There’s conflicting evidence from the beauty and personal care sector about all of our personal habits during lockdown. Put simply: are we tending to let ourselves go because we’re only on show to close family; or are we taking some time to look good in order to feel good?

Lex Bradshaw-Zanger, L’Oreal UK and Ireland CMO, told Marketing Week that consumers are keen to look good, and the brand has seen an “enormous rise” in interest in its skincare and homecare hair colour products. It’s all part of keeping your life in balance.

“Pampering yourself and staying fresh and beautiful even when you’re not going out is still needed” said Bradshaw-Zanger.

“Beauty is important from a mental health perspective too,” he added.

That may be, but Unilever, on the other hand, says there’s clear evidence many consumers are rather letting themselves go, and the brand has noted falls in demand for skin and haircare products.

As many people are working from home, they’re washing their hair less, putting off shaving and even applying deodorant less, the FT reported recently.

Unilever, makers of Dove soap, Lynx and Sure deodorants, and Toni and Guy haircare products, said around a quarter of personal care products, such as hair washing and styling products as well as deodorants, are used by people going to work or school, and homeworking has cut into demand for these products. Haircare product sales were down especially in China and India; skincare products were also down, the company said.

And Graeme Pitkethly, the company’s CFO, told the FT the company expects the change in people’s habits to continue even after lockdowns are ended.

People are likely to spend “more time at home, more time cooking – which is good for us – and maybe less personal care occasions, this nesting idea”, he said.

Low economic growth would mean a consumer focus on value-for-money products going forward, the company believes, along with consumers’ increased concern about household hygiene. The growth in online shopping is also here to stay.

Meanwhile, it seems facial hair, at least for men, is increasingly part of the UK’s lockdown look.

Nearly a third of UK men are growing beards during the government’s stay-at-home edict, according to a survey by Danish company Copenhagen Grooming, which says it’s seen demand for its products leap 278% during the coronavirus crisis. The survey findings show over seven million men in the UK are currently experimenting with a bearded look, the company says.

Sourced from Marketing Week, Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff