Tackling COVID-19: Packaging, exports and training key hurdles for the cosmetics sector

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Overcoming challenges to exports and training are two of the top priorities of CTFAS. ©GettyImages
Overcoming challenges to exports and training are two of the top priorities of CTFAS. ©GettyImages

Related tags: COVID-19, CTFAS

Overcoming challenges to exports and training are two of the top priorities the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association of Singapore (CTFAS) is striving to help members overcome in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

President of CTFAS Dr Alain Khaiat told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that he has observed many cosmetic companies having to overcome sizable hurdles in the past few months since the outbreak of the virus.

“One of the major problems companies were having was with packaging. Most of it is made in China but because all the Chinese factories were closed, they did not have access to things like bottles or pumps. It was a big issue but now it’s getting better.”

Additionally, due to the widespread lockdowns, certain cosmetic categories have experienced a decline in sales.

“Companies all over are suffering because people are not going out. If you stay home, you don’t really need lipstick. The most affected areas will be make-up and fragrance. Skin care to a certain extent, but it will be less affected than make-up and fragrance,” ​said Khaiat.

Moving forward, Khaiat reckons the first make-up category to see recovery will be eye make-up, more specifically, mascara.

“The first one to restart will be eye make-up because even with the mask you can see the eyes. Mascara is usually the first one to take off because ​most women will use mascara more than eye shadow.”

He added: “I've been in the industry for 40 years, so I've seen ups and downs, difficulties here and there. But there are some things that don't change. Generations come one after another, but women will pick up mascara first.”

First-ever webinar series

In the meantime, CTFAS is working with other cosmetic associations globally to ensure the outbreak does not hinder business more than it already has.

For instance, the organisation is ensuring companies can still get the certificate of free sale in order to export their products into other countries.

“In Indonesia, the certificate of free sale needs to be legalised at the embassy. In this situation, companies can only submit an electronic version because they can’t go down to the embassy to get it legalised. We are now working with regulators on accepting electronic versions and letting the paper versions be submitted later on,” ​explained Khaiat.

Additionally, the association will also be offering its first-ever live webinar series to replace the workshop sessions it usually holds.

These first few sessions will tackle topics such as basics of skin care, safety assessment, GMP and toxicology.

These webinars are open to all CTFAS members as well as members of its sister associations in other countries. Each session is two hours long and costs S$50 to participate.

“We thought this is something we can offer at an affordable price for this time period,”​ said Khaiat.

Khaiat explained that these back-to-basics sessions will address an issue that many of its member companies have flagged out.

“We had feedback from several companies that people don't know what's going on in the other functions outside their own. For instance, a person working in regulatory affairs will have to review claims and ingredient list, but they don't know how to connect the ingredients to the claims.”

The association plans to make these webinars a monthly series and is open to receiving feedback and suggestions from its members on future topics.

“It's a good opportunity to upgrade your skills and understand the industry.  Once you understand a bit more about what you are doing, obviously it will be make you more efficient in your job. It will also make your time at home more profitable.”

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