Kate Middleton named top beauty idol beating Holly Willoughby and Rihanna thanks to her glossy look

AFTER over a year of on-again, off-again lockdowns, social isolation, working and schooling from home, it’s fair to say most of our habits have changed – including our beauty rituals, and our opinions on what beauty actually means.

Yes, some of us have had more time to pamper ourselves, but stress levels have spiralled and our sleep has suffered.

To find out how you’re really feeling about yourself and all things beauty, we surveyed 1,500 Fabulous readers – and the results are fascinating.

The pandemic has clearly taken a toll on our self-confidence, as a huge 84% worry about the way we look, while over half of us are more self-conscious now than we were before the first lockdown.

Meanwhile, 35% of those surveyed don’t know which products would suit them now.

In the past, splashing out on small luxuries was a way to lift our spirits through periods of crisis, but this time, there was no lipstick effect.


After our long year indoors, a whopping 63% of you are wearing less make-up, and product sales are down 40%.

Plus, as department stores closed (and failed to re-open), sales of high-end cosmetics dropped by 44%.

When we do buy, 32% put quality above anything else, while 20% rely on recommendations from friends, family or beauty professionals.

What’s more, 50% of us are spending more time on our skincare routines, and four out of five consider it self-care, when before it had largely been functional.

With the huge lifestyle changes of the last year, over two-thirds of us have noticed a change in our skin since the start of the pandemic.

While maskne made headlines, PPE also rubbed many people’s skin red raw, causing extreme sensitivity.

More time indoors has left many with dry, dull skin, while for others it meant time to focus on skincare, aided by TikTok skinfluencers like @skincarebyhyram and @whatsonvisface.

It’s a skin thing

While we used to check our reflections before stepping out of the door, now we’re staring at our faces on Zoom all day, and it seems we’ve become a nation obsessed with youth.

Nearly 40% of those surveyed said ageing was their main skincare concern, yet only 12% wear suncream on a daily basis.

  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+, £25 from Boots – buy now

Sun damage is the leading cause of premature ageing, and prevention, as they say, is better than the cure.

Not to mention, SPF is definitely cheaper than Botox.

So even if you’re not going outside much, start by slathering two whole finger lengths of La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+, £25, on your face, ears and neck each day after the rest of your skincare.

When it comes to active ingredients, retinol is as close to the youth elixir as skincare gets.

  • Kiehl’s Since 1851 Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, £54 from Look Fantastic – buy now

It speeds up skin cell turnover, so reduces fine lines, uneven texture and pigmentation – a concern for 13% of us.

Start using it once a week at first, and build your tolerance.

Don’t be alarmed if your skin starts to flake slightly at first.

Medik8 is an industry leader when it comes to retinol, and offers a host of strengths, so you can work your way up as your skin adjusts.

  • Vichy LiftActiv HA Epidermic Filler, £38 from Boots – buy now

For prescription-strength retinoids minus the dermatologist price tag, try Skin+Me, from £20 a month – you’ll get bespoke formulas in the post after a consultation.

Vitamin C is also a star player, boosting luminosity, so use Kiehl’s Since 1851 Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, £54, for a youthful glow.

Another stand-out concern among readers is dryness, plaguing 22%.

To help remedy the situation, incorporate humectants, such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin.

  • Biossance Squalane + Hyaluronic Toning Mist, £25 from Cult Beauty – buy now

They draw moisture into the skin, rather than just sitting on the surface.

We love Vichy LiftActiv HA Epidermic Filler, £38, which also reduces fine lines and wrinkles, thanks to its skin-plumping action.

Even though 70% surveyed don’t moisturise daily, it’s a must for anyone with dry skin – look for ceramides, squalane and shea butter to help reduce water loss and allow your serum to work more effectively.

If your skin’s tight, Biossance Squalane + Hyaluronic Toning Mist, £25, will calm things down and won’t disturb make-up.

  • The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, £4.20 from Boots – buy now

Finally, breakouts are an issue for 17% of us, and sales of anti-acne serums have soared in the past year.

Whether it’s blackheads, whiteheads, or bothersome cysts, for many, spotty skin isn’t just a teenage phase.

While hormones and stress levels could be to blame, help keep the blemishes at bay by adding a salicylic acid serum, such as The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, £4.20, to your routine to break down sebum.

Stick to oil-free make-up and skincare products, and spritz your face with Clinisoothe+ Skin Purifier, £14.95, after cleansing or wearing a mask, to help kill breakout-causing bacteria.

  • Clinisoothe+ Skin Purifier, £14.95 from Feel Unique – buy now

With any skincare, consistency is key – our skin cycle happens over about six weeks, so it can take a few months to notice a real difference.

Locks down

The pandemic has led many to embrace their greys, including Lily Allen, Stacey Solomon and Maura Higgins, but according to our survey, it’s still a major beauty worry among almost a quarter of us.

Not up for the grey liberation?

  • Josh Wood Colour The Miracle System, £29 from Josh Wood Colour – buy now

There’s a host of things you can do to disguise pesky strands, and 70% of us are already pretty handy with hair colour.

For complete coverage, you’ll need a permanent dye, either in-salon or from an at-home kit.

We rate Josh Wood Colour The Miracle System, £29, which is packed with omegas and vitamins B5 and B3 to minimise damage and condition the hair.

Looking for something more short-term to camouflage the salt-and-pepper strands between appointments or conceal the first few inches while you grow it out?

  • Primark X Andrew Fitzsimons Root Concealer, £3 from Primark – buy now

Try Primark X Andrew Fitzsimons Root Concealer, £3.

Thinning is a problem for 17% of those surveyed, whether that’s through breakage, which impacts a further 13% of you, or hair fall from the root – which is on the rise, thanks to heightened stress levels and as a side effect of Covid itself.

To fast-track regrowth, take biotin- and zinc-packed Hair Gain Grow, £34.99.

In the meantime, cut down on heat styling to limit unnecessary damage, nourish your scalp with Fable & Mane HoliRoots Hair Oil, £29, and use Aveda Thickening Hair Tonic, £22.50, to help your strands feel that bit fuller.

  • Fable & Mane HoliRoots Hair Oil, £29 from Fable & Mane – buy now

Is your hair feeling brittle and dry? If so, you’re in good company, as 17% of us agree.

Hard water, over-washing, using too much heat via styling tools and the temperature of your shower, brushing too often and having chemical treatments can all make hair feel straw-like.

To help maintain your natural oils, cut down brushing to once or twice a day, turn down the water temperature in the shower, and consider investing in a filter if you live in a hard-water area.

Replace lost moisture by massaging in a hair oil, such as Moroccanoil Treatment Original, £13.45, on to towel-dried strands.

  • Aveda Thickening Hair Tonic, £22.50 from Look Fantastic – buy now

Always use a heat protector before drying or using heated tools and use a nourishing mask on hair at least once a week.

We love Sol De Janeiro Triple Brazilian Butter Hair Treatment, £15.

  • Moroccanoil Treatment Original, £13.45 from Look Fantastic – buy now

  • Sol De Janeiro Triple Brazilian Butter Hair Treatment, £15 from Cult Beauty – buy now








Your celebrity beauty icons

Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge was your top beauty idol, picked by 36% of you, thanks to her glossy blow-dries and impeccable make-up.

Holly Willoughby

Glam but also relatable, Holly emerged as our lockdown beauty princess with 32% of the vote, after posting videos of her dyeing her roots last year.


RiRi earned third place, with 10% of you naming her your ultimate beauty crush.

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