Is single-dose beauty packaging what retail needs to succeed?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

photo courtesy of Arcade Beauty
photo courtesy of Arcade Beauty

Related tags coronavirus sample size packaging design retail

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, beauty product testing was a mainstay of cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance retail. With stores starting to reopen in the Americas region, brands and retailers are looking for the right way to let shoppers test makeup safely.

For now, there seems to be three main schools of thought on what contactless beauty product sampling should look like going forward: digital try-on technology, single-dose packaging, and automated dispensing.  

To learn more about the current demand for single-portion beauty product packaging, Cosmetics Design checked in with Larry Berman, Senior Vice President of Sales in North America for Arcade Beauty, a privately owned multinational specializing in beauty product sampling solutions.

Berman tells this publication that, he and his team “have been inundated by our clients in regard to the post-Covid retail experience, which will require hygienic, single use ‘contact free’ sampling.” ​And he says, requests are coming in from brands big and small, and in every category, but there are some telling anecdotes in what Arcade Beauty shared with Cosmetics Design.

Color cosmetics and fragrance sampling solutions are in high demand

Not every product category is readily sampled in a conventional retail setting; but when it comes to so-called sanitary sampling solutions, “there is interest from all categories,” ​says Berman.

And Arcade Beauty sees “the most inquiries coming from color and fragrance brands.” ​As Berman explains it, “color and fragrance are so intimate and personal, consumers need to have the ability to try different shades and formulas of cosmetics and experience individual fragrances, based on their preferences.”

The company’s two most-requested sample packaging designs back up this thinking. The Scent Talker, a self-serve fragrance sample is getting a lot of attention, according to Berman, as is the Stand-Alone Beautiseal solution for color cosmetics sampling (shown at the top of this article).

Contactless beauty sampling is catching on globally with indie and industry brands alike

Many beauty retailers, whether they're opening to the consumer public or offer only pick and delivery, have no new product sampling initiatives in place.

When Ulta Beauty opened in select cities across the US on Monday (May 11), for instance, “product testers [were] not available for use in store. Open product is now for display only,” ​according to the retailers’ new Shop Safe Standards as Cosmetics Design reported.

Nonetheless, demand is mounting around the world for single-dose packaging like the kind Arcade Beauty makes. Berman notes that Arcade is “a global company, with sales and manufacturing in the US, Brazil, France, Poland, and China; and we are seeing the same requests throughout the regions.” ​However, he says, “we are seeing a larger amount of requests in the US.”

And while the company’s usual roster of customers is are looking for sample-size packaging solutions that will meet the needs of beauty shoppers in the age of Coronavirus, inquires are coming in from new potential brand customers of every size, according to Berman.  

“There has not only been interest from every major brand that we currently work with,” ​he says; “but we are also hearing from potential new clients, as well as indies, regarding what sampling solutions we have available that are hygienic, single-dose, and ‘contact-free’.”

“We have also been in close contact with other industry partners, such as in-store display manufacturers and some of our retail partners. By working strategically with other industry experts,” ​believes Berman, “we are helping create environments where the consumer can return to retail and feel safe interacting with product, which is absolutely necessary in the beauty space.”

“Additionally,” ​he notes, “we have seen a surge in interest in our social media sampling business, Abeo​ (​), as the platform allows brands to connect, discover, and engage with their consumer (wherever they are)” ​— a sign that the lift in ecommerce beauty may continue through the Coronavirus recovery and perhaps even beyond.



Deanna Utroske is a leading voice in the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as in the indie beauty movement. As Editor of, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region​ and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.
CLICK HERE to read about Deanna’s approach to newsgathering and communication during COVID-19, as recently featured on Publishing Executive.

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