The spike in self-care sales is one that Freedman can certainly echo: "We've seen an uplift in our home and living category with the search for 'candles' increasing by 134 percent from March to April."
In addition, Curate Beauty has also seen this rise in skincare. "We launched a "Self Care and Love" category at the start of March and have seen a 600 percent increase in clicks on this category from the first two weeks of April, in comparison to the last two weeks of April", says Freedman. "Requests for face masks and facial rollers and gua sha tools have been our highest product categories."
"While we are no longer spending money on going out, consumers are investing in products that optimise the wellbeing of their body, mind, hair and skin," says Inge.
Beauty Shopping Prediction: Product Testing Won't Look the Same
Despite the strict parameters around store hygiene procedures being discussed among beauty retailers, there is no set guidance from the UK government on what to do about product sampling in-store, which means nobody really knows what the future holds — we just know it won't ever be the same.
"We know how important it is to be able to review beauty products in the flesh", says Rogers. "Going forwards we will be looking into the safest way possible to reintroduce this, from sealed, individual samples to disposable, single-use applicators."
But perhaps product testing prepandemic was outdated and needed rethinking anyway. Freedman told POPSUGAR she recently spoke with an up-and-coming lipstick brand who conducted a customer development survey around testers. "The feedback was that customers weren't happy with the current (pre-Covid) options — from poor lighting to awkwardness of testing in store."
For online retailers, testing has been an ever-present challenge. "We offer services such as Beauty Kit, Pick & Mix and sampling as another service to provide beauty products for our customers to discover before investing in the full-sized product, explains Nigel Lawmon, commercial director at Feelunique.
Virtual try-ons can certainly help with that for purchases like lipstick, but certain products — like fragrance — simply require the sensorial experience, meaning businesses have to get a little more creative.
Still, this newfound focus on cleanliness will likely drive more sanitary initiatives across the board, both from brands and shoppers. An example? L'Occitane launched its Duolab skincare device, which creates a custom moisturiser from encapsulated airtight pods that are clipped into it. The blending happens inside the tool — meaning the formula never comes into contact with air until you apply it to your skin.