Compulsory face covering measures in public spaces are likely to continue to play a part in the day-to-day realities of consumers in many countries for the foreseeable future. The mandatory mask wearing rules are expected to outlast the pandemic, creating long-term opportunities for personal care brands to design products that meet emerging health and hygiene related needs, such as facial eczema or rosacea.

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly affected consumer attitudes and concerns. According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q1 consumer survey, 78% of consumers globally are still either extremely or quite concerned about the impact of the pandemic in general, 55% are equally concerned about their physical fitness and health, and 52% are worried about their mental wellbeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those serious concerns are accompanied by everyday disadvantages of social distancing or mask-wearing. Addressing those inconveniences may help brands reach those worried consumers and provide them with some sense of control; much needed in the uncertainty-filled times.

The introduction of mandatory face covering rules has brought instant growth to the face mask market, quickly followed by the appearance of mask “complementing” products; anti-bacterial mask cleaners and fragrance sprays have followed suit, catering to shoppers who sought an enhanced anti-germ reassurance and those who strived for a pleasant sensory element to rarely enjoyed new rules.

Over the course of 2020, personal care brands have pioneered tailored products that target specific issues arising from face covering rules, such as “maskne”. “Maskne”, or professionally known as acne mechanica, is where breakouts are aggravated by prolonged mask use, which can cause a build-up of sweat, oil and bacteria on your skin. The customised releases that banish acne breakouts caused by face masks include Revolution Beauty’s lower face sheet mask. Marketed directly towards “maskne” sufferers, the product contains willow bark extract, betaine and hyaluronic acid which aims to repair the skin damage related to the fabric covering wear.

Similarly, Hard Candy’s anti-chafe stick, with a cooling formula infused with shea butter and aloe, claims to create a skin-protective barrier behind the ears and on the face for an “instant relief.” Furthermore, some new mask-related products not only minimise the disadvantages of face covering but also offset their inconveniences by providing innovative benefits.  For example, the Morilabo barrier stick launched in Japan creates an invisible shield when applied on the outside layer of the mask. The essential oil-based barrier works to block allergens and, consequently, bring relief to hay fever sufferers.

Months spent under new regulations have encouraged consumers to seek ways of improving the comfort of wearing masks. Brands that have shown their flexibility and eagerness to adapt to changing consumer needs are likely to successfully resonate with a wide audience.

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By GlobalData