Finding confidence in quarantine: Survey shows how COVID-19 influences makeup usage

As being in quarantine and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put a damper on things, American women are turning to their makeup routines to feel a sense of control and comfort, according to new research.

In September, marketing firm OnePoll asked 2,000 American women about how they’re staying positive and confident as their time in quarantine and social distancing drags on. According to the findings, 51% said wearing makeup and changing up their looks turned out to be a small way to help them escape the stress of current affairs.

If you’re feeling the need to switch things up, you’re not alone. Read on to discover more survey findings to inspire ideas to help you feel your best.

Going for natural beauty: Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen a palpable shift in mood to a more low-key, understated aesthetic. After all, when video meetings and intimate (but open-air) gatherings continue to define our interactions, we may be less focused on going for glam and more on dressing for warmth and casual comfort. For that reason, respondents identified a rise in more natural makeup looks as a key trend of 2021.

Leveraging makeup with benefits: A flawless look always starts with healthy-looking radiant skin, no matter how much we’re social distancing. And that’s why for a majority of respondents (60%), products that multi-task get top billing. For example, products that contain vitamin E in the ingredients or improve the skin’s appearance, such as skin smoothing or eliminating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are always a win, quarantine or not. To help you achieve that naturally beautiful look you’re after, try Neutrogena Makeup — it’s “makeup fueled by skincare,” and delivers lasting makeup benefits, packed with skin healthy ingredients.

The eyes have it: For now, going out means masking up, whether we’re hanging out with friends (while social distancing), eating at a restaurant outdoors, running errands or going on a social-distancing compliant date. Not surprisingly, nearly half of respondents (48%) admit that face masks have transformed their makeup routine. That means the eyes are now pulling focus. (Raise your hand if you’ve attempted smiling with your eyes, or “smizing.”) Sixty percent say they want their eyes to be a standout feature while wearing a face covering. In 2021, watch for the rise of dramatic eye makeup to give the peepers some serious pop.

Ready for your screening: Being in quarantine and staying home doesn’t necessarily mean makeup falls by the wayside. When it’s time to make an appearance, say, right before a video meeting, many found a reason to pick up their makeup looks. During our time in, mascara, eyeliner and foundation were the top three products respondents found they couldn’t live without — especially when they were due for a video call for class or work.

Getting a mood boost: Being in quarantine and missing out on the things we love doing most can be a downer. While nearly half of respondents (49%) admit to ditching their normal makeup routine, just over a third (36%) say that wearing at least some makeup actually gives their mood a lift. One in four (24%) have gone as far as trying new cosmetics, while just over half (51%) say that using makeup to change up their appearance — perhaps to compensate for the face-covering — lets them feel a sense of control and comfort during a stressful time.

During quarantine, making small changes has the power to give you a sense of control and boost your mood. For inspiration, visit

This online survey of 2,000 American women was commissioned by Neutrogena and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected in Sept. 2020. All participants are paid an amount depending on the length and complexity of the survey. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR and AAPOR.

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