We live in a world where we are constantly inundated with information about beauty products. We read about the latest products on blogs and on social media and see and hear about them on traditional media. Every season appears to generate a new line of products that appear to be a new, improved version of what to use to solve a particular beauty challenge.
With anti-aging creams, for example, we always hear that we need to use this or that beauty product to look younger. How do reviewers know what to recommend and retailers decide what to stock when it comes to beauty products? Is it all subjective or arbitrary? Or is there some systematic method used to make these recommendations?
Many people are surprised to learn that reviewers, retail buyers, and others who strive to provide consumers with informed recommendations rely on beauty product testers to determine efficacy ratings.
Besides guiding consumers to make better decisions, personal care and beauty product testing is also used by cosmetics and personal care manufacturers themselves to make sure that their product advertising is compliant with marketing regulations.
Consumer studies are now an essential part of the life cycle of a new beauty product. It provides manufacturers with critical information on what people expect from their product. A qualitative evaluation of the efficacy of a product is essential before it goes to market. By comparing the new product with a reference product in the market, it also helps with brand positioning.
Additionally, these studies assist with the product’s regulatory filing, providing information about how product claims authentically satisfy consumer’s needs.
Selecting the Beauty Product Testers
Consumer studies, also known as beauty product testing, is carried out in many ways:
- It’s done in the laboratory.
- It’s carried out under normal conditions when a user applies it at home.
- It’s discussed in focus groups.
- It’s evaluated in a professional cosmetologist’s environment.
In other words, for the most part, selected panelists are chosen, people who correspond to the target population who will benefit from the product and use it under normal, everyday conditions.
The Basic Evaluation Process
Although the process of testing covers many aspects, it can be simplified into three broad steps:
The first step is to decide on a panel that fairly represents the target consumers. The criteria will include people with the condition the product will help. Selection is based on a broad demographic and age range. For instance, if the product is designed to help with rosacea, then only those people who have rosacea will be invited to test it, but it will also work to provide samples to a diverse demographic.
The second step is to come up with self-assessment questionnaires that provide meaningful answers that are easy to interpret. As a result, there will be a mix of multiple choice answers and some open-ended questions. For instance, a question might ask about the tolerance a user has for the product.
The third step is launch the beauty product test, the stage in which the study coordinator recruits participants, asks them to sign the informed consent form stipulated by the guidelines of Good Clinical Practice (GCP), and provides them with a product sample and precise instructions on how it should be used.
It’s important to mention that the FDA provides oversight of cosmetic product testing to protect both the industry and the consumers. The FDA expects manufacturers to make products that are safe when consumers apply them in a customary setting based on the label directions.
But the FDA does not rely entirely on the manufacturer to assure the public about the safety of the product. If necessary, when there appear to be safety problems, the FDA will conduct their own testing to investigate the product.
Testing Keeps Everyone Honest
In closing, it’s important to put the value of beauty product testing into context. The reason why the beauty industry is able to generate billions in sales every year is that they are responding to the high demand for natural and cosmetic products by consumers. The testing concept keeps everyone honest. It keeps manufacturers honest in their claims, reviewers honest in their publications, and consumers honest when they endorse or recommend a product to others.