulta/Norsdstoms with an arm full of swatching! I really missed that and in some stores, they didn’t even have a covered open product to look at. I still wear my lipstick under my mask, as I don’t have a problem with it smearing, by virtue of how I wear the mask. Having been an RN for 45 years, I am use to wearing masks for long periods of time. Even if I am the only one who knows I have it on, I still wear it! Like many, lipstick is my favorite product, if I had to pick just one. I just got my second booster, fourth shot and my arm was so sore with this one. The previous three injections my arm hurt for a couple of days and then it was gone. This time it really hurt, swelled up and got red and hot. It probably didn’t help that when I fell a few days ago, I landed on my stairs with that arm down!

beachgal Avatar

I got more consistent with my skin care, not wearing all the normal makeup. I’m retired so didn’t pick up extra time. I still was able to do my charity work delivering meals to Seniors homes. I asked more. With more of a low key lifestyle, I seemed to wear less makeup, concentrating on my grows and eyes. I gave up lipstick. No one saw it with the masks. But I wear lots of lip balm/Chapstick. I gave up the heavier foundation and started using my old fav, Lancome or MAC liquid. I guess my blush gets to be lighter too as I didn’t turn to more Burgundy blush in the winter.

Natalie Avatar

Getting into makeup was one of my lockdown activities. I felt I had more room to play around with looks and techniques without having to face the commitment of a whole day out and about with other people! I barely wore makeup before the pandemic and generally had kind of a negative view of it. I even decluttered a lot of makeup right before the quarantines started. Now I find it fun and creative 🙂

Alison Avatar

Whereas before the pandemic, I wore makeup every day, for the first two years of the pandemic, I stopped wearing makeup, and went on a no-buy. We moved and I went through my stash, and if it wasn’t something I wore and used or a real favorite, no matter how luxury the brand, it was gone. I gave away a collection of Chanel polishes. Viseart Neutral Mattes, Cool Mattes, Dark Mattes– Tom Ford eye palettes I wasn’t using, bye-bye. Pat McGrath palettes– too glam– bye-bye. But I did keep my favorite stuff and I still have enough lipsticks to never have to buy another lipstick. In the last two months, I started wearing makeup again. Even though I work from home and no one but the hub sees me, I enjoy it.

Zia Avatar

I’m more engaged in the makeup world in an emotional sense since the pandemic -but only the indie makeup world! The pandemic is also a large reason I made online makeup friends that actually know me and that I talk to about things other than makeup now and we are all kind of super into indie makeup so I think it all goes together.
I do think I’ve grown distant from lipsticks and lip products and even full face looks. Because masks. But…. I still love all of it really and I still love doing full makeup if I do happen to have any social plans (which is rarer now).
At the same time, once 2022 hit, I have made great efforts to cut back on my spending. So being on a no buy and then a low buy and then a no buy again definitely affects my enthusiasm. I don’t want to get too excited over all the things I can’t have hahaaa!
I will say, I always check Temptalia and read the blog every day, no matter what! That’s been my thing for years now.

Nikki Avatar

Makeup has helped keep me sane during the pandemic, because my makeup’s something that’s under my control! During my area’s first mask mandate I skipped lip products entirely when I was in public, but doing so made me feel depressed and uncomfortably naked, so I didn’t do that during our second mask mandate-just blotted my lipsticks carefully and saved gloss for days when I was staying home. I definitely appreciate lipstick more now!

Susan Nevling Avatar

I find I were makeup much less frequently when I go to the store and even once in a while when we go out to eat. Recently, though, I’ve noticed a shift back to wearing makeup out. We shall see where this leads.

Amalia Avatar

Sadly, yes. I stopped wearing my makeup, maybe only under eye concealer. Most of my friends also. I also read in articles that most people lost the interest they had and turned to other trends, such as perfumes and home scents. Fragrances, will be the focus for investment in the future. And many bloggers see it and turn to the fragrance. Maybe after the abolition of the obligation to use a mask (although I think, personally, in overcrowding I will wear it) I will use makeup again more systematically, just to reduce the amount I have.

peach Avatar

I wore it less, yeah. I didn’t really feel bad or miss it. Make up has always been just for fun- not a priority or requirement. Well, I do like to wear something on my lips to make me look a little less sick/worn. It’s so irksome to hear others comment how tired/worn/sick I look on less than stellar days. However, I was much more focused on the pandemic. I spent a lot of free time trying to educate others online and share resources. It was/is rough on my mental health.

DVa Avatar

Not just makeup, but there’s so much I have little interest in that used to be a big part of my life.
When the Sephora spring sale went on I looked back and realized I had not purchased anything since early December! Guess what, I didn’t miss it.
For the first 18 months of the Pandemic I wore makeup a bit, primarily complexion, blush, bronzer and mascara. The last 6 months I rarely do.
I work from home so it wasn’t needed except to make me happy, then I just got tired of doing the work.
If I go out, which is rare, for lunch with a friend or work, I will go out with a full face, but it’s all much simpler than before COVID.
Now when I do start going through my stash it makes me sad, and guilty, of the money tied up in my vanity drawers. I’m prioritizing everything differently now. In my job I used to dine out frequently, travel quite extensively, and attend a lot of events. I’ve been turning almost everything down if it’s not absolutely necessary, and not missing the socialization at all.
The travel I do miss, but I just don’t want to get sick (even the mild case of COVID everyone seems to be getting these days) on a trip. Dining out is expensive and getting more so, and while I want to support local businesses, I just don’t have the interest and energy for it all anymore.
On the plus side too, I’ve spent a lot more time with my dogs, and I’ve written a book.
I don’t know what next year or the year after might look like, I might get back into the swing a bit more, but I’m certainly not the only one who has re-prioritized their lives in the last two years.

Helene Avatar

No.
Apart from wearing a mask when grocery shopping my life continued the way it’s been for years now. I get out of bed, have some coffee, walk the dog, do my makeup, read my mails, play a bit on the PC, walk the dog, eat something, do some chores and so on. Nothing changed.
Doing my makeup is always a nice relaxing time for me and I do it just for me, so I do it most days.
I may not have bought less, something I’m going to stick with.

Adis Avatar

Yes. At first, I bought a lot of more makeup, especially eyeshadows, in which I was able to create fun looks and swatch. Before 2020 ended, I felt major regret and guilt over spending a lot despite buying makeup at discount prices. Last year, I had makeup burnout and only bought stuff that I truly liked to use on an everyday basis. I still have to wear a mask everyday, which does not help and de cluttered a lot of makeup. I still have a lot, but it is not a priority anymore.

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