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National Survey Reveals How Pandemic Has Impacted Beauty


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In the past year, we’ve seen dramatic changes to our everyday lives—some temporary, some permanent. What has it all meant for beauty, self-care, and our very perception of ourselves?

StriVectin answers these questions with new research exploring changes and new habits after a year of unprecedented disruption. Its survey of 2,000 U.S. adults has examined the impact living in a largely virtual world has had on how we perceive ourselves and how we might expect those changes to impact our daily lives as we emerge from pandemic life.

Video conferencing has become the new normal since public health precautions necessitated time spent apart from family, friends, and colleagues. And with 90 percent expecting to continue video calling even after the crisis abates, we are likely looking more at a shift than a trend. 

“As a brand with scientific research at the core of our beliefs, it was important for us to better understand shifting consumer perceptions and priorities,” says StriVectin CMO Alison Yeh. “The findings of this survey shed a light on the impact living virtually has had on the way we look at ourselves on many levels, a trend we expect to continue as working from home and video-calling are likely to remain embedded in our everyday lives for months to come.”

Among the highlights of the survey:

  • 63 percent admit to spending at least half their time on video calls staring at their own face. 
  • 44 percent have researched how to look better in video calls.
  • 33 percent have been frustrated to the point of considering cosmetic procedures – for those in the 35 to 44 age group, that number jumps to 50 percent.
  • 81 percent feel that the condition of their skin has deteriorated during the pandemic.

A Different Reflection?

Sixty-nine percent of survey takers say the things that bother them on video calls are not the things that bother them when they look in the mirror. This is not in their imagination. Experts say that our phone and computer video cameras can intensify shadows around the eyes and nose, highlight blemishes and wrinkles, and even make the face look fuller.

Staring at this new live video view of oneself, as opposed to in a mirror or a photograph, can be a somewhat unsettling experience. Not surprisingly, 58 percent of all respondents admit that they get distracted by their own appearance on video calls, not listening at times.

Eyes Climb The Beauty Priority (Complaint) List

Eye concerns are one of the most common “video face” complaints with one in four saying they notice under-eye circles more on video calls. 

  • 30 percent say they have actually turned their camera off during a video call because their eyes looked tired on the screen.
  • 71 percent say they are making an effort to positively accentuate the eye area, mostly by enhancing the skin. 37 percent have stepped up their efforts with serums, eye creams, and devices, while 34 percent have added products to conceal or diminish dark circles. 31 percent rely on added definition with color cosmetics. 

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Motivated To Look Better On Camera

A significant portion of survey takers—44 percent—have researched how to look better in video calls specifically, while 33 percent have even considered cosmetic procedures after constantly seeing themselves on video calls. As a result, people are spending more money to address the issues:

  • 51 percent say their monthly skincare/ grooming/ self-care expenditures have increased since the start of the pandemic. 
  • 52 percent, say the spending increase is a result of greater concern over their appearance due to frequent video calls.

The revelation is not a total surprise to the R&D and marketing teams at StriVectin. The brand has seen a double-digit percent increase in sales of its eye-care products over the last year. “With eyes the main element of our appearance visible to the outside world this past year, it is natural that they have become our focal facial feature,” says Yeh. “And, after the stress of the last year causing many a sleepless night, it also makes sense that dark circles would be such a significant consideration for so many.”

Blue Light Getting Its Share Of The Blame

During our year of confinement, 81 percent feel the the overall condition of their skin has deteriorated, in general, with almost one in three (32 percent) specifically citing increased screen time as a cause. 

A solid two thirds are looking harder at one of the specific consequences of super-charged screen time—blue light exposure. Thirty-three percent have researched the damaging effects of blue light on the skin, while an additional 33 percent have purchased products to mitigate the effect.

A Silver Lining To Staring at The Screen?

There appears to be some benefits to this year of video calls.

  • 67 percent say that after a year of virtual meetings, they have finally figured out how to ensure they look best on video calls.
  • What is the number one last-minute pre-Zoom beauty touch-up? Nearly half (46 percent) say it is brushing their hair. About a quarter (23 percent) say mascara is their pre-Zoom go-to beauty savior (the number two choice).
  • When asked what they have added to their beauty routines, respondents’ number-one response was ramping up their skincare regimen with greater focus on worry areas.

After a year of video conferencing, 56 percent report now being more comfortable seeing themselves on camera. Perhaps this is why more people say that even post-pandemic, they would prefer a virtual call to an in-person meeting (47 percent to 44 percent).

Selfies Vs. Video Calls

Finally, the stat you didn’t know you needed to know:  Of those with a preference between the two, 57 percent say they prefer how they look on video vs how they look in selfies.

About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.