Pre-pandemic, beauty applicators usually took the form of small, lightweight spatulas that could easily fit into boxes with products – a nice-to-have tool that could easily be misplaced.
With the advent of COVID-19 and rising consumer awareness of germs and bacteria, the humble applicator has now become a “standalone must-have”, said Stephane Bulle, VP of packaging Innovations at packaging company Meiyume.
“Especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for hygienic applicators have become a priority for many consumers as they look to minimise germ exposure and find a more sanitary way to go about their beauty routines.”
Talisa Poh, founder of Singapore-based Klynn Beauty, agreed that applicators were likely to become a critical tool in the consumers’ beauty arsenal.
She told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the firm has recently been receiving requests for a facial mask applicator from its customers.
“We’ve had a lot of requests for it. We actually have a batch of facial mask brush applicators coming in as we speak, and our customers will be able to purchase it as an add-on.”
Like Bulle, Poh attributed this demand to the heightened awareness of hygiene due to COVID-19.
“It’s way more hygienic to use a brush applicator as we avoid using our fingers that can contaminate the product as well as transferring any bacteria and germs that are on your hands onto your face.”
Aside from functionality and feel, it is crucial for brands to consider the cleanability of the tool as well.
Klynn Beauty, for instance, has taken care to ensure the applicator also meets the consumers’ hygiene standards with synthetic materials, said Poh.
“Our brush is made out of synthetic fibres which are much easier to clean, hence, minimal bacteria build-up. Not to mention it's also cruelty-free and it gives a sensorial spa-like experience.”
Another element to consider is if the applicator can enhance the products themselves, said Bulle.
Meiyume has been utilising materials such as metal and silicones to provide the industry with hygienic, high-quality, and on-trend tools.
“Metal-based products provide a pleasant cooling effect, ideal for formulas that are meant to refresh the skin; silicone-based products are soft to touch, easy to clean, and flexible to reach hard to reach areas,” said Bulle.
Recently, the company launched a range of touchless applicators for ‘hygienic beauty regimens’ targeted at the DIY at-home beauty trend.
Among the range is the gemstone facial wand, an applicator with a ball tip that can be customised with semi-precious stones such as amethyst and rose quartz, which provide a pleasant cooling effect on the skin.
“Our gemstone facial wand lets people apply skincare without having to dip their fingers into the product and contaminate the rest of the formulation,” said Bulle.
As with all products today, sustainability is another important factor in designing applicators.
As such, the firm has designed an anti-microbial revitalising cool lift massager made of 100% aluminium that can be easily recycled, “marrying sustainability and hygiene” concerns.
Poh and Bulle believe the demand for applicators will continue to persist post-pandemic.
Bulle added that we will see the trend evolve towards packaging with built-in applicators to create a more seamless beauty experience for consumers.
“We have already developed a few concepts, including a built-in applicator for creams that can be easily accessed on the cap of the jar. Integrated applicators are already quite common on tubes but we are also looking to bring new developments in this area.”