Natural Vs. Sanitary - How COVID-19 Has Changed the Way We Think About Our Products

Over the past few years, we have seen a growing trend in sustainability and environmentally clean products. As we became more concerned about the planet and, consequently, the ingredients in our products, we were expecting the brands we used to contain natural ingredients as well as use sustainable packaging.

Many environmentally conscious nonprofits had announced significant steps toward more sustainability and transparency in the beauty and personal care industry bringing large industry players on board.

Enter COVID-19.

When a Pandemic Changes the Rules

COVID-19 has suddenly impacted the way that we are approaching consumer and self-care products, particularly when it comes to safety, cleanliness and sanitary efficacy. While the future is uncertain when it comes to the virus, it has definitely colored how we now think about our products.

For one thing, as we see a workforce that has been working from home and a population that is wearing a mask anywhere outside the house, it’s become much less important to buy and wear makeup. Moving in to fill that void is an uptick in self-care items, hand sanitizers and soaps. Hygiene is the new self-care trend. 

Natural Vs. Sanitary?

Natural products have evolved over the years to meet needs and trends. But what began as our clean and natural cosmetic trend took on a more dire need with the onset of a pandemic. What consumers now want in the wake of this are products that are safe and sanitary. Safety has become less about natural and more about its sanitary qualities.

Natural Isn’t Necessarily Better Right Now

This shift may seem counterintuitive during a natural ingredients movement where consumers have avoided ingredients with added preservatives, chemicals or artificial ingredients. But a move toward sanitation and shelf-stability as the primary driving force right now is moving “natural” ingredients aside for now. The short-term answer? Bring on the chemicals if they can keep the virus at bay.

Consequently, consumers are now willing to accept some of these ingredients providing they work effectively and sanitize to government specifications. Consumers are now trying to walk that fine line between the eco-suitability of a product and whether it can get the sanitizing job done effectively.

Touchless Products

One place where COVID-19 has had a major impact is cosmetics packaging. With information about how long viruses linger on materials and surfaces, products that can eliminate the need to touch the face are becoming more popular. Touchless products such as sprays and sticks enable consumers to keep their environment and personal care items sanitary without having to touch the face or even the product itself.

Safety is the Priority

Right now, there is great uncertainty about what is and isn’t considered “safe” and natural may just have to take a back seat for the time being. What we see now is a great demand for safe products and sanitary packaging. For now, brands should be focused on dependability, transparency and the safety of their products. We are all holding on, hoping that we can soon see the light at the end of this tunnel.


If you are looking for direction in our current landscape, at APG, we have solutions that may help. Call us at (626) 385-5858 and we would be glad to discuss your product and packaging solutions with you.