Self-tanning and luxury baths key UK self-care priorities during COVID-19, finds The Body Shop

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

UK monthly spend on self-tanning products soared by €31m (£28m) during the first COVID-19 lockdown (Getty Images)
UK monthly spend on self-tanning products soared by €31m (£28m) during the first COVID-19 lockdown (Getty Images)

Related tags The body shop COVID-19 self-care Bathing Self-tanning products Uk Consumer trends

UK consumers have spent more money on self-tanning products and more time taking baths during COVID-19 lockdown despite a multi-million cutback in overall beauty spend, finds The Body Shop.

The Natura & Co specialist beauty retailer commissioned a Censuswide nationwide survey amongst 2,000 individuals in early August to identify key self-care trends arising during the COVID-19 lockdown across the UK. Respondents were asked to share details of their current self-care activities versus February; time and money spent on different activities was then analysed.

Findings showed that the most popular self-care activity for UK consumers during the first COVID-19 lockdown had been watching TV or films. This was closely followed by listening to music or podcasts; baking and cooking; reading; gardening; and running. Within the 7.5 hours of dedicated time to self-care activities each month, consumers dedicated one hour to beauty.

Self-tanning spend up, makeup purchases down

Zooming in on the beauty self-care window, findings showed the average monthly expenditure on beauty in the UK had dropped during COVID-19 lockdown, with €639m (£572m) less spent on haircuts, eyebrow and nail grooming, massages, spas, makeup and hair removal. An earlier report from GlobalData suggested the UK beauty industry would see a total value decline of €1.8bn (£1.7bn) in 2020​.

Self-tanning spend, however, was up and had seen “the biggest increase in spend on beauty” ​during lockdown, according to findings. The average monthly spend for self-tan products across the UK soared by €31m (£28m), with an additional €0.47 (£0.42) spent per person, per month. Average time dedicated to self-tanning during lockdown also increased by eight minutes.

This compared to a €1.55 (£1.39) monthly drop on makeup per person, representing a €105m (£94m) average loss per month across the UK. Consumers were also dedicating less time to makeup – down by 23 minutes. Makeup did, however, rank third in terms of time spent on beauty activities still, with an average of one hour and 20 minutes dedicated to this per person, per month.

Luxury bath time up, haircuts and styling down

The Body Shop survey findings also showed that UK spend on luxury bathing products was up €0.37 (£0.33) per month, per person, equating to an extra €24m (£22m) in spend across the UK. Importantly, consumers had also dedicated an extra 15 minutes to luxury bathing during lockdown – the biggest increase seen for a beauty-related self-care activity.

In fact, having a luxury bath or shower ranked as the top beauty activity among consumers – in terms of time spent – with consumers averaging two hours per month on this activity.

Across the UK, 70% of consumers indulged in luxury baths, or showers, as a self-care activity during COVID-19 – more marked amongst consumers aged 25-35 who spent the “most amount of time in the tub per month”.

Money spent on haircuts and styling, by comparison, was down an average of €4.50 (£4.03) per person, per month, resulting in a drop of €305m (£273m) in monthly spend across the UK.

A spike in cosmetics work

Findings from the report also showed UK consumers had spent more on ‘cosmetics work’, including treatments like Botox and teeth whitening. On average, spend was up £0.35 per person, per month with an additional five minutes dedicated to these activities. Total average monthly spend on cosmetics work was up €27m (£24m) across the UK; just behind the rise in spend on self-tanning.

The Body Shop said it planned to publish further research that had global implications in January 2021.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Calendula Cellular Elixir: Alchemy in a cell

Calendula Cellular Elixir: Alchemy in a cell

Content provided by Naolys | 24-Apr-2024 | Product Brochure

Get ready to experience a cellular evolution in skincare with InnerLift Calendula's advanced Plant Cell biotechnology.

See our latest innovations in personal care

See our latest innovations in personal care

Content provided by Covation Bio™ PDO | 02-Apr-2024 | White Paper

At CovationBio PDO, we’re helping the world achieve its sustainability goals by enabling better performing, better-for-the planet products across a range...

Collagen Reimagined, Discover Biodesigned Type XXI

Collagen Reimagined, Discover Biodesigned Type XXI

Content provided by Geltor | 20-Mar-2024 | Product Brochure

Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein and a mainstream ingredient for beauty. Type XXI collagen transcends a common protein into a powerful bioactive

Empowering natural barrier function for future-proof skin

Empowering natural barrier function for future-proof skin

Content provided by Lucas Meyer Cosmetics | 14-Mar-2024 | White Paper

Corneopeptyl™ is a new patented peptide biomimetic to the LCE6A protein, obtained by green chemistry-based synthesis. By mimicking the LCE6A protein activity,...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more



Beauty 4.0 Podcast