I know it’s an understatement but boy, how things can change in a fortnight. Exactly two weeks ago it was very much business as usual. There were mutterings about coronavirus ‘getting worse’, but you never really know what this means until it really happens.
And then it happens. I’ve been working from home since last Monday and it’s been a big shift. The PR emails range from completely ignoring the huge crisis in the world, which I’m hoping are lazy pre-scheduled email blasts, to those sending thoughtful emails about how best to communicate beauty news during these troubled times.
I understand their hesitation. But beauty can also serve as a distraction and mood-booster. For me, the mundane ritual of applying my skincare in the morning has a magical meditative effect. The many breathing apps I have on my phone certainly aren’t as helpful.
Of course, we’ve had to adapt and make the types of stories we are putting out there relevant. Beauty needs to feel practical. We can’t go out to get our hair colour done, we still want to shape our brows, we don’t know how to remove our gel nails at home, and we’re in the middle of some laser hair removal sessions… in the grand scheme of things these aren’t important but they’re relevant nonetheless.
More than ever, we are writing stories with real tips that can both cheer you up a little or help you in some way. In terms of pitch ideas from PRs, that’s what I’m looking for. What I’m not focusing on is trends, or anything that feels too throwaway. I’m certainly not writing about evening make-up, or holiday beauty, or bridal hair. It needs to feel newsy and relevant, and the tone has to be right. If you have a beauty story that’s about practical, kind-to-yourself products, or the fabulous way that your brand is doing their bit in this current crisis, I want to tell that story.
I’ve had a whole new wave of admiration for beauty PRs over the past week. For me to do my job properly there’s a lot of hands-on work involved. I hugely appreciate that brands are still keen to get their products on pages, and some continue to post samples if they are sending out a big batch.
What’s also been fantastic is that some launches that were due to go ahead over the past week actually did, but over Zoom or Skype. It’s been good to still speak to experts about new launches and pick their brains on new ingredients or formulations, or that new vegan face oil. Sure, it’s not the same as talking face-to-face but it’s a pretty good start, and shows how brilliantly adaptable the industry is.
More than ever I feel that we’re all in this together.