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Cover Story: In Step

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: March 5, 2008, from the March 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“Cosmetic pencil chemists are concentrating more on the eye area, combining beneficial ingredients with fashionable colors,” says Linda Eisner, founder, pencil me in cosmetics, in speaking of looking for places to improve and pushing those advancements. “In the past, color was the primary concern and choices were limited. There was a time when I had to heat up my eyeliner pencil tip with a match to get an application of strong color.”

To that end, Eisner concentrated on developing a pencil brand with creamier formulations—to avoid point breakage and allow immediate “out of the box” application—and a wider range of effects and available colors to address more skin shades and tones. “These additional choices have enabled the consumer to further develop their individuality,” she says.

Pens: Advancements and Collaboration
The technology for manufacturing economically feasible (from a consumer standpoint) cosmetic pens was solidified in the 1980s, and flow-through pens and the re-imagining of applicator designs and options opened possibilities for
a wide variety of products, including cream eye shadows, liners and concealers.

As with pencils, cosmetic products are very adaptible to liquid-pen packages, particularly for eye products and spot-treatment products, according to Neuner. “Clinique currently has a pen-like liquid delivery system on the market, and several of [The Estée Lauder Companies’] brands are developing [a] similar package as well,” he says.

The success of pens, like pencils, owes much to the flexibility of applications, ease of use and consumers’ acceptance of the format—but development was not without its hurdles due to formulation interaction with complex mechanisms. Clearing those hurdles required the collaborative efforts of formulators and packagers, and allowed cosmetic pens to proliferate and better serve consumers at the same time.