How is COVID-19 affecting our hair?

As much of the world goes into lockdown, we take a look at what coronavirus has done to our grooming regimes.
20 April 2020
hairdressing scissors
Kirsty Cooke
Kirsty
Cooke

Editor, Kantar, UK

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We know from our social listening data that what people are most looking forward to is sorting out their hair, or more generally getting a beauty procedure done. ‘Beauty therapy’ even ranked above a night out with friends as the most frequently mentioned post-lockdown activity. 

And our data suggests that, without access to a hairdresser, nearly half of us will notice the difference: in the countries we monitor, over 40% of individuals pay to get their hair done every 2 months or more. In Brazil, this rises to 58% and accounts for 61m individuals. Men are going to be most affected as a higher proportion of them get their hair done more often.

Across all countries except China, women who do visit a stylist more often (every 2 months or less) are more likely to get their hair colored. With no salons open, will these women now turn to box color or drop out of the category all together?

How we are coping at home

With people working from home and often forced to stay in, the use of styling products has decreased. Our data shows that we are using them on average 1 occasion fewer per week (a big drop, when you consider the average frequency is 3 to 4). It seems dolling ourselves up is reserved for the outside world and not the people we are in quarantine with.

And what about haircuts? Looking at surveys from the UK, US, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil and France, the average citizen is most likely to wait and see their hairdresser after lockdown (50%). However, 19% of respondents say they will ask someone who lives with them to cut it, and another 21% say they will color or style their own hair at home.

Generally, women are more likely to be happy to wait for the services of a professional (55% vs 48% of men) – and young men in particular seem comfortable with the notion that they can rely on a friend or family member to keep their locks under control during lockdown. Over all the surveyed countries, nearly 25% of men aged 18-24 said they would take that route.

The boldest nation appears to be Brazil, with 28% of respondents there indicating they would cut or style their own hair (15% saying they’d find a tutorial online). More reticent is France, with just 13% opting for that approach, and just 18% asking a housemate to help. The US is the least patient with haircuts, with only 44% saying they will wait until they can visit their own hairdresser after restrictions are lifted.

Changing demand

The DIY haircare approach is also clear from search trends. Looking at worldwide data from 13 March to 13 April, Mavens of London found that Google searches for beard trimmers are up 36% (vs February), searches for hair clippers are up 181%, and searches for hair coloring are up 36%. “Buzz cut” searches are up 91%, while bright hair colors – searches for orange hair dye + blue hair dye + purple hair dye + green hair dye + pink hair dye – are up 117%.

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