Delicious Living Blog

Turning the point of (beauty) sale into the point of experience

Beauty manufacturers and organizations are bringing education directly to consumers in the personal care aisle.

At the end of 2010, I wrote a beauty trends piece predicting what would be hot in 2011. It consisted of things, all things. Things you apply to your skin. Things you consume in a pill form. Things you can unwrap (yay!). Great things to be sure. But the beauty “trend” (it seems to be much more) that really caught my eye at Expo West last week transcended the tangible: education. Manufacturers and organizations are bringing the education process directly to consumers at the point of sale.

Ironically, it actually is things—and technologically advanced things at that—that are proving to be the best vehicles to relay information to consumers when they’re looking for beauty products. Take Mychelle’s new imaging system. Soon to appear in the Whole Foods personal care section, it uses a 3D consultation device to evaluate skin texture, pores, age spots, and more. Estheticians review the data to offer product recommendations, and once you've tested them, you'll get a follow up photo that tracks the results—reinforcing the fact that consumers are increasingly wanting not just natural products, but efficacious ones.

NaTrue, an international non-profit comprised of natural and organic cosmetic manufacturers, now stamps its certified natural products with a QR code, which consumers can scan to pull up a company's web page that includes ingredient, certification, packaging, and other company information. "What a consumer needs is a holistic overview of what a company is doing," says Julie Tyrrell, NaTrue director general. (NaTrue has recently partnered with NSF to develop a natural certification, the first American National Standard).

I’m really excited about all of this. Consumers want to know where ingredients are coming from and how products are made, we really do. But sometimes we need a little help. By turning the point of sale into the point of experience, consumers can now make a more informed decision—more efficiently. As for me—I will continue writing about beauty things (check out my top picks from Expo West). And other things that get beauty information to the consumer.

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