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Over the past year, makeup has really taken a beating; the market has seen retraction where categories like skincare and haircare have really boomed. At the same time we've seen the demise of brands like Becca and celebrities hopping onto the skincare brand bandwagon. Of course, lockdown has played a part in this, but what about whenever life gets back to normal? Have our attitudes towards makeup fundamentally changed? Let's take a closer look...
I think for me, I will still wear makeup on an everyday basis but I'm definitely comfortable with less and making my routine quicker if it needs to be. It's fun to play around at the weekend but generally, for work I just want to look like a slightly more spruced-up version of myself, in the same way as I do my hair instead of sticking it in a bun and iron my clothes instead of not bothering, like I do when I'm at home! However, if I'd been exercising before work or wanted to at lunchtime; I'm totally fine with not wearing it. I think for me it comes to: is this fun, is it something I want to do or something that's not particularly important to me today?
I have to admit, I've felt a bit uninspired by the makeup world as a whole. I just feel as though I like what I like, I love my hero products and I don't feel like I need new things right now, nor am I really tempted. I guess this is where we segway into the sad demise of Becca. I remember when I got my Champagne Collection Palette and I was just enamoured with it. I've kept it for sentimental reasons and it has huge dents in it; I sometimes get it out to have a look at it and smile to myself. It's a relic of the heyday of excitement over makeup launches, blinding highlighter and influencer collaborations. Looking back, this was definitely the peak of Becca, and a lot of their launches in recent years have felt lacklustre. Don't get me wrong - their highlighter formula is still world-class, their range of highlighter shades even back in 2016 was impressively inclusive - but there are only so many same-y palettes we can take and I really didn't understand the thinking behind their recent launch of a transparent foundation (is that not a primer...?) And this isn't the only brand I feel this way about: Urban Decay have done a few things over the past couple of years I've been excited about (their Hydromaniac base and Naked Honey palette, off the top of my head) but overall the hype has died down, and what happened to Anastasia Beverly Hills? I remember how excited I was for Modern Renaissance and how much I loved Soft Glam but I've not been interested in anything they've done for a long time (though the odd collab like the Jackie Aina palette has been cute, I'll give them that). I wonder if it's just a case of oversaturation and a lack of creativity; throughout 2019 we were bombarded with mediocre launches, but I guess there wasn't much uptake or interest because I can't think of many products that launched in 2020 full stop. I don't know if I'm just bored of it or if these brands are just being boring but - based on my new beauty launches voting on my Instagram Stories - I don't think I'm alone in this fatigue.
I honestly think that around 2015-2018 there was so much excess in the makeup community that most people are kind of 'over' it. I don't see people losing their minds and having to buy every new Too Faced palette now, because - in all honesty - makeup takes a long time to use up! Or at least the 'fun' makeup like eyeshadow palettes that people gravitate towards do. I get through complexion products, I make quick work of mascara and I've emptied plenty of lipsticks too. Even cream shadows, I can use up at a decent pace, but if you've ever done a Project Pan with an eyeshadow palette, you'll know it's hard work! And I think perhaps that was a dawning realisation across the community that many people had impulse-purchased products they could never reasonably use up. Whereas, when it comes to skincare, I can easily empty 5 products a month and compare the last retinoid I emptied with the new one I'm trying. I think this was compounded by the lockdown, because we've been using skincare, haircare and body care, whereas most people's makeup collections have gone at least a little neglected and they definitely aren't feeling as though they need more. What I do think is going to be popular are hybrid products that combine tinted complexion stuff that you can use daily with skincare benefits.
I guess, for me, I still feel like I have so much to learn and understand about skincare, the skin and ingredients, so it also speaks to the nerd inside me that's a little bit addicted to the start of that learning curve and there's so much more to know! I also love that feeling of someone saying they bought something after reading your review and it's helped their skin so much, and it's great that it can give people that self-care aspect and the confidence to go bare-faced if they didn't feel this way before. And I think that through relying on makeup less we can enjoy it more when we do wear it. I never used to get it when beauty gurus would say they either went all-out with amazing, colourful makeup or didn't really wear it at all (maybe a bit of concealer and mascara at most). However, I completely understand that now: that's what doing something out of pure joy as opposed to obligation looks like.
Let me know your thoughts! Do you feel the makeup market was saturated or out of original ideas? Do you think the lockdowns we've seen have led to more interest in other areas of beauty?