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Engaging Innovation in Beauty Packaging

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

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For example, Sandra Hutson, sales and marketing director with Topline Products, explains, “Two packaging innovations by Topline immediately come to mind: L’Oréal’s EM Life Palette and Maybelline’s Color Elixir lip balm. The EM Life Palette reflects the lifestyle of today’s high-tech, demanding makeup consumer. The packaging is super practical but stylish, with a shape and size inspired by tablet computers. The package is also exciting for its technical achievements. The compact comes with magnetic closures coated in white to match the package’s white base platform. The closures are so precisely fixed into the compact that there are no visible adhesive marks on the clear, transparent surfaces. Moreover, Topline perfectly executed the precision placement of the compact’s lid graphics. The label edges are completely invisible, with absolutely no surface imperfections. The whole effect is that the finished palette feels, and looks like a piece of luxury craftsmanship.”

For the Maybelline Color Elixir lip product, Hutson notes, “Topline produced an elegant but colorful package, mixing transparency, color, shine and quality to make the product stand out from the competition and encourage point-of-purchase buying. With its thick-walled base and anodized, shiny silver metal cap, the Maybelline package has the look of a chic lipstick, but it’s the package’s see-through color that really captures the consumer’s attention. The transparent packaging is part of a modern, fun, exciting design that gives an eye-catching splash of color to store shelves with its striking array of 20 lip shades.”

In color cosmetics, allowing consumers to see the actual product is a big trend, helping them better identify colors they like and want to purchase instead of solely relying on labels. Warford, who notes that ABA Packaging Corp. is also the exclusive North American distributor for OekaBeauty packaging solutions, shares, “OekaBeauty has developed a two-component, blow-molded lip gloss vial in conjunction with its manufacturing partner Inotech. Known as the 2-C program, the patented molding process enables them to produce high-end, injection blow-molded lip gloss vials with a molded-in see-through window design. The consumer can now see the color of the gloss through the ‘lips’ window, while the opacity of the rest of the vial protects the formula from unwanted light infiltration. And OekaBeauty and Inotech hope to take on custom projects to provide other clear window images.”

Bringing this type of innovation out to other color cosmetic products, Jessica Cahalen, director of marketing for Fusion Packaging, says, “We launched our patent-pending Scene bottle this year, which features a shatterproof, clear and glass-like shade base that is ideal for foundations, primers, tinted moisturizers, alphabet creams and formulas with unique coloring. Brands are showing interest in the bottle because it disguises formula separation, has a large area for branding, and the base shows the shade while on display.”

Fusion Packaging’s creative director Alexander Kwapis expounds further on the development of the Scene package, saying, “The design for the Scene bottle stemmed from our goal of solving a problem with current foundation packaging on the market. We wanted to create a package that hid formula separation common with these types of color products while still allowing consumers to preview the shades while on display or at point of sale. We visited retailers and looked at current packaging for lip gloss that featured shade buttons, and we really liked that design.”

Kwapis goes on to describe how Fusion Packaging developed Scene to overcome industry challenges, noting, “Our solution was to combine two resins, PP and PCTG. The innovation with Scene comes from the way we attached the bottle portion of the package. Because PP is more flexible and PCTG more rigid, combining the parts to form a leakproof package that doesn’t crack when dropped was an obstacle, but one that we overcame. The result is a lightweight, single-walled atmospheric bottle that is highly customizable.”

With the range of colors to be experienced in this category, customization is definitely a key trend in color cosmetics. To meet such needs, World Wide Packaging’s executive vice president of global sales development Jim Farley notes some of his company’s innovations, including “a multi-use compact line with interchangeability both for products and aesthetics, and also a very new lipstick case design that is very innovative.”

HCP Packaging’s Dossien also notes how the premiumization trend is incorporated into color cosmetic packaging. “HCP recognizes the allure of metal as the eternal trend for premium finishes,” he says. “That’s why we’ve developed Magnum, a high-quality, aluminum stock range incorporating strong shapes, sleek contours and unique decorative possibilities on a range of components, including compacts that feature hidden magnetic opening systems, lipstick and mascara.”

Additionally, Sari Sternschein, director of marketing for Qosmedix, provides insight on how larger beauty trends are affecting cosmetic packaging development. “We’ve recently seen an increase in the number of companies offering glitter or loose pigment eye shadow formulas. But if you have ever worked with loose powder, and especially glitter, you know it can be extremely messy,” she says. “Traditional sifter jars just don’t keep the glitter contained well enough. So we developed a clear sifter jar in two sizes that has a flip top cap, similar to a spice jar. The sifter has its own lid, and its grooves fit into the sifter holes, securing the product inside. It also comes with a black cap, completing the package.”

Once again, being able to shift innovations between beauty categories and even entire industries helps packaging—and thus brands and products—stay new and fresh in consumers’ eyes.


Fragrance is another beauty category that has unique packaging needs. Often set within the luxury and prestige realms, fragrance packaging often incorporates more expensive materials and typically strives to be incredibly visually engaging.

As such, SGD North America’s vice president of sales and marketing Sherazade Chamlou says, “There’s still a lot of innovation going on in the decoration side.” Offering the example of the CK One Summer scent for 2014 from Coty, for which SGD and Coty collaborated on the packaging, Chamlou explains, “This year, the notes are grapefruit, lime and lemon, so it’s very, very summery. And on the side of the bottles, the spray is shaded differently. Overall, the bottle is a yellow-green shade, and on the side is a vertical spray. This is the first time we were doing a vertical spray, which has a partial gradation, and this needed specific tooling and lots of trials in order to achieve the look.”

The many trials prove SGD’s willingness to work with brands in order to get a product’s packaging just right. “The clients are definitely pushing the envelope and coming up with challenging designs, things that we haven’t done before, which pushes us to push our teams to actually be able to do what the client’s design brief is looking for,” Chamlou says. “On the other hand, we have our trends presentation that we do every year, and in the trends and innovation [section], we actually do propose to our customers a new decoration technique that we haven’t even produced yet. Like the Taylor Swift Wonderstruck. It was a hologram spray, and it was something that their art and design team had seen in our trends presentation.”

Suzan Kerston, executive vice president of Bert-Co, shares a secondary-packaging innovation from her company. “Sher-Loc is a great high-end package alternative made entirely from paperboard with a unique self-closure device,” she says. “Upon opening and closing, you feel and hear a ‘click,’ but without costly magnets or Velcro. It’s completely customizable and works with anything from small fragrances to larger gift sets.”