Research for Design — Part 1

The Author’s Mess Map, Created through Kumu.
Lipstick Stain on Mask. Photo Credit to Stylist.

1. Are people still maintaining their makeup routines since the pandemic started?

Yes, but not all of them. A lot of articles online talk about how the pandemic has affected people’s lives and beauty consumers have transitioned their focuses to skincare products from cosmetics. However, beauty really goes both ways. To some people, putting on makeup is not just a daily routine, it is also a practice of self-expression and self-empowerment. Makeup allows them to appreciate the very simple pleasure in life.

2. Does the Lipstick Effect still work in the current economic crisis?

Not really. It worked in times like the Great Depression and WWII because people did not wear face coverings back then. Face mask really is a lipstick blocker for now. While the Lipstick Effect is not as accurate and popular in the present economic crisis, a new economic indicator is invented — the nail index. Instead of purchasing and consuming lipsticks, consumers buy nail care and nail polish to do their own nails, according to the Market Research by Euromonitor International.

3. For consumers who are still wearing lipsticks during the pandemic, how do their wear them despite the facts that nobody sees how their lips look like behind masks and that face masks smear lipsticks easily?

Leslie Camhi, a Vogue writer, talks about her opinions on lipsticks in her article “One Vogue Writer on the Transformative Power of Lipstick — Even in the Mask Era”. As she describes, “Life had been unfolding in black-and-white for quite some time. And my lipstick, though invisible to other, had changed something in my body language or my approach to world”. To her, though lips are rendered invisible in the era of face covering, lipsticks have the power that gives us a mood boost and confidence.

4. What are their methods to improve or solve the above situations?

KN95 mask is an option, also something like a 3D Face Mask Inner Pad Bracket Holder. Some beauty consumers even look into how women from communities that require them to cover up their faces do their lips makeup and without getting them smeared. According to Jessica Richards, owner of beauty boutique Shen in Brooklyn, people are also booking lip blushing treatments which basically stain the lips with mineral pigment for up to six to twelve months. Beauty brands have also come up with lip stains and tinted lip balms that promise consumers non-smear lips.

5. So far, face masks will continue being an inseparable self-protective accessory in our lives until the Covid-19 virus is completely out of picture. If there is a design or a material that can be applied to the making of face masks and prevent makeup from getting messy, what would that be?

Recently, I read about a really interesting article about a new kind of Xylinum Mask prototype made by the Sum Studio in Brooklyn. Why will the xylinum mask be an amazing invention if it is actually put into use in our lives? As the founders Garrett Benisch and Elizabeth Bridges explain on their website, “the KN95 masks are made from melt blown non-woven plastic fabric at the perfect precision in order to filter particles containing pathogens. These materials are paramount in our fight to stop spread of Covid-19, yet our essential workers are lacking supply of them. This is due to the machining and precision required to make the fabric”. The cost of producing the xylinum masks, in comparison, is relatively low and environmentally friendly. Benisch and Bridges simply grew their own bacterial cellulose (a substance created by a common bacterium called xylinum acetobacter) in their home kitchen. The bacteria require very little nutrients to feed on and as they multiply, they “knit cellulose fibers into a single membrane”. Through microscopic images, people can see the woven web of cellulose fibers that look as tight as the KN95 mask. If face masks will continue being our companions in the future, this might be an amazing replacement. Because just as the inventors comment, thanks to the translucency of the material, people are allowed to better communicate with others and have their lips read as if not wearing a mask at all. In this case, this might be good news to the lipstick lovers, for they will be free to show their lips to the world again. Hey, they are kept safe and pretty by the mask at the same time.

Display of a Xylinum Mask. Photo Credit to the Sum Studio.
Microscope View of Bacterial Cellulose. Photo Credit to the Sum Studio.



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