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Without Compromise: The Intricacies and Innovations of Color Cosmetic Packaging

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

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With so many options in color cosmetics, staying on brand message is always paramount, but it also affords the chance to play with color, shape, finish, decoration and different elements that can attract consumers.

What to Watch

As to the colors, shapes, finishes and decoration that will be hot with consumers in upcoming months and seasons, it’s always changing, but there are some distinct trends on the horizon. “[Consumers and brands] have become more sophisticated and demanding,” says Dossin. “We constantly experience budget or masstige brands seeking to challenge packaging specifications previously only associated with prestige brands. Where innovative or high-technology materials, finishes and decoration techniques were previously only found in the upper tier of the cosmetic market segment, it is now standard practice for these aspects to be specified in the lower-tier or budget end of the market. Transparent, natural and ‘high viz’ bright colors are also increasingly evident as customers seek to gain increased shelf awareness.”

Wright comments on the tech trend too, saying, “Like the technology sector brands, sizing and portability is a hot consumer trend. Products are fitting in smaller packages while maintaining the same positive consumer experience. While mass mascaras have been playing with colorful primary packaging for years, we’re seeing the trend spread to other cosmetic packaging segments. The markets have moved beyond ‘soft touch’ and onto finishes—mixing matte and shine and new metallization looks. And working on limited-edition collections provides an opportunity to continually integrate the latest trends into the overall concept and packaging. This also provides a great vehicle to test both new product forms and packaging.”

Warford offers, “We’re seeing some trends in mascara. A couple years ago the trend was very big brushes, but now we’re seeing more requests for smaller brushes that can accomplish some of the effects that larger brushes did but are less imposing, especially for people with smaller lashes. Those big brushes are great for volumization, but if you have smaller lashes, they’re a little intimidating. We’re also seeing higher inquiries in the area of the eyebrow—brow brushes for brow systems.”

Warford continues, “In lip gloss, it’s about ease of application and an attempt to get as much bulk applied on a single pass or a single dip as possible. Another of the trends with lip gloss—and a number of other products—is that light sensitivity has become a concern for certain products, but yet people still want to see the bulk—they want to see the color of the gloss. We have developed a very innovative product called the 2C-Injection Blow Molded Bottle. We have commercialized this pack that has window lips where you can see the product through the vial. The vial is primarily opaque except for key clear areas where consumers can actually see the color of product, but there remains minimal light infiltration to affect the product.”

And while there is a lot of room for experimentation, there also are traditional ideas to rely on too. “Current cosmetic packaging continues to follow its historic trends. Pack shapes continue to be based in modern variations of round or square profiles,” Dossin says. “Additionally, black continues to be the most popular pack color, although high-technology variations (including metallization, UV color spray, anodization and soft-touch finishing) are used to increase quality perception.”

It’s about seeing what’s out there and developing something that fits your brand yet offers the unexpected. “At Amway, we follow trends in designs and shapes that the suppliers introduce to their stock portfolio of packaging,” says Morgan. “We are always looking for packages that feature new dispensing features or enhancement to the consumer. Innovation in the areas of new materials and decoration methods are of particular interest, as they give us the opportunity to customize the packaging to achieve the desired branding. This highly customizable segment is very conducive to creativity and limitless possibilities, which make it very fun and exciting to work on.”