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The Great Pandemic Glow Up

As the pandemic ploughs on, people are striking a better balance between risk management and personal care. In the face of continuing uncertainty, grooming and hygiene have risen among consumers’ priorities, as a way of preserving inner peace and mental health. So how exactly are people taking care of themselves, and what can brands do to help?

Using Sphere, we looked at tweets about personal care to uncover key attitudes towards the topic before, during, and after lockdown. Then, using Google Search volumes across the phases, we identified main themes in the consumer desire for better personal care.

Here’s what you need to know about these three phases:

Strict Lockdown

‘Help! We need to protect ourselves against the virus!’

State of mind: Knee Jerk Hysteria

Amidst widespread panic and conflicting information, people take it upon themselves to seek protection by any means necessary.

Acting out: A hysterical compulsion to disinfect

Trapped in their homes indefinitely, many consumers frantically clean and disinfect, both to reassure themselves against the threat of the virus and to release pent-up nervous energy. Everyone’s talking about the most effective way to clean.


Hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide, cleaning products, disinfectant, anti-bacterial

Partial Lockdown

‘Things look slightly better, maybe everything will be ok?’

State of mind: Cautious Optimism

There’s a sense of release and growing relief as society and businesses re-open. People look forward to going out again — but with a new perspective forged by COVID anxiety.

Acting out: Seeking calm and comfort

Easing back into a familiar way of life is coupled with newfound gratitude and mental health goals discovered during lockdown. There’s more concern for mental health and a resurgence of seeking solace in food.


Meditation, emotional strength, seek calm, comfort food, restaurant food

End of Lockdown

‘Life is slowly reverting to before, but we can’t be complacent.’

State of mind: Cautious Re-emergence

As public life resumes amidst the continuing pandemic, there’s a noticeable shift towards personal care. This is balanced with a continuing alertness around hygiene and disinfection, and a sustained interest in mental health.

Acting out: Practical focus on personal care routines

With people going out again and doing less from home, they have less time to manage how they look and feel. There’s a constant search for the effective products that get the job done.


Hair treatment, niacinamide serum, retinol, anti aging, teeth whitening

In other words:

When we look at the Google Search Volume of these keywords — and the wider personal care themes they made up, the search for specialized and supercharged products are on the rise in a post-lockdown world, suggesting a desire for fast-acting solutions that cater to specific needs:

And here’s what you can do:

Consider creating targeted products and highlighting their efficacy to meet niche or varied needs. Get some inspiration from the top search keywords under the themes with the greatest growth:

Write to anurag.banerjee@quilt.ai to find out more about what we do.



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We are a culturally rooted, AI powered insights firm that converts millions of data signals into human understanding. Visit us: https://quilt.ai