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Meaning of ‘personal care’ evolves amid coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped and expanded the way many think about how they treat themselves – what is now called personal care.

NEW YORK – These days, with a pandemic raging on, this is what life can be like:

Zoom in on your face for hours on end instead of occasionally seeing it in the mirror. Live the days in loungewear. Wear minimal makeup because no one sees you much. Consider an investment in home exercise equipment because gyms are closed or restricted.

The pandemic has forced people to spend more time with themselves than ever before. Along the way, he’s reshaped and broadened the way many think and prioritize the way they treat themselves – what’s now known as self-care.

The epitome of personal care in the era of the pandemic isn’t about buying a designer outfit, wearing a trendy shade of lipstick, or getting a perfect haircut. He has, for many, put the purpose and meaning of life at the forefront, reconfiguring priorities and needs as the months inflicted by the virus pass. Longevity concerns and fears of mortality are no longer mere assumptions. They are the reality of 2020.

It’s this intimidating reality that has skyrocketed the importance of ‘me’ time: stressing out with the latest viral creation, tending a garden, learning a new skill, dressing like you’re going out. just to feel some semblance of normalcy.

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“People are social beings. And while the social fabric has been destroyed and you cannot be a normal social person, you have become more focused on yourself, ”says Rod Little, CEO of Edgewell Personal Care, which makes the Schick and Bull products. Dog. “It’s beautifying for longevity as opposed to how I will look at the office tomorrow. “

It’s also a way to alleviate the feeling that life goes by haphazardly in so many ways. That’s true for Tonya Speaks, a 43-year-old dress coach from Fort Mill, South Carolina. Before the pandemic, she always got to business meetings quickly. Now, the mother-of-two teens exercise regularly and opt for luxurious baths in the evening instead of quick showers in the morning. She is happier doing it.

“Taking care of myself,” Speaks says, “is one way for me to be in control.”


Taking care of yourself is not a new fad. The difference is that before the pandemic, it could go down the drain if a to-do list was cluttered. Now, eight months after the start of the new reality, it’s a priority. After all, the thinking is this: if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we do work, raise children, take care of our loved ones?

For those who can afford it – and this is no small feat during this pandemic – feeling good can mean looking good. And widespread isolation has produced new trends in beauty and clothing.

Companies like Signet Jewelers and Blue Nile are seeing increased sales of earrings, which are visible on video calls and when people wear face masks. Department stores like Kohl’s and Macy’s are expanding their casual clothing offerings as more people stay close to home.

Pop star Lady Gaga, who has her own beauty line, recently posted a big plan in which she wears a cat-eye look with a natural peach colored lipstick. She put on makeup “to cheer me up”.

“(S) a lot of people are going through tough times during this pandemic,” she wrote in the Instagram post. “It is SO IMPORTANT that you celebrate yourself, live colorfully, and rejoice in this BRAVE SOUL that is you.”

But when it comes to consumer products, the pandemic is putting makeup aside as people turn to skin care products. The virus even upsets the “lipstick index”.

Typically, lipstick sales skyrocket when the economy gets tough because it’s an inexpensive way to feel good. But during the pandemic, makeup sales have been tough, and sales of skin care products are on the rise. In fact, 70% of consumers have reduced their makeup use this year, according to NPD Group Inc., a market research company. As a result, skin care eclipsed makeup as the top beauty industry market share category from January to August.

“People are paying more attention to what people are putting on their skin and in their bodies because of the pandemic,” says Lauren Yavor, a beauty influencer who recently launched a “clean” nail polish line that has been launched. sold in just a few days. “It was truly a turning point for clean beauty. “

– Beauty product chains like Ulta and department stores like Macy’s are increasing their offerings of moisturizers, bath and body products. Walmart has partnered with Unilever, maker of Dove and Suave, to launch stores called “Find Your Happy Place” aimed at customers looking to relax. The concept, under construction before the pandemic, was accelerated by a year.

– Companies are also reinventing marketing to respond to the new way of grooming. Little says Edgewell revamped an ad campaign for a versatile facial beauty tool to focus on shaping eyebrows due to the increase in video calls.

– In makeup, eyeshadows and eyeliners as well as false eyelashes thrive as people showcase the features that appear through their masks when they are taken out, says Larissa Jensen, Industry Advisor beauty at NPD. Hair products saw sales increase 11% in the third quarter as people took a DIY approach to coloring and styling.

According to Esi Eggleston Bracey, COO of Unilever’s personal care and beauty business in North America, “It’s a wellness revolution. “


How deep does it go? Is all the personal care related to the pandemic working, or are people just making random movements? One psychologist compares it to a roller coaster – up some days, down on others.

“Some days you have a great day when you’ve done everything you wanted to do. You got up on time, you made a salad. And then the next day, it’s Cheetos for lunch, ”says Dr. Vaile Wright, senior director of the American Psychological Association.

Being kind to yourself is especially important during the pandemic, when all aspects of human life have been affected and there is little control over the aftermath. This level of uncertainty is bewildering, Wright says, and further depletes already limited energy levels.

Self-care, of course, is only one dimension of coping during times of stress. Surveys have shown a sharp increase in anxiety disorders. Many therapists report an increase in the number of referrals and an increase in the number of cases. Virtual mental health services are booming – another form of self-care, in a more medical sense.

“Having a toolkit of coping skills is really essential,” says Wright. She highlights other types of self-care like meditation, journaling, and organizing, each with their own culture and committed practitioners. “We tend to isolate ourselves emotionally,” says Wright. “It’s really important that people don’t do that.”

Ultimately, “taking care of yourself” has as many definitions as there are people who take care of themselves – a Google search for the term will show you that. The World Health Organization takes an extended view, describing it as a “broad concept” which includes hygiene, lifestyle, social habits, income levels and cultural beliefs – and, at best, can “strengthen national institutions” to encourage overall health of a society.

As the world navigates a web of strangers that sometimes looks like the Upside Down in “Stranger Things,” there’s one thing people can do something about: themselves. Despite all the horror the pandemic has brought, it has also revealed things that matter. And from the way people have responded this year, it seems clear that, in all its forms, self-care is important – especially right now, especially with so many unknowns to come.