UK facial routines improve during lockdown

Lockdown led to an increase in women's facial skincare routines through heightened hygiene and more time at home, with facial cleansing back in vogue whilst make-up usage is down, according to new research.

Mintel asked UK women about their beauty routines during lockdown in April and May of this year, with one in five (18%) facial skincare users reporting that they spent longer on their routine. The report shows that usage of face wash has risen to 55% in 2020, whilst use of micellar water has risen from 25% in 2018/19 to 29% in 2020, and usage of toner has risen from 25% to 31% during the same periods.

Thirty per cent of facial skincare users said that they had moisturised more since the outbreak of COVID-19, rising to 41% of 16-24s. Whilst usage of moisturisers saw a decline in 2019, this year the product category has seen renewed popularity. Day cream/lotion has risen from 60% in 2019 to 67% in 2020, and night cream usage increasing from 44% to 47% over the same period.  

One in seven (14%) had used more facial treatment products such as face masks during that period, following a current trend. Usage of peel-off or wash-off masks rose from 25% in 2019 to 32% in 2020, while sheet leave-on mask usage increased from 15% to 22%. 

Usage of peel-off or wash-off masks rose from 25% in 2019 to 32% in 2020, while sheet leave-on mask usage increased from 15% to 22%.
Commenting on the research, Mintel's Head of Beauty and Personal Care, Roshida Khanom, says:

“In this COVID age, consumers are seeking physical and mental wellness, and facial skincare has benefited from the wellbeing benefits of following a beauty routine. The significant rise in face wash and facial toner usage in particular, may well be impacted by a greater focus on health and hygiene during the pandemic. 

“The mandatory use of face masks/coverings in a number of public places in 2020 could boost prospects for facial skincare, with new product development (NPD) in skincare products to soothe irritated skin. Skincare brands can also extend their ranges to release comfortable face coverings to reduce skin issues. Increased hygiene also presents future NPD opportunities for gentle facial cleansers designed to be used multiple times a day, or cleansing formats that can be used on the go, while including antibacterial claims could also appeal.”

However, lockdown and social restrictions have led to a decrease in colour cosmetics sales, with Mintel's survey showing 55% of female facial skincare users have reduced how frequently they wear make-up. Roshida Khanom explains:

“Even before the pandemic, the colour cosmetics category was struggling as women cut back on makeup spend. Korean beauty trends have benefited the women's facial skincare category in recent years, with women reducing their use of make-up to show off the hard work on their skin. The pandemic may well have played a significant part too with frequency of makeup usage down. As women gave their skin a break from using makeup, many turned to skincare to rejuvenate their facial skin. 

“Make-up usage will fall further throughout 2020, as social distancing measures remain and working from home becomes the next normal for many. Make-up/skincare hybrid products, such as BB/CC creams, could have more appeal as women cut back on using heavy foundation. The category has already seen NPD from makeup brands entering skincare in 2020 which will continue.”