Skip to content
Test your brand's health


Makeup Influx: From On-the-Go to Stay-at-home – Emerging Consumer Insights

Lockdown has been a shock to the system; even my own reflection in the mirror has changed. In the first few days I realised that the same level of daily makeup routine just wasn’t the right fit for my escape to the country working from home scenario. Leaving Central London I remember packing a suitcase with haste making sure I had my favourite long wearing foundations, yet found tinted moisturizer is all that was required. Will BB Cream make a come back? Let’s dive into this changed makeup mindset together.

Insight 1: lighter touch – still perfectly put together

It’s kind of ironic that Lockdown is the name often used for the kind of long wearing 24 hour makeup products. Urban Decay back in 2017 launched an ‘Urban Lockdown Travel Duo’ an oxymoron in itself; it featured their All Nighter Setting Spray. Yet today since we’re not doing any travel or nightclub appearances what does this new world of makeup look like?

Certainly it’s a lighter touch, a thin veil of priming light reflecting moisturizer is a must, on top of a coconut oil infused concealer a puff of powder, slick of lipgloss, mineral mascara and I’m video conference call ready. A full face of makeup doesn’t seem appropriate for this new world aiming for daily acts of kindness, which equates to my morning makeup routine slashed by half.

With no actual going out, party makeup is gathering dust, yet our image, how we see ourselves, how others see us is vital to mental wellbeing and motivation. As for zoom calls I can somewhat relax with the ‘Touch up my appearance’ setting permanently on.

Insight 2: individual accent – makeup maintaining our self image

If you look the part, you feel like the part, continuing to define a sense of identity is essential to avoid fading into the background. Makeup grounds us into the here and now and provides a sense of normality, and certainly a makeup statement if not a full face fits these the new norms. Makeup has always been used as a form of self-expression. So making a little statement with a pastel rainbow eye, glitter lipgloss or faux lashes might give us a pep to our step. With a wink and a nod to ourselves in the mirror, makeup shows a fighting spirit, even if it’s just for a visit to the supermarket.

Zoom has given me a new level of self-awareness as I can’t help but at first frantically check how my carefully orchestrated setting is looking, and once settled into the call casually gaze over at myself remarking on the power of good lighting. Yet zoom, if anything, amplifies our quirks and to maintain personal image we might as well play up our features with flattering colour or direct the eye, here or there, with dewy highlighter or muted red lip.

Insight 3: makeup duty – there is strength found in tradition

Standards must be maintained and products with a classic luxury and iconic status endure. Is it our duty and our joy to wear makeup? Certainly! And never more so when facing a national crisis. I think of the striking makeup look that was once compulsory for air flight attendants; eyebrows – check, longwear foundation – check, red lipstick – cross-check; a squirt of fragrance and we’re ready for take off. Indeed harkening back even further to post war 1940s when to not wear red lipstick was considered unpatriotic. Just the other day (at home of course) I remarked on the rather stylish sum-mer outfit my mother was wearing, how refreshing it was to see. She put it this way “It’s my duty dar-ling”. Gosh! No more slobbing about for me, since we’re sharing the same kitchen a bit more formality in my appearance will surely straighten my backbone, and help me rise to the challenge. Now as I conquer all my tasks I can also admire my beautifully cared for and painted nails. The show must go on. On a practical note transfer proof lipstick is a necessity when wearing protective face masks out and about, or else the gory aftermath would look horrifying. Say no more.

Insight 4: virtual fantasy – makeup for it’s own sake

It’s business as usual for digital influencers adding fuel to the beauty industry with makeup tutorials for youtube and instagram made with passion from their at home studios in Lockdown. Indeed there is a new army of beauty professionals to add to the mix; separated from clients and with artistic talent to show off, they can finally release more social media content. Actually all us beauty fans with time stretching before us have no excuse but to masterclass our way to a range of hair and makeup looks, and why not add the latest trends; ‘fox eye’ anyone.

Beauty escapism is benefiting billions of makeup fans spending more time than ever scrolling through social media and feeding their virtual makeup fantasies. Coming to my makeup station revived with fresh inspiration, and with an arsenal of possibilities I’m looking at my reflection a new.

Insight 5: forever glamour – there’s hope in looking dope

‘I shop therefore I am’, never have these words I once saw blasted across the shop windows of Selfridges seemed so true. Like it or love it this is a consumer society, and shopping brings us a sense of self. Walking the aisles of a large Boots store today, I feel a sense of calmness, hope, joy even, I’m snapped back to my former self, although spending more time in the hair and bath aisles I admit, I fill my basket, and walk home carrying the satisfying weight of two bags full. If I squinted I could be in World Duty Free buying an airport face cream and fragrance before jetting off to Greece (where I would have been this week).

