Getting ready to go out seems like a long-forgotten memory. Establishing a beauty routine, putting on makeup, and selecting that perfect outfit that is sure to impress others – it’s been a while since beauty has taken such a performative nature. Despite this, many of us have found our beauty regimes to be more important than ever this year, and beauty has evolved into a tool of self-empowerment.

Starting from scratch

This year, we’ve had to make-do. Many people found this challenging, especially at the beginning of the pandemic when salons, hairdressers, and other sacred houses of beauty shut their doors for the first time. After a while, however, many of us leaned into this new way of doing things; lockdown haircuts reigned supreme—after analysing Google search data, we can see that searches for “how to cut your hair” rocketed in late March—and people took the opportunity to become home manicure experts. This shift away from sole reliance on others for our beauty needs has brought with it a certain sense of empowerment. Lockdown also served as a great time to mix up your beauty routine and try something a little different. 

Imperfections? They make us unique 

In addition, lockdown has helped us realise that everyone’s different and we shouldn’t just try and accept our imperfections, we should celebrate them. Easier said than done, of course, but lockdown has given people everywhere an opportunity to give the makeup a break and get used to feeling good in their own skin. Fashion and beauty Instagrammer, @mynameisbekki put it well in a recent post, when she said:

“These days, applying makeup has become a self-care step, savoured for the days where I need a motivational boost on another morning of working from home. However, I’ve learnt to love my skin with product and without – barefaced with all of my bumps, blemishes and blotchiness for the world (ok, colleagues on Zoom) to see.”

It may have taken a global pandemic, but as a society, we’re learning to be more relaxed about beauty standards and not being too harsh on ourselves. Through this, many people are not only learning to accept their flaws but coming to love them. Like Bekki, people everywhere are embracing the world of beauty through a new lens, one that allows people to experiment with makeup and beauty, finding what works for them and engaging with beauty practices not because it will look good to others, but because it will feel great for themselves.    

Finding mindfulness in beauty

For many, beauty has become about so much more than just looking good. The routine when it comes to skincare, makeup, hair treatments, and even picking out an outfit for the day ahead can, for many, become a form of mindfulness. During a year when pretty much everything else that we consider ‘normal’ has been flipped upside down, the stable routine of beauty has been incredibly grounding for many. This applies to both old beauty routines and new ones – comfort can be found in performing your regular beauty routines at the same time each day, while empowerment and enjoyment can be found in trying something new. For many, beauty routines offer an element of self-control and can make a huge difference in how they mentally prepare for the day ahead.

Dermatologist and psychiatrist Evan Rieder, MD, says that: “I think beauty and skin-care routines are a form of mindfulness for many of us and give us the experience of getting in touch with the moment.” He goes on to explain that: “So much of what we do has been lost due to the pandemic, so beauty self-reliability, while born out of necessity, gives us a sense of control over our lives, a greater sense of purpose, and the power to know that we are capable of providing these well-being promoting activities on our own.” For people everywhere, this mindfulness has been more necessary than ever while navigating 2020.

With our relationship with beauty evolving into something more empowering and healthy, it’s exciting to imagine what the post-pandemic world will bring. Hopefully, we can take these lessons of empowerment and self-acceptance forward, feeling comfortable in our own skin enough to go out into the world without makeup or pick the designer bikini that we really want to wear, not the one that we think we should wear for others. Empowerment, positivity, and self-love are the main feelings that we should be taking away from our relationship with beauty during the pandemic. 


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