Consumers are stockpiling plenty of items they consider to be necessities during the pandemic. Not on their shopping lists: makeup and perfume.

Beauty industry watchers and cosmetics companies say consumers are gravitating toward a more low-maintenance and natural look. People are staying at home and paying more attention to their health, prompting them to shift focus to their skincare rather than their makeup routines, they said.

"With the stay-at-home order in effect since early March, there really isn't any need to apply makeup the way we were before," Larissa Jensen, vice president and beauty industry analyst with market research firm NPD Group. And then there's the awkwardness of wearing any kind of makeup under a face mask, especially sticky lip gloss.
市场调研公司NPD Group的副总裁兼美容行业分析师Larissa Jensen说:“三月初开始实行居家隔离,几乎没有必要像以前那样化妆了。”而且戴口罩化妆也很尴尬,尤其是涂口红。

Makeup sales were down 22% in the first quarter versus a year ago, according to NPD, while fragrance sales declined 13%.

Part of what's made things worse is that social distancing and self-quarantining have become barriers to trying on makeup in stores.

"Makeup is a high-touch experience," said Jensen. Online sales of makeup and fragrance products were up in the quarter, but the online channel still represents a much smaller percentage of overall sales, and not enough to offset declines of in-store purchases.

At the same time, unemployment in the US surged to a record high in April, leaving millions out of work and with less expendable income for nonessential shopping.

Cosmetics companies say that while overall demand is down, they are still seeing interest in products that help achieve a natural look.

L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics and beauty products company, said the pandemic has increasingly made "work from home makeup" a talking point with consumers.