Glamour must not be postponed any longer. Indeed according to Instagram, loungewear is where it’s at, with sexy designs inspired by party dresses in new comfy fabrics, and with a full fix of makeup in accompaniment. The very necessary gift to self arrived at my door through online shopping, a skin-care package just in time for the weekend. So I’m all set to take my at home pampering to the next level and maintain some at home glamour for myself.

Insight 6: exercise chic – fly past appearance

I could never have imagined that On-The-Go makeup would literally mean makeup to go jogging in. But since exercising outside is allowed it would be a wasted opportunity not to turn this into a makeup moment in and of itself.

Sweat-proof, Sun protecting, opaque colour popping, why not stand out in neon and turn a few heads whilst on my power walk, jogathon, or cycle ride. On the go makeup still has its place for busy mums offering easy makeup tools, or to switch up a look from at home office to a more nocturnal mood, see you on the ‘houseparty app’ Mojito anyone?

Insight 7: caring conditions – genuinely beneficial formulas

It’s with some relief that my eyelashes previously weighted down with mascara have perked up during lockdown. It no longer feels necessary to layer on lashes of mascara when I can achieve enough definition for a video meeting or to look half decent in front of relatives with a lighter flick and eye-liner trick that gives almost the same impression. I’ve become much more consistent with my eye-lash serum and seeing the results am looking to invest more in this area. Sadly I never got round to visiting the salon for a Lash Lift, but thanks to some professional eyelash tint (don’t worry I’ve done a patch test), and a trusty hairdryer and eyelash curler tip, I can make use of my own at home ver-sion.

Seeing my natural skin looking more translucently radiant from all those face masks serums and at home facial massage and LED devices (which I now have time for) I just couldn’t bare to cover up with a thick foundation. Keeping in tune with my upgraded skincare products I’m more grateful than ever for my stash of natural, mineral, and truly nourishing makeup brands. A softer look for all ages is far prettier anyway.

Insight 8: eyes are prized – dazzle them with jewels

The focus remains on the eyes for all protective face mask wearers. Indeed we can be worry free when marching around if wearing the obligatory face mask, but I do feel especially for the elderly who must think we look somehow less human and scarily sci-fi so I want my eyes to look as kind, caring, and bambi like as possible. False eyelashes, pretty eyeshadow colours, a smiling heart, and with faith not fear we do our very best for each other and ourselves each day. For a glint of pleasantly surprising sparkle why not add diamond stick on gems to the eyes, there are many elegant looks online to experiment with.

Insight 9: looking healthy – proof of healthy lifestyle efforts

No longer taking health for granted but being more responsible and doing all in our power to improve fitness, eat healthily, control bad habits, and structure our days benefiting mental health, phew; we want all this effort to show on our faces. A picture of health is what we want to see. A tanned glowing complexion, bright eyes, well-styled hair, clean, fresh, and well-groomed will give us the healthy appearance and optimistic outlook that will breed confidence all round.

Looking rosy like you’ve just returned from a brisk walk with the dog is valued far higher now than editorial looks. The truth is that we’ve all become used to seeing bare or very lightly done faces, so seeing a very heavily made up person might jar rather, or make you wonder what’s the need for so much makeup. A full makeup mask could feel like a barrier and cause further isolation, which is the reverse of the genuine connection and empathy we are seeking right now.

Insight 10: worthy investment – makeup the infallible friend

I don’t regret for a minute the money I’ve spent keeping up with the latest makeup collections. Whiling away an evening in lock down organising it all into categories, lovingly stroking and polishing each product, and rediscovering old friends I’m blissfully ready for a good nights sleep. As I drift off, I realise that I owe it to myself to continue to explore the infinite possibilities inside each box after box. The next generation are much more advanced than I with their makeup skills; I can only gaze on in wonder, and perhaps add a few more items to my basket to try.


In this difficult time we have learnt to be resourceful including making do with the makeup we al-ready have. However the pleasure and luxury of treating others and ourselves to a new fragrance or beauty product will keep us going and renew our hope in the future. Expect to see shooting stars out of influencers and brands highly staked on maintaining or gaining new ground on makeup innovation. Whilst the makeup obsessed youth driven online push new frontiers for the sake of entertainment.

Since colour effects mood, makeup will become more personal, and another tool that makes a difference while spending more time at home. The new beauty world will be kinder and less judgmental as many of us may have gained a new wrinkle or outcrop of grey hair from the stress that lockdown has inflicted in measures as unique and varied as each of our lives. Surface level consumerism may no longer feed a deeper desire for a more simple, less urban lifestyle, and appreciation of basic societal norms. I for one can testify that makeup can’t fix everything, but it can still give an avid beauty fan a fix.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

Our Series

Read More