The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our lives in more ways than we could have imagined. Entire industries have had to cease business and furlough their staff, and some have had to make the difficult decision of redundancy. Up there with some of the most hard-hit sectors is the beauty and personal-care industry.
At the beginning of March, beauty brands and companies took the decision to suspend in-store treatments and services to ensure customer safety, but it wasn't long before closing entirely was the only safe option. Salons and spas followed a similar trajectory, closing business for the foreseeable future from the 20th of March.
It was announced on 10 May that the reopening of hair salons, spas, and nail bars is in phase three of the government's plan to begin easing lockdown, meaning it's unlikely the industry will return to business as usual until the backend of summer.
In the meantime, those working in the beauty industry are doing all they can to keep in touch with their customers and maintain e-commerce sites in an effort to combat losses. So, what can we do as customers to help out beloved brands, salons, and nail bars during this unsettling time? Turns out, quite a bit.
Sign Up For a Virtual Skin-Care Consultation
Since the coronavirus outbreak, skin-care brands have looked for alternative ways to maintain the face-to-face customer engagement they provide in store. Luckily, digital technology has enabled these in-person consultations to go virtual. So, if you're seeking advice on the new best serum out there, or want information about how to best treat your lockdown breakout, you still can with these virtual services.
Take, for example Clarins, who have started "Clarins & Me," a new and complimentary virtual well-being service. Each booking includes 15 minutes with one of the brand's beauty specialists who, over the phone, will give advice and share product recommendations. You can choose from one of seven topics, including Cleanse and Go (creates a basic morning and evening skin-care routine), Put Your Skin to Bed (explores the benefits of oils to de-stress before bed), Mother to Be (focuses on expectant mothers), Tailored to You (personalised discussion around your current skin concerns), and much more.
Clarins isn't the only brand offering up its education for customers free of charge. Glossier has ramped up online tutorials on the brand's IGTV, and Swiss skin-care brand Valmont is offering free 30-minute consultations to discuss concerns and provide personalised advice.
But it's not just brands getting involved in virtual consultations: skin-care clinics are offering services, too — although these consultations often aren't complimentary. London skin-care clinic Pfeffer Sal (which also produces its own range of products), now offers consumers a digital "online skin MOT" with a trained therapist, as well as at-home facial kits to enable you to re-create professional-level skin care (or as close to it as an untrained enthusiast can), while FaceGym is providing one-on-one digital sessions with a FaceGym trainer (£45).
Chat With a Makeup Artist From Your Favourite Brand
Cosmetics companies are also leaning into digital consultations. Bobbi Brown, for example, has created the Pro Live Chat, which connects you with a member of the Bobbi Brown Pro team. Simply log on and they'll share backstage tips and tricks, plus one-on-one advice about skin care and makeup. The most popular products customers are ordering right now? "People are loving multipurpose products that will help them lift their look on seconds — like the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, as it's a lip and cheek colour that's mistake proof and can be applied in seconds," says Warren Dowdall, senior pro artist for the brand. "Clients are looking for looks that are fresh, quick, and easy to apply."
Other brands embracing digital appointments include Bare Minerals, which launched a virtual beauty consultation program. Customers can get in touch with Bare Minerals' customer service team and book a slot, then receive a call back on FaceTime by one of education experts for a 1:1 consultation (oh, and you'll be given a discount code, so you can shop the products you're recommend). Huda Beauty is providing one-on-one appointments with a brand pro, who can offer product advice, artistry techniques, lash-application tips, and step-by-step for full make-up looks; and Trinny London is providing 30-min. free virtual appointments via Google Hangout where they'll take you through their Match2Me tool. Make sure you're sitting in good light and not wearing any makeup, and they'll match you accordingly, so whether you want to enhance your lips, perfect your blush, or be shown how to create a flawless complexion — they'll be able to help.
Try On Makeup Via Virtual Testing
If you want to support your favourite beauty brands by investing in some new products to play around with but aren't fully sold on buying colour makeup without seeing it in real life, then try it virtually. Alongside digital consultations, brands like L'Oréal, M.A.C., and Maybelline have invested in ModiFace, a 3D virtual makeup, colour, and skin diagnosis technology that enables you to virtually "try on" makeup. So, if you're eyeing up a certain lipstick but aren't sure whether that shade of red will actually suit you, or if you want to try before you experiment with blue eyeliner, now you can from the comfort of your own home — and better yet, get it delivered straight to your door.
Shop From Your Local Small Business
Understanding the stress the global pandemic has put on small and local business, Instagram recently launched a "Support Small Business" sticker that you can add to your Instagram stories. Give your favourite shop a shout on social media, and consider ordering from them the next time you need a product restock (we rounded up our favourite small British businesses here if you want some ideas). If your shop of choice doesn't have e-commerce, consider giving them a ring to see if they'll offer curbside pickup or contactless delivery — something many brands are considering as lockdown restrictions slowly begin to ease.
It may not be a shop per se, but consider ordering products from your local hair salon. "If your salon has products available online, buy them. This is a lifeline for them currently, and showing your support this way won't go unnoticed," Richard Ashley, director at UK hair extension supplier and distributor Additional Lengths, recently told POPSUGAR. Other ways to help out your hairdresser during this stressful time? Buy gift vouchers, leave a review, and give them a shout on Instagram if they have their own account.
Find a New Perfume With Online Fragrance Profiling
Without knowing what it smells like beforehand, fragrance is another tricky product to purchase online. But there are several brands tackling that issue with sampling programs. Miller Harris, for example, has a 'Scent of the Season' monthly subscription service that allows you to discover new scents from the comfort and safety of your home. Sign up, and each month you'll receive a 14ml Miller Harris fragrance. The brand also offers an Online Fragrance Profiling Appointment, where customers can find their perfect scent through a unique and personalised 1-1 digital appointment with a Miller Harris fragrance expert.
Molton Brown, on the other hand, has launched a virtual fragrance finder. The fun personality quiz takes you on an interactive journey to discover your perfect scent. From questions about your personality to your favourite smells, they'll then select a scent that's most suited to you and send you a free sample in the post.
Check Out Online Master Classes
Whether it's with Facebook Lives, Zoom, or Instagram TV, brands have adapted how they're now reaching out and engaging with their customers. Dr Barbara Sturm, for example, is hosting an array of different master classes on Zoom with a host of special guests, which start from £10 a ticket.
Makeup brand Chantecaille hosts weekly events with each week focusing on a different theme, be it at-home facials or talking about your all-time fave products. L'Oréal Professionnel salon, Rose and Wild, is keeping in contact with their customers and offering out tips and trick to manage their hair whilst at home. They're also offering online consultations and step-by-step videos to those who need it.
GHD has also teamed up with their brand ambassadors to help offer advice to customers. Hairstylist Zoe Irwin has come up with tips to keep your hair healthy during quarantine, whilst Adam Reed has devised a step-by-step for achieving the perfect blow dry.