In-Store Cosmetic Testing: A Permanent Discontinuation?

In Store Cosmetic Testing

Even before COVID-19, cosmetic testing in stores was unsanitary. Now that we’re emerging from the pandemic, what does this mean for in-store testers?

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Pre COVID-19 in-store cosmetic testing

Cosmetic testing and sampling in-stores was a huge part of a consumers’ choice on purchasing a product. However, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, some people thought the practice was unsanitary. After all, anyone could try on the product without the requirement of washing their hands or wiping the product. In some stores, alcohol wipes and sprays were available. However, employees only had to disinfect a product if a customer asked them to do so. In 2018, Marketplace launched an investigation at twelve cosmetic stores in Toronto. Samples of testers were taken to a lab at the University of Guelph to be tested by microbiologists. It was found that 40% of samples housed Staphylococcus bacteria and 28% with mold. Regularly sharing makeup, in general, is an unsafe practice as microorganisms prefer the moist environment that many products create. This is especially dangerous if the makeup is targeted at the eyes or mouth. These places are easy modes of transmission for bacteria and viruses to enter the body.


Read more about the Marketplace investigation here:

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What does cosmetic testing look like now?

Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, it was obvious that makeup testing in-stores had to be eliminated right away. This also meant that samples taken from testers could not be given. Consumers were left without a way to try makeup directly on their skin. Makeup testing in-store is usually done to ensure the colour matches or suits one’s skin tone, as there are often a plethora of undertones and shades available. Or, trying on skin products like moisturizers and serums was also common. Consumers wanted to see if they like the texture, scent, or way that the product feels before purchasing. The significance of in-person makeup testing is clear. A study by Base Beauty Creative Agency found that 86% of respondents viewed in-store makeup testing as a critical part of deciding when to purchase a product. Consumers are more likely to keep a product and be satisfied with their purchase if they get to see it on their skin first. 


Read more about the significance of in-person testing for consumers here:


Why Tejo is the solution to the pause on in-store testing

Tejo is a specialized AI that can directly help with this problem. AI, software, and apps have become increasingly popular as this issue persists. Tejo uses diagnostic and shade finding technology to discover exactly what colours will match or suit the consumer. Tejo also works to create a custom skincare routine for your consumer if you also carry skincare products. This eliminates the need for consumers to try on products and see if it suits their skin type. By sending your products to us for testing, Tejo becomes an expert on your products and shades to ensure maximum tailorization to your consumers. Adding technology like Tejo to your brand can bridge the gap for your customers. 

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Moving forward

It’s likely that testers will be back in the future. However, customers may still be apprehensive. Currently, as we emerge from the pandemic, some stores have opted for a no-touch policy on testing. These stores get their employees to take some clean products out onto a separate container for every individual who wishes to try on the product. Even with this, it seems like there’s still a large chunk of buyers who wish not to try at all in order to stay safe. January Digital and Coresight Research found that over one-third of respondents were online buyers or chose curb-side pickup. Many consumers also prefer to wait until others have tried and reviewed a new product. Platforms like TikTok and Youtube have popularized this due to the lack of in-person testing. Stores are offering more pre-packaged samples to mitigate this issue. Subscription boxes may also become more popular as they can also send out smaller amounts of products for customers to try on a wide variety of products. While this poses a sensible solution, consumers are still not able to choose directly which product they wish to try. While these all pose as solutions, consumers are still not able to receive immediate gratification from trying on a product they directly wanted to test. So, software and AI will flourish in this time to help out those types of consumers. 


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Further readings: