How COVID-19 affects beauty consumer behavior

Published March 17, 2021, 5:36 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Find out what they are expecting in this global pandemic

CONSCIOUS BEAUTY Consumers nowadays do not simply look at the personal effects of the beauty products but they also check how these will affect the environment

The Covid-19 threat to our health has ignited the call for brand transparency and clean beauty movement, this is according to the report shown during the recently held L’Oreal Transparency Summit. 

According to Julia Sarhy, L’Oreal’s global consumer insights director, with the rise of fake news and other health concerns, beauty consumers are looking for transparency and accurate data.

“In this world of skepticism, there’s always a way for consumers to engage companies to have greater transparency and to set new communication standards,” Julia says. “So, the Covid crisis accelerated dramatically the move to digital. And that leads also to the need of understanding better what does that mean in terms of media and information consumption but also, what does it mean in terms of decoding science.” 

The Edelman report

Based on the Edelman Trust Barometer, 2021, COVID-19 has impacted the importance of information and science literacy to the point that people ranked media and science literacy after prioritizing their personal needs. 

Julia says that this data means that the general public, especially the consumers are not after good stories but they are looking for the factual stories. “I think honesty is one of the key drivers and pushed by the crisis, which means consumers are not necessarily expecting us to tell the beautiful story, they are expecting us to tell the true story,” she says. “Consumers when it deals with cosmetic products, they are looking for products that are going to provide them with a very reassuring, safety, and consider their health as a priority.” 

When it comes to safe products, the consumer insight director adds that the pandemic affects the consumers’ criteria in choosing a beauty brand—safety, ingredients origin, and the impact to the environment. Thus, this leads to clean beauty movement. 

“Clean beauty is a trend that we observed a few years back,” Julia explains. “That is finding alternative solutions to controversial ingredients. For instance, by removing them or replacing them. Very concretely, when consumers are shopping a product, what are they looking for the back first—the list of ingredients. Secondly, their origins. And thirdly, and that is something that accelerates very much since the since the crisis is, how does this product will impact biodiversity, and what is the social impact as well.”

The pledge
With that being said, L’Oreal commits to fully adopting Green Sciences approach. It means, that the company pledges that by 2030, 95 percent of its ingredients will be derived from renewable plant sources, abundant minerals, or circular processes; and 100 percent of formulas will be respectful of the aquatic environment.

In 2020 alone, 80 percent of the Group’s raw materials are easily biodegradable, 59 percent are renewable, 34 percent are natural or of natural origin, and 29 percent of the ingredients used in L’Oréal formulas were developed according to the principles of Green Chemistry. 

“Our ambition is that by 2030 we will be able to offer women and men around the world increasingly effective, safe cosmetics that respect the environment,” says Nicolas Hieronimus, L’Oréal deputy chief executive officer.