Written by Katherine Golovinova, Marketing manager of Allinpackaging creative packaging.

Packaging plays a great role in the branding of cosmetic products. The overall look of a cosmetic product is one of the most important determinants of its market appeal, besides its quality, of course. In order to find the right cosmetic containers, it is imperative to understand all the fronts on which packaging plays a significant role.

Firstly, the main purpose of packaging cosmetics into suitable containers it to protect and preserve the product. The right kind of packages can help the product in a desirable condition while it moves from the manufacturer to the retailer, and ultimately lands in the hands of the consumer. The packages must also be designed in a way to withstand the conditions they might encounter during their transportation and storage.

Cosmetic packaging must also be easy to brand. It should allow the name of the product, the brand, and other necessary information like composition, usage instructions and warnings to be printed as required. The containers should be designed in a way that they can allow the product to come out, but not go in. This is to prevent contamination. A good example of this is tubes. While tubes are very effective at preventing contamination, they are also easy to open. Ease of use and effective application of the product also go into determining the design of the cosmetics packaging containers.
Other than ease of use, another important element of cosmetic packaging is its pilfer resistance. You might have noticed that almost all cosmetics containers have a seal or a component which is broken when they are opened for the first time. These are important to ensure that the product is brand new and hasn’t been tampered with. Some containers like tubes have a piercing plastic edge in their caps which creates a hole in the mouth of the tube when it is opened for the first time. Larger containers such as jars may have a plastic or tin wrap under the cap.

At the business level, cosmetic packaging plays a very important role in the success of a product. The packaging of the product should be so distinctive that a consumer can easily spot it at the pharmacy or supermarket. This kind of shelf presence represents the value a brand creates for its customers. Therefore, the packaging must be chosen such that it reflects the overall significance of a product, while adhering to the color and design scheme of the brand as a whole.
The packaging also needs to be chemically inert. Since most cosmetics are nothing but chemical formulations, they have a strong tendency to chemically react with their substances present in their immediate vicinity. Most plastic containers are inert to such reactions. Metal containers might pose some amount of risk to their contents, but they are rapidly being done away with. While at one time a lot of cosmetics came in metal containers, for example talc, they are very rare to find since plastic became mainstream. The main stake in the shift from metal to plastic was durability. Since most cosmetic products are not entirely used in a go, but instead last for months, and sometimes years, their durability is a very important parameter. Whether a product is to be displayed on your dressing table, kept in the bathroom or in a make-up bag, the cosmetics packaging and the product it contains are expected to stay looking good. Packaging is also vital in enhancing the performance of the product; take for example aerosols.

Good quality plastic containers not only safe, they also allow for easy application, prevent contamination, and are easy to print with labels, etc. Choosing the right kind of plastic can ensure that you get the desired amount of flexibility while keeping durability in mind. A lot of cosmetics manufacturers are now investing in eco-friendly cosmetic packaging. This trend is going pretty strong in the UK, where cosmetics companies and top fashion design houses are opting for eco-friendly packaging choices for their cosmetic products. The trend picked up momentum after several studies established the harmful effect that plastic bears on our environment. Thus, in an effort to safe-guard our environment from the serious consequences that plastic can have, polymer companies are actively involving in research and development for new plastics that are bio-degradable, which still retaining all the qualities that are desired from packaging plastics. These plastics are also easy to recycle and recover, and do not contain any hazardous products such as Bisphenol A which are known to leach out of the plastic.
Eco friendly cosmetic packaging, also known as sustainable packaging, takes into account several aspects of the plastic’s lifecycle. It includes paying attention to fine details, such as where the raw materials are sourced from, to what extent do they impact the environment, and what are more environment friendly ways of procuring them. If possible, low-impact substitutes should be used. The amount of energy used in their manufacturing process, and how must waste they produce upon disposal are also important factors. Waste disposal is a very large topic in itself – covering all aspects of a product’s recyclability and ability for reuse.

While packaging is meant for the upkeep and safety of cosmetic products whether they are in transit or being used by you at home, it has a whole supply-chain of its own. Instead of minimizing the need for packaging, a lot of manufacturers these days are pondering over how to improvise packaging. This is important not only with regard to sustainability, but all the business approach of minimizing costs. Other than the manufacturers, consumers too are becoming increasing aware of how packaging impacts their use of a product, how it affects the environment, and how easy it is to reuse, recycle, and dispose off.
Combining all the above mentioned factors into one big picture can help one assess the requirements that a certain kind of cosmetic packaging material must meet – not only so that it is best for the business, but such that it is in harmony with the environment as well as the consumers’ expectations.

About the author
Katherine Golovinova is the Marketing manager of Allinpackaging creative packaging.
You can connect with her on Google+.

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