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Engaging Innovation in Beauty Packaging

By: Abby Penning
Posted: April 28, 2014, from the May 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

New ideas for beauty packaging can come from almost anywhere—the produce section at the grocery store, the interior of a car, the playground at a park… the list goes on and on. And packaging itself is important. As Eric Desmaris, business development director for Mega Airless, says, “[Brands] know that packaging delivers tremendous return-on-investment. It represents a critical brand touch point. Every year, in markets both developed and emerging, consumers get more sophisticated. The bar is continually raised in terms of how the package looks, feels, operates. No wonder the premium-type packaging once only found in the prestige brands is now regularly found throughout the personal care product spectrum.”

Here, we check in on new innovations from beauty industry packaging suppliers, as well as learn about how they are coming up with their new ideas.

Skin, Body and Hair

In packaging development across the beauty industry, and particularly in skin care, environmentally friendly options hold a growing sway. CCL Tube recently developed a hybrid tube that combines post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin and a sugar cane ethanol-based resin in a proprietary process that ensures the PCR material does not come into direct contact with the product. It also provides an increased capacity for decoration by extruding a sleeve with PCR sandwiched between two layers of virgin resin. And by replacing the virgin resin with bio-resin, a brand could greatly reduce the environmental impact of its product packaging.

In another eco-friendly approach, Moto Okawa, marketing manager for wipes company Diamond Wipes International, says, “Beginning this year, we had made a strategic shift to replace all our compostable 100% rayon wipe substrate materials with FSC- (Forest Stewardship Council) and Rainforest Alliance-certified papers.”

He describes that the drive for such decisions come from collaborative efforts between supplier and clients. “Oftentimes, the new innovative ideas are developed during discussions with our contract packaging customers, who are brand owners or brand marketers,” Okawa acknowledges. “In retail store brand and private label areas, our customers are becoming increasingly more demanding of suppliers to take on the role of an idea and thought leader. We also have an interdepartmental collective [form an] innovation task force responsible for researching, understanding and analyzing the current trends and project what is expected in the future and how the innovation can be packaged in a wipe form.”

Des McEttrick, market development director for beauty with Aptar, says of her company’s development strategy, “Our process usually starts with researching and predicting trends. Creative ideation sessions are born from that, and those ideas help us develop product concepts to address trends and unmet needs. Consumer testing follows to gather insights, which help us further develop concepts with meaningful value and also to tweak functionality and design. Once we’ve identified concepts that really offer a better consumer experience, then we begin working on launching.”

One of the new packaging products Aptar has developed through this process is the Serumony pack. “Serumony delivers precision and simplicity in an airless package,” describes McEttrick. “The minimalistic design offers an innovative way to dispense and apply delicate beauty serums, one-touch. With light pressure on actuation, Serumony provides the right dose of formula while reinforcing its hygienic properties. A drop of serum is dispensed directly onto the skin without ever touching the tip of the applicator.”

The “no-waste” attribute for beauty, and particularly skin care, packaging is a growing trend as well, setting up for more airless options. Mike Warford, director of sales for ABA Packaging Corp., which is the exclusive distributor of Promens personal care packaging in North America, notes, “Promens has expanded its AirFree product offerings to now include a unique, innovative airless jar package. Manufactured at Promens’ Barcelona facility, the Slidissime airless jar package combines the airless pouch technology with a flexible touch and slide pump.”

Desmaris also shares some of Mega Airless’s packaging developments, noting, “The differentiation in our all-airless solution portfolio can take the form of functional and aesthetic appeal. In the case of our swirl filling capabilities, it covers both. In addition, our hot stamping capability represents a fusion of the most desirable packaging characteristics for products with advanced formulations: the protection only the true airless pack can provide with the brand building decoration that differentiates and attracts consumers at the point of sale. And the Mega Airless + Gaplast’s Bag-in-Bottle solutions offer several compelling advantages. A defined fixing of the inner bag at the bottle’s bottom and neck results in less residue as the bag collapses. Further, the system provides efficient evacuation, reliability and production efficiency, thanks to fewer parts.”

Another packaging trend is premiumization, alluded to by Mega Airless’ Desmaris. In a similar vein, Damien Dossin, president of HCP Packaging USA, shares details about HCP’s Azure Jar, saying, “It is a thick-walled outer jar in glass-like PMMA, which offers no risk of glass breakage and an improvement in decoration capability with a top plate feature that can be embellished to carry a logo or be molded in transparent PMMA with a decoration underneath.”

Regarding body care products, Philip Brand, global marketing director of Lindal Group explains of a recent innovation from his company, “Our twist-lock actuator, Sunny, is quite exciting. It is an appealing new alternative for makers of deodorants and antiperspirants, sun protection and self-tanning products, among others. The Sunny has an attractive, ergonomic design, developed for easy actuation and high top-load resistance.”

And Carole Grassi, marketing director for dispensers for Albéa, shares, “Of course, advanced formulations require new levels of protection. Therefore, we continue to work on designs that protect against oxidation and drying. In addition, we are excited about our next-generation EZ foamer, the EZ’R, one of the first squeeze foamers on the market. This is a new [format] that consumers are taking to in a big way. Plus, it’s easy to customize, opens new design possibilities with its flip-top cap, and delivers new levels of differentiation. This is our squeeze foamer platform, perfect for facial care, sun care, body care and hair care products thanks to ‘EZ’ one-hand operation.”

Trends like eco-friendliness, no-waste and premiumization show up throughout beauty packaging, and not just in skin and hair care product packs. So, while knowing that particular trends may be more plentiful or seem to apply better in certain categories, it is always good to look across your product portfolio to see where trends can be cross applied—a true mark of innovation.

Color Cosmetics

Packaging for color cosmetics often sees a lot of unique innovation, as it is very different from the bottles, tubes and jars often used for skin, body and hair care.