Writing Product Descriptions, Labels & Web Copy for the Skincare & Beauty Industry
Do you have a hair care, skincare or beauty product you’re trying to sell but your marketing materials are less than, well, beautiful?
Maybe your product descriptions are not as enticing as they could be.
Or perhaps your web copy about the product’s unique qualities is less than riveting.
Beauty is a $532 billion dollar industry in 2021 and shows no signs of slowing down, already showing signs of rebounding after the COVID-19 pandemic. But to claim your slice of it, you’ll have to step up your marketing efforts.
A beauty copywriter, someone with experience writing about cosmetics, hair care, skincare, essential oils and hygiene products is one solution.
A pro can compose copy that establishes your brand and generates sales. He or she will know what words will be effective in getting prospective customers to reach for their wallet.
Or, if you’re a DIY type, consider writing beauty copy yourself using some of the suggestions below.
Before you begin marketing and writing copy, define your product line. The beauty and cosmetic market is well-established. And the dominant players are big-name companies with brands they’ve heavily invested in promoting.
So how can the little guy with a revolutionary skincare product but a limited marketing budget stand out?
What about the hair stylist who’s created a dry shampoo perfect for busy athletes?
Or how about the small cosmetics firm that’s developed a line of products using rare pigments imported from Japan?
Your best bet when you have a limited marketing budget is to pick a small niche, one that you can target with zeal. Fill a gap in the market that the big players don’t know exists or choose to ignore. Promote what makes your products unique to a specific audience you can identify.
“Identify a market that has been overlooked or taken for granted by larger, more established companies, targeting their promotion at consumers whose needs haven’t been addressed,” according to an article in Forbes on the future of retail in the beauty industry. “Those consumers are very receptive to the brand’s entreaties because the messaging is focused on what they’ve been looking for.”
Here’s a quick example. I once worked with a client who’d obtained the rights to a brand of moisturizers manufactured in Germany. The owner, who was German, had grown up using the products. She’d immigrated to the U.S. and couldn’t find the moisturizer line she remembered from home.
She’d managed to convince the German company to let her serve as their U.S. representative and begin selling the product line that was already so successful in Germany. My client knew she couldn’t compete with the dominant moisturizer brands already so established in the U.S. So she chose a niche market.
In Germany the bestselling product by that company was a skin moisturizer used by pregnant women to prevent stretch marks. We began promoting that specific moisturizer to our clearly defined market, expectant moms.
It wasn’t long before the client had developed a good following and was able to introduce more products from the German line. And today that skincare brand has carved out a significant niche in the American market.
Whether it’s a special soap, shampoo or moisturizer, beauty brands that sell directly to consumers without involving a retailer face multiple challenges. How can you make consumers aware of your brand if you don’t have the visibility of big-name brands that can afford costly advertising and can be found in retailers?
The way these new brands do it is by identifying a market that has been overlooked or taken for granted by larger, more established companies, targeting their promotion at consumers whose needs haven’t been addressed. Those consumers are very receptive to the brand’s entreaties because the messaging is focused on what they’ve been looking for.
Before writing any marketing materials to promote your beauty products, you need to know who you are targeting. Is it a teenage girl or a 30-something expectant mom? Or perhaps your product is for middle-aged men.
You’ll want to consider such factors as:
Once you have a persona in mind as your target customer, you can write beauty copy that speaks to what’s most important to that demographic.
Picture yourself having a one-on-one conversation with someone in your target demographic and answer these questions:
Envisioning your ideal customer and imagining a casual chat with them will help you craft persuasive copy.
Because you’re not selling in person, your written product description, whether online or in a printed catalog, must do the selling for you. To be effective, it must explain what problem it solves. A beauty-product description copywriter can help if you find you’re struggling with the verbiage. If you’re going the DIY route, try these tips.
Will your beauty product make the people who use it prettier, thinner, or younger? Tell prospective customers how this soap, shampoo or moisturizer will improve their life.
