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Beauty Packaging Identity Trends

By: Aniko Hill
Posted: April 30, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Rock ‘n’ roll- and tattoo culture-inspired is one of the latest trends in beauty, and bled over from a trend that has been taking place in fashion for the past few years. Ed Hardy is one manifestation.

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In addition to designing packages to look like accessories, brands are also utilizing keepsake items attached to a more typical cosmetic package that serves as a bonus for purchasing the product. For example, in MAC’s new Hello Kitty Kouture collection, the lip gloss component sports a silver chain pendant featuring the character outlined in Swarovski crystals. This trend is seen in fragrance products as well—Clinique’s Happy has a floral pendant attached to the neck of the bottle, Juicy Couture has a gold chain and charms with elements of its brand identity, and Still by Jennifer Lopez has an imitation diamond ring integrated into the neck of the bottle. These take-away accessories make the product feel more special and remind the consumer about the brand—even after the life of the product.

Trend #5: Eco-friendly

With the recent rise in public awareness of environmental issues, it is impossible to ignore the trend of eco-friendly packaging in almost all industries. In the beauty industry, Cargo has been one of the leaders in innovating eco-friendly packaging. For its Oil Free Foundation, Cargo utilizes a lightweight squeezable pouch usually seen in less glamorous product categories. In addition to using less plastic, the pouch allows the user to access every last drop of the product, while also being hygienic and portable. Cargo’s Plant Love lipstick tube is 100% biodegradable and made entirely from corn-based PLA. The outer carton is made with biodegradable flower paper, and filled with real flower seeds that the consumer can actually plant.

In addition to using eco-friendly materials, companies are also rethinking the way their products are used and reused. Make-up designory’s empty palettes are constructed from paper, and are magnetized to hold eye and cheek color tins in place—eliminating extra plastic involved with single color containers and allowing customization for each customer.

Many of these materials are also seen in the beverage and home product industry, where packaging needs to be recyclable and where shipping weights are also a concern—with an eye toward lessening the company’s carbon footprint. Packaging that utilizes less plastic and features smaller labels to save paper is growing in number. Aquapax, a U.K. water product, and French Rabbit wines are packaged in paper cartons, which are recyclable and use less fuel to transport than glass bottles due to their lighter weight. In the home product category, Method is known as an innovator in this trend, not just through its packaging but with the products themselves. The nature-based, renewable materials are utilized—wipes are even made from bamboo—and lightweight pouches are used whenever possible on refillable items.

Trend #6: Rock ‘n’ Roll

One of the latest trends in beauty bled over from a trend that has been taking place in fashion for the past few years. With the explosion of rock ‘n’ roll- and tattoo culture-inspired brands such as Ed Hardy, Smet and Affliction, this look has now become an acceptable mainstream trend, and is being utilized in the beauty industry as well. There are several beauty lines with rock ‘n’ roll- or tattoo-inspired content and graphics, with packaging identities that feature hand-drawn typography, gothic black letter fonts and either bright colors or all-black to reference actual tattoo inks. Another visual cue used in this trend is the use of embossed chrome, reminiscent of exclusive fashion jewelry line Chrome Hearts. Rock & Republic, a denim company, recently launched a cosmetics line utilizing the chrome rock n’ roll jewelry aesthetic.