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Beauty Packaging at the End of Permanence

By: Sarah Hoit
Posted: July 10, 2013, from the July 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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InCycle from MicroGreen Polymers, Inc. goes to the extreme, decreasing weight in something already lightweight, the thermoformable film used for food packaging and beverage cups, tubes and labels. What could be done to lighten something already so tiny? Like the design of bottle caps, incremental improvement is the goal. Although they have smooth continuous surfaces on the front at back faces that typifies films, the inner layer of these films are foamed, incorporating air and removing polymer from the center.

Manufacturing

The aforementioned materials cut product weight by cutting material—physically using less. However, there are other novel ways to get more from less.

Modular systems allow for personal customization and the elimination of excess by allowing brands’ product to carry only what they need with them. Single-use packets and disposable containers are a great way to take a much-loved product along for the day. A new converting technique allows for design freedom and user ease at the most primary level, taking “Tear Here” and turning it into “Tear Anywhere.”

For example, Magic Cut perforating technology from Asahi-Kasei Corporation creates uniform perforations in the sealed edge of a film packet, making tearing the pack open possible at any point along any of the sides.

The Wave of the Future

Providing the modern consumer the products they want and need is one thing, but in beauty, packaging is part of the product and can contribute more than a pretty face to its contents. Exceptional packaging that judiciously utilizes material selection and manufacturing processes to further design possibilities can support portability, customization and functionality in light of customers needs.

Getting everything they want is something the consumer has grown to expect. There is suddenly very clear value in the reduction or elimination of everything they don’t.

With a masters of science from the North Carolina State University, College of Textiles, Sarah Hoit has been a materials scientist at Material ConneXion since 2012. Her specialty in nonwoven textiles, liquid repellency and polymers have brought her to be part of consulting projects with Fortune 500 companies and to assist with library research for the sourcing of materials that are included into the worlds’ largest library. Hoit has also been invited as presenter for the Innovation Summit at MIT Media Lab, discussing “Obake System: Garment/Habitat through multifunctional design and Green Chemistry” and has been a student presenter for the graduate seminar “Base of the Pyramid Marketing for Sustainability.”