Selling false eyelashes or eyelash extensions? Be sure your copy mentions appealing features such as the lashes are multi-layered, lightweight, made of natural hair and designed to enhance all eye shapes. Describe how they provide length and volume to one’s own natural lashes to create a fuller, longer look. Who wouldn’t want that!
Make your product descriptions seductive. In promoting a skin care item, for example, you can tell your online visitors that it contains shea butter and essential oils. Or you can be the copywriter who pens something a bit more enticing like:
“This luxurious moisture-rich elixir is thick and creamy without being heavy or greasy. It quickly firms skin, erasing years in minutes. With regular use, your skin will look healthy, hydrated and satin smooth.”
Product descriptions must make the reader feel something. They must help her to imagine all the wonderful benefits she’ll receive from using your beauty product or cosmetic. Entice your readers with vivid imagery by creating a picture using the power of words.
The headline is the most important part of your written sales pitch for beauty products and skincare services. It’s the first thing prospects see and largely determines whether they stick around and read more or hit the back button. It serves as a hook, guiding them to the first sentence and beyond.
The headline starts the selling process but it can’t do the whole job. Beauty copywriters know they must give careful consideration to every word to keep their readers engaged.
Use interesting, thought-provoking language to create a picture in readers’ mind. Choose words that are consistent with your brand. If your products are upscale, words like “luxurious” and “elegant” might work. For hair products, talk about lush, full volume, healthy hair. If you’re targeting teens, you want words like “stylish” and “amazing.” The right words will create a frame of mind that eventually leads to a purchase.
Consider these compelling words proven to grab attention:
When you compose your sentences, write the copy as though you’re talking to one person and not the masses, i.e. “This product will make your skin feel soft” versus “This product will make everyone’s skin feel soft.” Also, choose “you” instead of a generic, third-person reference like “users” or “customers.”
Limit your use of jargon. Unless the visitor is likely to be familiar with the terminology, keep it simple.
Above all, be truthful. Nobody likes being misled. Enthusiasm is okay but skip the hyperbole (OMG! This is the best product ever invented!)
Give facts and details, not fluff. Convey enough information for your visitor to feel confident and enthusiastic about clicking the buy button.
In writing about beauty products, you’ll want to include the relevant features and specs. But don’t stop there. Also describe the benefits that result.
You’re not just selling a skincare or hair care product. You’re selling an experience–think of going to a spa–and giving them a taste of the desirable result.
It’s one thing to say that your product includes moisturizer. It’s another to describe how soft and supple it makes your skin feel.
When you appeal to people’s emotions, and tie your product’s features to benefits the customer can expect to receive, your copywriting becomes more engaging and memorable.
To make a product go viral, strive to achieve the following four elements in your marketing copy:
When writing about beauty products, almost as important as what your product has and does is what it doesn’t have. Consider a skin care product.
It’s important to mention that your product only contains ingredients that benefit skin health. An added plus is if your product is safe for even the most sensitive skin. If your product is made without colorants, perfumes, or oils that could be irritating to skin, be sure to include that information as well. That information belongs on your product descriptions and on your product packaging and labels.
Transparency-minded consumers are interested in what goes into their beauty products. They want shorter, simpler ingredient lists. Vegan skincare products (no animal-derived ingredients), non-toxic and cruelty-free products rule. Sustainability is also important. Customers want to know where your beauty products come from and how they are made.
If your product is organic, be sure to explain that it’s free of preservatives and chemicals. All natural can mean lots of things, so don’t hesitate to elaborate, using details that give evidence of your product’s purity and health benefits.
Mention where the ingredients come from such as “We use nutrients from the Moringa tree, long known for its miraculous, anti-aging properties.”
Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds a bit with statements that support the health benefits your products provide such as, “Our Moringa products are a superior, all natural source for health, beauty and wellness, containing more than 80 nutrients, 20 different antioxidants and 15 amino acids (including all 9 essential amino acids) and a range of vitamins and minerals.”
