Beauty copywriting tips: “how to use”

Why every word in beauty copywriting matters

Any words used on any bottle, jar, tube, tin, or box should be well-considered and thoughtful. Some beauty copywriting is purely functional: they list ingredients, suggest how to use the product, and provide manufacturing details. Most copy exists to make consumers purchase it: they describe benefits, points of difference, who it’s suitable for, and why they’ll look or feel the best they ever have if they use it. But if the words on the packaging don’t match the actual attributes of the product, it’s likely to cause some confusion.

It’s not the most exciting part of your brand’s copy strategy, but nailing the intended use or how to use copy is a great way to prevent customer service headaches, and ensures the product experience is an enjoyable one.

When the copy doesn’t match the reality

As an example, someone might want to use a glycolic acid exfoliating cleanser to minimise the appearance of blemishes and uneven skin tone. The tube is 200ml, the brand recommends using a pea-sized amount once or twice a week, and it expires in 12 months. Following these instructions, each use would measure around 2ml (the average weight of a garden pea is less than one gram, if you’re wondering), so there would be 100 uses in this tube. If someone uses it twice a week, they can probably finish it before it expires.

However, they may want to reduce the amount they use it. Perhaps their skin doesn’t tolerate using an AHA more than once a week, or they have other exfoliants in their routine that they like to cycle through. By simply using it once a week instead of twice, it would take them closer to two years to finish it: but remember, it expires after 12 months.

This might all seem pedantic, but it pays to be specific when it comes to the wording on packaging. It’s difficult to predict how a consumer is going to interpret your instructions, so it’s important to leave no room for doubt.

Beauty copywriter recommendation

The best way to ensure the how-to copy on your brand’s beauty product holds up is to put it to the test. Present trusted friends, family members, or colleagues with your draft how to use copy. Without giving them too much context about the product, let them read it and ask them to tell you how they would use your product. This is especially helpful for multi-step products, where there’s a greater chance of misinterpretation.

Not only will this help to reduce the number of flustered customer emails you receive, but it guides the consumer on their product journey using your brand’s voice. In a relatively new trend, some brands are making their intended use copy more casual and conversational, transforming practical details into a branded moment. When it’s executed well, it is a really clever way to make a brand stand out from the rest. However, it shouldn’t be done at the cost of clarity. Like how the best service at a restaurant goes unnoticed, and your copy shouldn’t require much effort to read and decipher.

Amy Hadley

Amy Hadley is a beauty copywriter with a background in print journalism, digital media, public relations, and eCommerce. As someone contributing to the beauty industry, she encourages her clients to use words creatively, sincerely, and responsibly. This is to promote more honest and thoughtful communication in the beauty industry, and better serve its consumers.

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