Editor's Spotlight

Highlight on Hygiene: the newly chic personal care category

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (jax10289)
© Getty Images \ (jax10289)

Related tags Hand sanitizer coronavirus Soap Hygiene

As COVID-19 spread around the world, demand for soaps and hand sanitizer increased dramatically. And as the pandemic wears on, the need for basic hygiene products (and hygienic beauty solutions) remains constant. Here, Cosmetics Design looks at headlines and highlights in personal hygiene.

Once the Coronavirus arrived in earnest in the Americas region this past March, news of hand sanitizer became plentiful here on CosmeticsDesign.com.

There were guideline changes from the FDA​ and later on, a sad, but necessary reminder that the topical hygiene product is for external use only​. New sanitizer formats hit the market: INW began making single-use sanitizer sachets​ and Starco launched a continuous spray version​.

In Canada, a new cross-industry alliance was formed​ to source ingredients efficiently and scale sanitizer production swiftly to meet the surge in demand. And every brand, supplier, and manufacturer that could—from ORLY​ to Shiseido​—pivoted to produce hand sanitizer and keep employees working in newly essential roles.

And now months later, innovations and updates on hand sanitizer, soap, and hygiene are still making headlines in the beauty press.  

Personal hygiene products like soap and sanitizer are a necessary trend

It seems now that nearly every beauty brand is in the hand sanitizer and hygiene business. But some brands, like Hygiene Hero, are entirely focused on personal cleanliness products​.

The new-this-year brand, founded by Michelle Yeh and Poppy Chiang, has a product portfolio of just two products: a spray-on hand sanitizer called Super Mist and a non-woven fabric face covering called Super Mask.

“Why did we put in so much efforts to make these hygiene products?” ​asks the brand somewhat rhetorically on their about page: “Because we believe ‘hygiene wellness’ is going to be a way of life in the foreseeable future, and our goal is to make the ‘New Normal’ healthy and beautiful!”

At the same time, well-established beauty brands like Lush are launching new products and new product bundles to meet consumer needs in a COVID-19 world. Last month, Lush launched its new 30-second soap​, a tiny bar soap designed to dissolve after 30 seconds of vigorous handwashing. Curiously, the brand known for its packaging-free products is distributing the new tiny soaps in individual packages. (Read more about the new Lush soap in this AdWeek article by Sara Spary.​)

Suppliers, manufacturers, and regulators are working hard to keep up

On the supply side of the personal care industry, manufacturers have increased production to keep pace with the demand for soaps and sanitizer and household disinfectants. Ohio-based GOJO has more than doubled its production capacity and even invested in additional facility space recently​, a further sign that demand for hygiene products is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.

In recent months, UK-based supplier Stephenson launched a new soap base called Liquid Soap 2020​ to help meet the increased global demand. As CosmeticsDesign.com reported, “Liquid Soap 2020…was launched ‘to aid the fight against the current Coronavirus crisis….It has been specifically formulated to be an all-purpose soap, suitable for both personal care, such as hand washing, and [for] multi-purpose cleansing products for hard surfaces and floors.'”

And in mid-June, CosmeticsDesign.com covered news of hand sanitizer recalls​. The list of unsafe products recalled by Health Canada continues to grow—a stark reminder that even an important and unassuming category like hygiene needs regulators to help ensure that products and the people who use them are safe.

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