No testers, no touching


Covid-era beauty shopping feels different

Maggie Gibbons

Makeup testers are just some of the casualties of the pandemic, with beauty counters being forced to introduce huge changes to beauty-product shopping. Gone is the old method of wandering around, testing foundation and lipstick on the back of your hand.
I’ve done some research around the chemists and larger stores, and my findings by and large were thus; chemists appear to have removed all samples from the shelves, including perfumes.
Larger stores like Arnotts and Brown Thomas beauty halls have facilities for offering samples in tiny containers. Perfumes will be spritzed onto a fragrance blotter. Your best bet is to check with your local chemist for the lowdown, they may indeed be able to offer samples, if the manufacturers have provided them. But the ongoing pandemic could ring the death knell on  makeup testers. We now know the virus can live on surfaces for some time, up to three days in some cases, so sharing testers is a big no no. I miss the ‘touchy feely’ shopping experience though.
During lockdown, online beauty sales went through the roof. Online consultations with beauty specialists will soon become wholly acceptable. Boots has already launched virtual appointments with No7 and Liz Earle advisors. Customers can get personalised skincare, and make-up advice from advisors over the phone or a video call.
Virtual technology is well and truly here, however. You can now try new hair colours, foundation and lipsticks by uploading a selfie while sitting comfortably in your cosy chair. A few clicks and ‘voila!’ you can have any hair colour you want. The big advantage here is that you’re trying with natural lighting, store lighting can be very artificial. To get started, just click on the brand you’re interested in, and the virtual techie will advise on how it will look on you.

Virtual makeovers
Why not try out a virtual makeover for yourself and have some fun playing with new looks. MAC ( offers an online chat line, while Maybelline ( has a virtual makeover and online makeup application technology, with a very handy foundation shade finder.
Charlotte Tilbury’s virtual try-on tool allows her massive fan base test over 100 of her makeup offerings, from lipsticks to foundations. Click the ‘try it on me’ button on and off you go!
Fancy changing up your hair colour without using a bottle? L’Oréal’s virtual try-on tool lets you choose from over 100 shades of products at
Bobbi Brown offers a virtual online service for lip and eye products at They also provide online artists so you can chat to them for sound advice.
Arnotts and Brown Thomas invite you to virtually ‘try on’ make-up; both stores will have digital screens to allow people to ‘virtually’ assess how make-up appears on their skin.
While virtual shopping has become the new norm, I still think there’s nothing to beat the personal touch.
Remember, we really need to be supporting our local chemists, so please make them a first stop when you decide to buy.
They have a wealth of knowledge and really appreciate your custom. They also carry some wonderful product ranges.

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at