COVID-19 increases demand for safe and reliable beauty and personal care products

March 25, 2020
4 min read

The natural movement continues to shape the beauty industry as women become more conscientious of the ingredients in beauty products and seek out what is considered safe. However, efficacy is also top-of-mind, with more than one-third of women agreeing that they care more about the effectiveness of a product than the ingredients it uses. While women expect brands to use natural ingredients, they ultimately choose a product based on efficacy, making it increasingly important for brands to link ingredient safety with function.

COVID-19 is impacting the way consumers approach beauty and personal care (BPC) products, especially when they consider ingredient safety, cleanliness and shelf life.

COVID-19 is a catalyst for clean

Since its inception, clean beauty has consistently evolved to meet consumer needs and demands. What started out as a natural ingredient trend has snowballed into a movement incorporating elements such as safety, transparency, sourcing/manufacturing practices and a slew of other factors that play into the final product. According to Mintel research on ingredient trends in beauty, nearly half of women who use beauty products agree it’s important to understand the ingredients used in their beauty products.

While clean beauty isn’t going anywhere, the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 will have implications on the evolution of clean beauty. Prior to COVID-19, natural consumers avoided ingredients such as preservatives and artificial ingredients in their beauty products due to perceived health risks. With more concern surrounding shelf-stability and sanitation across consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories, consumers will be more willing to accept these ingredients as long as brands provide evidence of efficacy and safety, both from a health and environmental perspective.

COVID-19 impact on BPC formulation

The arrival of the novel coronavirus will further push the notion that natural isn’t always better, especially when it comes to ingredient safety and shelf life. According to Mintel research on clean beauty, more than one in 10 adults agree clean products expire too quickly. More than ever, consumers will scrutinize ingredient safety and evaluate the risk of possible product contamination and expiration. The future of clean ingredient formulations will rely on safe synthetic ingredients, which may improve shelf life.

COVID-19 is a catalyst towards this movement, with brands facing more pressure to convey safety, longevity and efficacy. To avoid distrust, brands must educate consumers about the benefits and stability of synthetic ingredients, while providing evidence and certifications/seals of approval that denotes product safety.

Beauty and personal care products can also be formulated without water to appeal to consumers’ safety and environmental concerns. By offering products in a powder form, consumers can control the shelf life on their own. Not only do waterless formulas reduce the need for preservatives, they also minimize waste.

COVID-19 impact on BPC packaging

As consumers become more aware about viruses and germs living on surfaces, BPC products packaged in ways that eliminate the need to touch one’s face will stand out. Spray and stick formats in both cosmetics and facial skincare have been increasing in popularity, and with the arrival of COVID-19, “touchless” beauty products will see increased demand. Consumers will look to brands for guidance on how to keep their cosmetics clean and safe. In addition, while much attention is placed on the importance of cleaning makeup brushes and skincare devices, brands can support consumers by offering tips and tricks to cleanse auxiliary BPC products without compromising product efficacy and safety.

What we think

The anxiety and uncertainty caused by this pandemic leads to a greater need for reliable and safe BPC products. Products that mitigate risks of contamination by utilizing touchless formats and offer extended shelf life to consumers rationing supplies and/or unable to obtain alternatives will stand out as being safe and dependable. Brands that demonstrate their dependability, transparency and willingness to take action to ensure product safety will be rewarded by consumers.

Clare Hennigan
Clare Hennigan

Clare is a Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, identifying key trends and developing insights impacting the beauty landscape.

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