Consumers investing in post-pandemic 'glow up' with eased mask-wearing restrictions

Teeth whitener, shaving products and cosmetics have all seen an uptick in consumer demand

It’s a summer to be seen – and more Americans are shelling out for self-care and grooming products with mask restrictions easing. 

Social calendars are filling up as vaccination rates give more consumers the confidence to reconnect with old friends and office colleagues beyond the Zoom screen. And with that means spending on cosmetic items like teeth whitener, invisible braces, lipstick and shaving products to look fresh-faced. 

As vaccination rates give more consumers the confidence to reconnect with old friends and office colleagues beyond the Zoom screen, spending is up on cosmetic items like teeth whitener, invisible braces, lipstick and shaving products. (iStock)

Call it the post-pandemic glow-up – teeth whitener sales have jumped a whopping 51% for the first four weeks of the quarter ending May 1, compared with the same time period last year, according to statistics from NielsenIQ. Lipstick sales surged to $34.2 million for the four weeks ending April 18, up 80% over the same time period last year, according to data from market research group IRI. And as the world continues to reopen with restaurants at full capacity and travel restrictions easing, self-care services are seeing increased growth. 

"We're seeing elevated growth across all major health and beauty categories as the vaccine rollout progresses and shoppers increasingly seek experiences, attend more social gatherings and prepare for a post-pandemic world," Tara James Taylor, senior vice president of Beauty and Personal Care at NielsenIQ told FOX Business. Noting that while the do-it-yourself regiment for personal care in quarantine has exposed consumers to new brands, she added that shoppers are "warming up to the idea of reincorporating professional services into their regimens."

At Tend, a New York-based dental startup, there’s been a 133% increase in consultations for its invisible teeth straightening Breezy Braces and a 153% increase in teeth whitening appointments since February, a spokesperson for the company told FOX Business Thursday. 


"Our members have definitely expressed higher demand for aesthetic treatments post-pandemic," Helen Zhang, a spokeswoman for Tend said. 

HeyDay, a skincare franchise with locations in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles is seeing demand pick up according to co-founder Michael Pollak. New customers increased by 20% when its brick-and-mortar locations reopened in October in the Northeast and by 30% when its locations reopened on the West Coast in April. 

Gone are the days of waiting in line for household items like cleaners, sanitizers, paper towels and toilet paper in the early days during the pandemic. To compare a consumer shift in purchases, toilet paper sales plummeted 28% for the first quarter, NielsenIQ data suggests. Now, more than a year later, self-care and beauty products are taking priority. Consumer spending on hair, dental and shaving products was up 7.1% and cosmetics spending increased by 7.2% from just February to March, while cosmetics spending year-over-year was up 23.5% in March, according to the Consumer Brands Association. 

Indeed, Walmart has seen category growth last quarter in grooming and beauty products like teeth whiteners and lipstick. 

"Notably, lipstick was a top seller for all segments of cosmetics. An interesting trend we’re noticing is an increase in customers purchasing lipsticks in bright colors, which we believe is attributed to customers expressing uniqueness once again," a spokesperson for Walmart said in an email. 


 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month announced that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or continue social distancing outside or indoors unless required to in instances like while riding public transportation, in schools or at healthcare facilities, another reason why the self-care spending spree is likely to continue.