Case Study

central location testing: case study for a premium skincare brand


What happens when a premium skincare brand decides they want to reformulate one of their popular skincare lines? Will the new line be as well received as the original line? Will changing the line alienate current users? 

A premium skincare brand approached C+R to help them test their newly reformulated line with the goal of replacing the current line with the newly reformulated line. 


A high-end skincare brand has a loyal following of consumers who use their skincare line. One of their lines is quite popular, but they were interested in making a few changes that would improve on current users’ top complaints.

Prior to releasing the new product in the market, the team wanted to understand current users’ opinions of the new product. Specifically, the team wanted to evaluate aesthetics like texture, smell and feel on skin to see if current users liked the new product. And, they wanted to make sure launching this reformulated product wouldn’t alienate their current users. Ultimately, the team had to decide if replacing their current product with the new product would be a good idea. 


C+R conducted a CLT where current users were pre-recruited via a client-provided list and asked to arrive at the facility on a certain day and time. Respondents were given instructions before arriving, specifically, the type and amount of makeup that could be used prior to the test. Respondents followed prompts on a computer screen which told them when, and how to complete each step of the skincare line. After completing each step, respondents answered questions related to the step before moving on to the next. 

Since a line of skincare products was being used in real-time, additional thought had to go into the facility selected. The availability and appearance of bathrooms, along with adequate sink space had to be considered to ensure all respondents could use the products and no bottleneck in the interviewing process was caused. Once the facility was chosen, additional logistics needed to be considered and addressed, including:

  • Items that needed to be provided for the respondents to wash and dry their faces, 
  • Instructions on how to apply the products without contaminating them, 
  • Ways for the respondent to see what they were doing when using the products at their computer stations without continuously needing to leave the room 

Lastly, creative and visually appealing ways to display the supplies and products were devised to simulate a home-use occasion. 

The result

After conducting a Central Location Test (CLT), it was clear some aspects of the new skincare line were well received, while other aspects were disliked and could alienate a fair portion of current users. Additionally, advanced analysis was able to reveal which disliked aspects were alienating current users the most and, therefore, needed to be corrected before launching.  

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