Above all, focus on your buyers. Educate them about the benefits of your beauty and skincare products in an easy-to-understand narrative on your marketing materials, packaging, labels and product descriptions. Address your customers directly and personally, as if you’re having a conversation with friends.
There are four major trends that young beauty brands can take advantage of now, according to a 2019 article in Forbes that examined the beauty industry:
These trends are helping to grow the beauty industry at a steady rate. Consumers, mostly women, are interested in exploring. They enjoy trying new products and discovering creative new brands, especially when they can post about them on social media like Instagram and Facebook. Figure out where your brand fits in today’s rapidly growing beauty industry.
Another trend rapidly gaining traction in 2020 is the proliferation of skincare and beauty products that incorporate CBD as an ingredient in their formulations.
Future Market Insights (FMI) forecasts the cannabidiol (CBD) skincare market to register a remarkable CAGR of 26% between 2020 and 2030. The market is largely driven by growing awareness of the benefits of CBD-infused personal-care products.
If you’re selling CBD skincare products, you have some unique challenges because many people don’t know about CBD. It’s new to them and a little bit scary too because of its connection to cannabis.
You’ll need to accomplish four main goals to generate sales for your CBD skincare products:
A CBD copywriter can help you achieve those objectives.
More brands have begun creating skincare products specifically for dark complexions. Many are black-owned, designed by women of color who recognized a void in the market.
When they couldn’t find products on the mainstream market that worked for their skin tone, they took matters into their own hands and created their own indie brand, often right in their very own kitchen.
Some of these brands have celebrity ties, such as Pattern, founded in 2019 by Tracee Ellis Ross, star of the hit TV sitcom, Black-ish. She started Pattern as a haircare brand catering to curly, coily and tight-textured hair, but is now expanding into skincare with her “juicy and joyful formulas.”
She says she is on a mission to celebrate “the joy, the beauty, the importance, and the power of Black women and people of color.” You go, girl!
Watch this trend grow as more brands catering to African American women and other dark complexioned ethnic groups gain traction.
beauty industry is far different than it was 10 years ago. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) beauty brands have exploded along with e-commerce, in large part enabled by social channels, email marketing and shoppable apps.
Those brands can promote their beauty and cosmetic products using grassroots means like social media and gain traction even with a limited marketing budget.
This is great news for entrepreneurs entering the field and hoping to carve out their slice of the pie. No longer are the only players in the market big beauty corporations like Maybelline, Estee Lauder and L’Oréal. The little guys, the mom and pops — nimble and innovative — can get in on the action as well.
So how are beauty brands owning the customer journey in 2020? Startups and small beauty companies that target tight micho-niches and focus on the customer experience are thriving. They’re using cost-effective marketing techniques, such as writing effective emails and social media content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to sell their products online.
Buyers are loving all the new choices. “Between social media, organic and paid search, and the rise of omnichannel, multi-brand retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty,” they have access to more beauty products than ever before.
Consider these beauty industry statistics and you’ll clearly see the potential opportunity in the numbers:
Ever hear great speakers deliver a presentation? They mesmerize the room with their interesting stories and entertaining anecdotes. You can do the same in writing about your products.
Stories sell. Because they seemingly give a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the product or its manufacturer, they are useful in forming a bond with customers. Consider crafting that story for your About Us page.
The story you write about your beauty product can be a great enticement and also establish credibility. Talk about the inspiration behind its creation or describe the obstacles overcome to produce this product.
Maybe you created a skin care product because of problems you had with your own skin. Or maybe you visited some remote village in Japan to learn the beauty secrets of geisha girls. Or perhaps you’ve designed a line of cosmetics for women of mixed ethnicity because you had trouble finding the right products for your medium-brown skin.
Or, like the example I mentioned in the beginning, maybe you wanted to introduce Germany’s best moisturizer line to Americans.
Telling your story will create intrigue about your product. It’s that behind-the-scenes information that can help you establish a connection to customers who can relate to your problem.
