The swap from the office to working from home has had a major impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of many employees. Although commute times for many are now non-existent, a variety of other challenging factors have appeared in place. From at-home distractions and adjusted work hours to workstation set-up and lack of movement, many people have struggled whilst working from home, a spin-off of Covid-19 that no one was expecting (Ref 1). 

A decline in mental wellbeing is linked with many negative emotions, such as lack of motivation, feelings of anxiety, indecisiveness and exhaustion. While there are many approaches on how to make working from home more manageable, we questioned whether consumers were aware of the potential impact of their beauty routine? As workers said goodbye to glamour in favour of applying little to no make-up, this too was a big lifestyle shift which was perhaps overlooked (Ref 2). We already know that cosmetics can have a positive impact on our emotions (Ref 3), but how does it affect our mood whilst working from home? 

Can make-up boost your mood and confidence? 

We aimed to explore the effect of applying and wearing make-up whilst working from home, looking specifically at the mood of volunteers. A consumer survey was conducted via Instagram on 71 women from a variety of global locations: Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco, Mexico, India, Peru, Colombia and Chile. This survey involved consumers answering a CATA questionnaire (Check All That Apply) whereby applicable mood attributes were selected from a list when the attribute reflected their mood. This questionnaire was answered over 2 consecutive days whilst consumers worked from home: on the first day, consumers worked from home with a bare skin condition (no make-up applied) and on the second day, worked from home with their regular make-up applied.  

The results above show that applying and wearing make-up whilst working from home may have a positive effect on your mood and emotions. Taking the time to apply make-up rather than facing the day with bare skin led to higher number of people who mentioned feeling confident, happy, beautiful and attractive whilst working from home. What’s more, is that applying make-up increased the frequency of people feeling productive, focused and energised, which may be valuable assets to complete your daily tasks! As one may expect, the application of make-up did not show any impact upon comfort or relaxation whilst working from home.

Similarly, applying and wearing make-up whilst working from home appeared to decrease the number of people reporting a negative mood. Results suggests that applying and wearing make-up whilst working from home can help to reduce feelings of anxiousness, demotivation, tiredness and insecurity, in contrast to a day of remote working with no make-up applied. A particularly strong impact on frustration and vulnerability was observed, with application of make-up showing to all but completely remove these feelings in a work from home scenario. As anticipated, application of make-up had no effect on feelings of loneliness whilst working from home, showing that make-up usage alone is not a substitute to social interactions. 

Digital make-up exploration 

As the world starts to recover from Covid-19, the trend of ‘hybrid working’ looks set to stay. This will see employees having a new, structured mix of both onsite (in office) and offsite (at home) work during their work week (Ref 4). Working from home, at least partly, will remain crucial for most moving forward and make-up routines will therefore need to be adapted. Will this see consumers having two different beauty routines: one for at home working and one for the office? This is likely as make-up products, shades and formats start to become adapted for a more digital, ‘on-screen’ lifestyle (Ref 5). In the meantime, don’t forget to apply your favourite lipstick or put on a swipe of your mascara whilst from working from home – applying and wearing make-up can help to boost your mood and you might be amazed at just how much better you feel! 

Help! I’m working from home...!   

Figure 1. Check That All Apply (CATA) results of positive mood attributes when working at home, with bare skin or make-up applied. No significant differences are highlighted in red.

Figure 2. Check That All Apply (CATA) results of negative mood attributes when working at home, with bare skin or make-up applied. No significant differences are highlighted in red.