Brits are dieting and buying clothes to look their best when socialising after months of not caring

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
April 20, 2021, 9:37 AM UTC

Half of Britons say they now care about their appearance – up from three in ten while in lockdown

People with hot water bottles and big coats in pub gardens, queues outside hairdressers and high streets coming back to life. It’s starting to look a lot like the end of lockdown. For many Britons, this means it’s time to ditch the joggers and start making an effort again.

YouGov data shows that only three in ten people (28%) cared about how they looked in lockdown, including 5% who were very concerned with it. But with restrictions easing, half of the public (52%) now say their appearance matters to them, including one in ten (10%) who care a lot.

In both instances, older people are more likely to care about how they present themselves. During lockdown, two in five people aged 65+ (37%) say they cared, compared with only a fifth of 18- to 24-year-olds (21%).

And with restrictions easing, three in five among the 65+ group (58%) are fussed about their appearance, compared with around half of 18- to 24-year-olds (48%).

In lockdown, women and men were equally unbothered, with respectively 29% and 27% saying it mattered to them. But coming out of lockdown, women are much more concerned with looking good at 61% compared with 44% of men.

Diets, new clothes and haircuts – Britons are getting ready to socialise after months in hiding

While many people buy new clothes and diet regardless of the time of year, a significant share of Britons say they’re doing so now specifically because COVID restrictions are easing and they will start socialising again.

Three in ten people (29%) have already or are planning to head to the hairdresser for this reason. Older people are most likely to get their hair cut to look fresh as lockdown ends at 34%, while 18- to 24-year-olds are the least likely at 25%.

Meanwhile, one in eight Britons (13%) are dieting or trying to get in shape, as gyms reopen. This is most common among younger people, with a fifth of 18- to 24-year-olds (21%) trying to shift excess lockdown weight.

Some 13% are also updating their wardrobe, including a fifth of 18- to 24-year-olds (18%). Booking beauty treatments such as manicures and eyebrow threading is rarer at 8% although 13% of women are doing so. Similarly, one in twenty people (5%) are restocking beauty products such as makeup and hair wax as they have to socialise again, rising to 9% among women.

See the full results here