Coronavirus pushes innovation in safe beauty sampling

By Julia Wray | Published: 5-Aug-2020

Shops may have reopened, but with ultra-stringent hygiene measures required and consumer confidence low, how can products be trialled safely? Cosmetics Business discovers some of the most innovative solutions available

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You spot a product in-store. Maybe you’re drawn in by the display or the packaging, or perhaps it is the claim, ‘soothing’, ‘anti-ageing’, or the scent, ‘neroli & ylang ylang’, ‘mandarin & basil’, etc.

For whatever reason, you’re interested.

You scan the shelf for that one pot – the one that’s in less than mint condition – with the label marked ‘tester’.

You open it. Someone’s moved the applicator, so you use your finger. You massage a generous dollop into the back of your hand, asking yourself if you like the texture: is it rich enough? Is it too oily? You hold it up to your face and inhale the fragrance deeply to see if it’s as nice as you’d imagined.

You might think about the fingers that have swiped product from that pot before you… but you probably don’t dwell on it.

It’s amazing how a totally normal gesture in 2019 makes us wince with horror in 2020.

As bricks-and-mortar retailers reopen amid strict hygiene regulations to combat the further spread of Covid-19, such a scenario is unimaginable.

Nevertheless, consumers will still want to smell and apply beauty products, to see if a colour suits their skin tone, or if their lippy shade looks better as a stick than a swatch.

How, therefore, have beauty brands and retailers adapted? And what are suppliers proposing to help ease this process?

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