Social proof is one of the most effective selling tactics online today. Consider incorporating any and all of the following tools of persuasion into the marketing materials for your cosmetics, skincare or other beauty products:
Positive words spoken about your beauty products can be extremely effective. Your customers want to know who is buying your product and what they like about it. Let them share their stories, in which other customers may be able to see themselves and think, “Hmm, if this skincare product worked for her, then it will probably work for me!”
If possible, include photos or videos of the person speaking for your testimonials, endorsements and product reviews. Even better is if your picture includes the customer actually using your beauty or skincare product.
Visuals will attract the eye and add credibility to the positive reviews. Post positive feedback on your website and also incorporate it into your printed marketing materials.
In addition to the copy on your website, one of the best ways to promote your products is with a blog. Beauty blogs are some of the most popular blogs being published these days.
Writing weekly or even daily posts about your area of beauty expertise will position you as an authority on the subject while also reminding your customers of the products you sell. A blog can also serve as an excellent vehicle for introducing new beauty, cosmetic, skin care and hair care products.
However, be realistic in your expectations. Blogging isn’t a quick fix. A blog post or two will not cause a surge in revenue. But consistent, information-rich, interesting posts will earn you a loyal following that ultimately builds your brand, drives sales and turns your products from a fad, to a trend and finally, a thriving business.
Writing about your beauty products online has one key difference from any of your printed materials: it must be optimized for the search engines (SEO – Search Engine Optimization) so that it’s given prominent placement in search results. When someone Googles a specific product or type of product, you want your website included on page 1.
While that won’t always be possible – competition for page 1 can be stiff – you still should use SEO best practices to have the best shot at ranking high.
In your e-commerce product descriptions include the phrases and keywords your customers would be likely to use if searching for a product like yours.
Also use the most important keyword phrase in your headline, a subhead and body text. Reference it as well in your title and description meta-tags (located in the site’s programming). If you have photos, use it in the captions and alt tag too.
If you’ve decided to use the niche strategy mentioned at the beginning, be sure to choose long-tail keywords that speak to that customer segment, i.e. not just “moisturizer” but rather “moisturizer specifically for preventing stretch-marks in pregnant women.”
A good beauty copywriter with SEO experience should be able to incorporate the target keywords into the copy without sounding obvious. Remember, while SEO is important, your prospective customers and what’s important to them should always come first.
The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but FDA laws and regulations apply to cosmetics with regard to labeling.
Improperly labeled, misleading or deceptively packaged products can get you in serious trouble. For that reason, you want to be sure to work with a copywriter who understands FDA and FTC compliance.
The Personal Care Product Safety Act, introduced in 2017, gave the FDA more power to regulate ingredients and ban toxins in cosmetics and personal care products. Having these regulations in place has forced many beauty brands to rethink their approach to formulating and also marketing their cosmetics.
A beauty copywriter who knows the FDA guidelines can help you create compliant labels and packaging for your cosmetics. She can ensure the copy is compliant with regulations but is also effective in helping to sell your product.
One more thing to keep in mind, unless you carry only one type of product, your labels are going to need some customization. Common containers include:
To accommodate different containers, you’ll need labels of different shapes and sizes. “While you can certainly use the same color scheme, font choices, and other design details for each container, you’ll want to make sure that you adapt your branding and any legally-required information to the various label shapes needed for every applicable container,” according to Blue Label Packaging Co.
Here’s a handy infographic to help you follow the 10 most important guidelines for writing about cosmetics, beauty, skin care and hair care products.
Writing about beauty products can be challenging. You want to strike the right tone for your brand and present your information in a compelling, but sincere way and answer the questions that prospects are likely to have.
Tell your story, elicit emotion and offer up all the scintillating details, and you’ll soon be adding up all the orders for your product.
If you lack the time, desire or ability to write your own beauty product marketing copy, there is another option. Consider hiring a freelance beauty copywriter (or someone in a more narrow beauty niche such as vegan skincare copywriter or organic skincare copywriter) who can provide skilled assistance in writing words that sell. The money you invest in professional beauty copy should give you a positive return on investment.