Mini Size, Max Impact? Explore The Lure Of Minis In The Beauty World

Size really does matter, and in the case of makeup, the smaller the better!

Published On Mar 29, 2024 | Updated On Apr 02, 2024


Ever heard the saying ‘Good things come in small packages’? Well, this is certainly true for miniature-sized products that have taken the beauty world by storm. Ask any beauty and skincare enthusiast and they’ll be able to list out many of the minis they’ve purchased. Be it makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrances – they’ve all got takers aplenty when it comes to mini sizes. 

We spoke to experts from the beauty industry to understand why minis are becoming more and more popular and flying off the shelves and into carts like never before!  

Homegrown beauty brand SUGAR Cosmetics, for example, has successfully introduced minis for product ranges like their Matte As Hell Mini Crayon Lipstick, Smudge Me Not Mini Liquid Lipstick Set and Contour De Force Mini Blush. Vineeta Singh, co-founder and CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics, says, “At SUGAR, we’re obsessed with reaching as many beauty enthusiasts across the country as possible and minis and travel-size products give us a strategic bridge to expand our accessibility across demographics.” 

She lists all the reasons why she thinks minis work, saying, “The approach of introducing minis broadens the brand’s reach, making quality products accessible and portable for on-the-go lifestyles. Minis serve as effective marketing tools, fostering brand loyalty and boosting sales through gifting and sampling. In essence, minis offer brands increased market penetration while providing customers with budget-friendly, convenient, and accessible beauty options.”  

Singh also adds that the increasing demand for travel-sized products and the rising popularity of on-the-go beauty routines are some of the key factors driving the growth of this market. “The pandemic has also led to an increase in the trend of minis as now everyone who likes to carry their makeup everywhere with them prioritizes their safety and hygiene while commuting,” she says. 

A spokesperson at Unilever-owned Dermalogica, which is a professional-grade skincare brand, adds, “Minis are also a great way of introducing new products to customers. Dermalogica customers love our minis – the Daily Microfoliant is our bestseller. It allows an easy way for a new customer to try the product or new format – in our case a powder exfoliant – before committing to a full-size product.” The brand repeated this success when they launched their newer facial scrub, the Daily Milkfoliant just last year and again offered it in two sizes – a full-size 74g one and a mini at 13g.

Brands and even retail giants like Sephora have also created mini sampler sets and kits featuring multiple mini products and these have found many takers as it gives customers a chance to explore several products in one go, at probably half or one-third the cost. 


If you’ve ever invested in a high-end full-size product that unfortunately, didn’t work for you or your skin type or tone, you know the heartbreak that comes from having spent big bucks on it. That’s also where minis come in – they also allow you to sample luxury or premium products without burning a hole in your pocket. Case in point being a premium brand like Estée Lauder that has introduced its bestsellers in mini sizes like their much-loved Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup foundation and the Advanced Night Repair serum; the latter retails for INR 12,200 and ‎INR 9,000 for the 75ml and 50ml bottles respectively, but in comparison, its mini 7ml bottle is priced at only ‎INR 1,450. 

A spokesperson at Tira, the Reliance Retail-owned omnichannel beauty retail platform, says, “Mini-sized products are a game-changer in the skincare and beauty industry, bridging the gap between luxury and budget brands. In a market like India, where luxury makeup can be a splurge, minis offer an affordable entry point for consumers to experience premium brands without breaking the bank. They’re perfect for those who are new to luxury beauty, allowing them to experiment with different products and discover their favourites. Moreover, minis are a fantastic way for new brands to make their mark in the Indian market by offering trial sizes that showcase their value proposition.” 

They add, “Introducing mini-sized products is like opening the door to a whole new world of beauty possibilities. These petite powerhouses offer a myriad of benefits for both consumers and brands alike. For starters, they provide a more accessible entry point into the world of luxury beauty, especially in a market like India, where price can sometimes be a barrier. Miniatures allow beauty enthusiasts to dip their toes into premium brands without diving in headfirst, making it easier for them to explore and discover what works best for them.” 

Mini-sized products are not only meeting customers’ immediate needs but also laying the groundwork for future brand loyalty, the Tira spokesperson points out. We’re talking repeat purchases. “When customers have the opportunity to try out a product in a smaller size and experience its benefits firsthand, they’re more likely to develop trust and a stronger connection with the brand and become repeat buyers,” they say. 

SUGAR’s Singh and the Dermalogica spokesperson both reiterate this saying that a significant portion of their consumers upgrade to buy full-sized product in subsequent purchases after trying the mini versions. 

Of course, while samples are mainly given away to customers free of charge so as to try a product, that’s not the case with minis. But we wonder if sampling, or those little sachets, have been largely replaced by minis?
The Tira spokesperson says, “There’s been a noticeable shift from traditional sampling sachets to mini-sized products in the beauty industry.” They point out that while sampling sachets serve their purpose of providing a small taste of a product, they often fall short in terms of usability and convenience. “Mini-sized products, on the other hand, offer a more substantial and practical experience. They provide enough products for multiple uses, allowing customers to truly estimate the efficacy and compatibility of the product with their skin or hair.”  

Echoing this thought, the Dermalogica spokesperson says, “Minis offer a more sustainable and reusable option for customers to try out products multiple times before deciding to purchase the full size.” Dermalogica minis, for example, last 4-6 weeks, meaning a customer can see real, long-lasting results on her skin. They add that while sampling in sachets still has its place in the industry, but these mainly work as an add-on for cross-selling new products. “We use these effectively to drive retail sales by sampling with our treatments or along with our bestsellers.” Additionally, for those who aren’t as regular with usage, they also make a valid point saying minis also allow customers to use up the products before its expiry date as compared to full-size products. 

But SUGAR’s Singh opines, “Sampling and sachets retain significance, particularly for expensive or high-value products.” She states though, that a rising trend since 2019 points towards the popularity of minis, offering consumers a convenient and portable way to explore new products. “Beauty brands are increasingly packaging smaller versions, addressing concerns about product costs and shorter expiry dates. These smaller packs not only reduce product expenses but also expand sales outreach, especially in tier II and III cities. Convenient for travel and appealing to a broader customer base, minis serve as an enticing option for new users, including students. The choice between sampling, sachets, and minis hinges on the product, target audience, and consumer preferences,” she says. 

Lastly, it would be crazy to ignore this cold, hard fact about minis – they’re downright cute! “There’s something about the appeal of a travel-sized skincare and makeup or a cute accessory that customers just can’t resist,” the Tira spokesperson confirms. In fact, you could own a full-size lipstick or balm tub but still want the mini version because of how ‘cute’ it looks and feels in your palm or on your vanity. 

Cuteness has a direct connection with size, and small things are considered cute. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole science behind this called ‘the psychology of cuteness’. It’s just the way our brains are hardwired. Think about it babies aka tiny humans, or even kittens and puppies for that matter, usually elicit squeals. Believe it or not, seeing tiny things that are cute release oxytocin or the love hormone, and dopamine, aka the happy hormone, in our brains. This goes beyond cutesy babies and sneezing puppies, and also applies to all things that are tiny. Just scroll through comments on Instagram reels on miniature food or miniature art to know what we mean. It’s no wonder then that mini makeup and beauty products are getting the same kind of googly-eyed reactions.

Be it cost, convenience or cuteness, one thing is for certain mini-sized products are a win-win for everyone involved, making beauty more accessible, affordable, and exciting for all.

Photo: Shutterstock; Featured Brands