Earlier this week, LVMH – owners of luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon – announced it will be able to produce 12 tonnes of hand sanitiser at its perfume and cosmetics factories so as to provide these to French hospitals during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The company said it will temporarily make use of its production facilities which are normally used to produce fragrances and cosmetics to churn out tens of thousands of bottles of hydroalcoholic gel at a time.
The resulting hand-sanitising products will then be delivered free of charge to French health agencies, hospitals and other medical outlets.
It’s just one optimistic scenario at work within the cosmetics industry as Coronovirus continues to take its toll.
Since beauty is a very hands-on business, we wondered what other big brands are doing to cope in the current no-contact climate.
Already, major beauty events have been cancelled or postponed, such as the FIT Summit in Singapore, World Spa & Wellness in London, and Beauty Melbourne – the latter which was scheduled to take place this week.
Demonstrations at makeup counters such as at David Jones, Mecca and MAC Cosmetics have been suspended as have all in-store beauty treatments while smaller beauty businesses will also most likely have to shut shop until no-contact rules are less stringent.
As it is, our personal space is being dictated by government, with Australian PM Scott Morrison announcing “we are now moving to an arrangement … that there would be four square metres provided per person in an enclosed space, in a room”. That’s 2 metres by 2 metres per person, in case you’re wondering. And retail space – often peppered by strangers who’ve never met before – are likely to appear even more uncomfortably arranged.
Because beauty businesses can’t be bothered with all that cash-counting while dealing with customers in-store, some are opting for digital contact instead. Of course, digital transactions mean better sanitation.
Ultraceuticals has a Skype consulting option where it books in live consults and provides product recommendations so that guests can then purchase items online. It’s also managed to keep stores operating, stepping up sterilisation procedures and having staff wear masks and gloves at all times.
Sephora, like MAC and Mecca, have suspended its makeup services on counters in Australia while in the U.S. and Canada the brand has gone a drastic step further to shut all retail stores as has beauty brand Lush.
Back in Australia, The Body Shop is keeping its doors open but its suspending in-store makeup demonstrations so as to minimise skin to skin contact. Overseas it’s a different scene, with stores in Austria, Spain, Belgium, France and Portugal all closed until further notice.
All up, the beauty industry isn’t looking the prettiest of pictures. In times of economic crisis, it is an industry that outshone others, going so far as to have coined the term ‘lipstick index’ – which is where consumers would purchase affordable little luxuries like lipsticks and perfumes to pep themselves up during times of recession and depression.
Today, you’d be more panicky about what cooties might be spritzed on you at the fragrance counter at David Jones than concerned about the perfect scent or right shade of lippy to pep you up.
Antonino Tati & Lisa Andrews