COVID-19 dealt a huge blow to the global beauty industry and turned the once vast and promising sector to a struggling and crumbling one.

COVID-19 Melts SoKor Makeup

Many beauty companies in Asia were unprepared for the pandemic - with some losing steam as the virus spread.

A prime example is chairperson of Amorepacific, Suh Kyung-bae. In 2017, Suh was the second-richest man in South Korea with a net worth of $8 billion. Suh is now estimated to have $3.6 billion.

While Amorepacific, the parent company of Song Hye Kyo-promoted brand Sulwhasoo, was struggling before the pandemic lockdowns drove consumers away from the beauty and makeup segments.

Other South Korean beauty brands affected are GP Club and Have & Be. GP Club was planning an initial public offering last year but no announcements have been made.

UK Salons Set to Lose Millions Per Week

In the U.K. the government has been scrambling to contain a new coronavirus strain. Lockdowns have already affected beauty services and London is about to take a bigger hit, analysts say.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation projected in a report last week that London's beauty salons could lose over $21.5 million each week owing to the tier 4 lockdown.

Federation chief executive Richard Lambert said tier 4 restrictions are "devastating" to the beauty services sector. "This isn't an industry that can switch to online sales or a takeaway service," Lambert said.

Outside London, other parts of the UK have seen widespread closures of salons. Salon workers have also been laid off and the trend is expected to continue.

Inappropriate Influence?

2020 was not only a year of economic damage for the beauty and cosmetics industry but a year that put several "influencers" in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

One of the biggest YouTube beauty influencers caught in scandals was Jeffree Star. The makeup artist and guru was accused of sexual assault.

Earlier this month, a leaked settlement indicated an executive at Jeffree Star Cosmetics paid accuser Gage Arthur $45,000, who attempted to retract his accusations against the beauty influencer.