Sharon Kwek
Sharon is Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel. Based in Singapore, she provides insights on Asia’s beauty and personal care categories.

The beauty industry can expect micro-categories of colour cosmetics such as eyeshadow, eyeliners, mascara, and concealers to gradually rise during COVID-19, as consumers lean into the habit of wearing masks. Finishes and textures will lead beauty conversations to meet emerging needs. Consumers in Asia are pioneering face masks, and in this situation, the country is on familiar ground that has yet to fully reveal its potential.

Masks are a common sight in Asia

The mask makeup trend holds potential to continue after the COVID-19 outbreak, especially considering that wearing masks is already an everyday affair for Asians. Asia – the North especially – is accustomed to donning surgical masks to fend off pollution, pollen or germs, as well as to protect from sneezes and coughs.

In Japan, masks are a common sight, primarily for health reasons and allergies, as well as keeping the face warm during cold seasons. In 2003, disposable surgical masks were starting to be marketed to allergy sufferers, featuring unwoven material claiming to effectively block out pollen and other allergy triggers.

Trend longevity in mask makeup

The rise of point makeup

Point makeup has grown from strength-to-strength in Asia over the years and accounted for more than half of the colour cosmetics launches in Asia over the last three years, according to Mintel GNPD. Lip colour has been the most active sub-category for colour cosmetics, accounting for nearly one-third of the total global colour cosmetics launches in the same time frame.

The beauty industry can expect micro-categories of colour cosmetics such as eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and concealer to gradually rise instead of fall in this period as consumers lean into the habit of wearing masks.

Go beyond hygiene

Mintel recommends that brands look beyond the basic personal hygiene factor that focuses only on covering up, as this will only limit the potential of colour cosmetics.

Identifying the change in consumer lifestyles and habits will drive new opportunities. There is potential for eye colour makeup to grow as consumers look to match their eye makeup to their mask as part of their overall look.

Foundation formulations are put to the challenge

While point makeup products will be sought after to enhance brows and eyes, base makeup will be put to the test to ensure its formulation can withstand sweat and stay on under masks, a point that brands strongly emphasise in their regular product marketing. Mintel recommends that brands seize the current situation to accentuate selling points and claims to stay relevant.

Source: Kapook

Fashion and beauty foster a tighter relationship

Fashion and beauty have always had a close-knit relationship, each influencing the other on colour and style, and this can be expected to strengthen further. Famous Thai Designer Prae Vatanika, owner of the brand VATANIKA, recently launched an elegant mask design utilising the remaining fabric of dresses from her fashion brand.

Face masks are becoming premiumised and used as a facial differentiator at this point. This will further punctuate the growth potential of point makeup.

Masks will have a wide-ranging impact

Retailers and mall owners will be quick to provide guidance and tutorials for mask makeup. Harbour City worked with seven global brands that were tenants in its Hong Kong mall including Chanel Beaute, Shu Uemura and Tom Ford Beauty to create looks that integrate masks into the makeup look.

Manufacturers are also filling the supply chain with more long-lasting formulations. Kolmar Korea released sunscreen, cushion foundation, lipstick and powder that won’t easily come off with sweat and masks.

Emphasize the importance of point makeup amid crisis

The beauty industry has been advocating total wellbeing and positive emotional marketing in recent years. In current circumstances, there is no better time than now to strongly deliver that message and encourage consumers to continue looking and feeling their best. There are still opportunities for consumers to look good while staying home or out with masks on.

Brands can start with the focus on point makeup and create eye makeup looks for consumers to follow when they put on a mask. Consider other makeup looks in this situation to connect with consumers, such as a ‘video conference look’ or ‘stay-home professional look’.

What we think

Asia has potential to take charge of the mask makeup trend. There is trend longevity in face masks in Asia and around the world as more consumers cultivate the habit of wearing them following the current situation. Mask makeup can elevate beyond this outbreak, and Asian brands have the opportunity to take charge.