Entering the new year, packaging innovation for beauty, as well as a high number of regionalized manufacturing moves, hasn't slowed down. Here, we round up the latest key trends, including refillable formats, a focus on ergonomics and upgraded manufacturing resources.
For many brands, the most sustainable packaging format is the one that can be readily recycled. To illustrate, SK Chemicals is partnering with The Estée Lauder Companies to supply materials for packaging that can be incorporated into a recycle stream.
SK Chemicals’ Ecotria CR and Skypet CR are reportedly based on chemically recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste, while its Ecozen Claro is a BPA-free semi-crystalline copolyester grade “offering a combination of great clarity and chemical resistance,” per the manufacturer. Advanced chemical recycling is a process that chemically decomposes waste plastic into monomers, the raw materials for plastic.
SK Chemicals and The Estée Lauder Companies will gradually increase the level of recycled materials in the consumer product giant’s products and replace other non-recyclable materials with designs that incorporate recyclable or recycled materials.
Ahn Jae-hyun, the CEO of SK Chemicals, said, “Through this agreement, we believe positive synergies can be created in both business and environmental aspects as SK chemicals, leading the circular recycling plastic technology, partners with The Estée Lauder Companies, leading the global cosmetics market.”
Meanwhile, FusionPKG has developed a recycle-ready Mix & Match glass collection that features various sizes and profiles as well as multiple cap designs and actuator styles (including certified recycle-ready pumps). A wide array of decoration options are available with the range, per the company. The range is manufactured at EcoVadis-recognized facilities that engage in waste-heat recovery, leverage energy-efficient technologies and more.
FusionPKG’s The New Prestige Collection of packaging for beauty includes monomaterial, double-wall airless and atmospheric glass pumps made from recycle-ready components integrated with Airless-One and Atmos-One pump engine technology. The 100% polyolefin pump engine technologies leverages the benefits of polypropylene to provide monomaterial, recycling-compatible, premiumized packaging without sacrificing aesthetics or performance, per the manufacturer. FusionPKG is also highlighting polypropylene in its dispensing offering to provide 100% PCR options and to increase recycling compatibility.
ICONS|ICS’ squeezy PE nozzle bottles can be produced in triangular, slender “easy squeezy” and sloped-shoulder styles, among others. The designs’ nozzle dropper applicators provide pin-point accuracy of application for formats such as oils, serums and treatments, while minimizing waste. The PE bottles are recyclable.
The Next Wave of Refillables
HCP’s Ringo Refill Jar features recyclable PET, PE and PP (PCR available). The design is available in a standard capacity of 50 ml and features a ring design that allows the manufacturer to significantly reduce its total material weight. In this format, the jar’s PP refill pod forms the base of the package. The pod locks into the outer shell with a click-fit within the recess of the outer jar. It can be released with an ergonomic push-out gesture from the underside. Brands can decorate the inner pod to display base label information.
The company also offers the monomaterial PET Dial Pressed Powder Compact, featuring an ergonomic twist-to-refill patented gesture. The compact, which can be produced using PCR, can be assembled by snapping together integral hinges to hold the product pan in place—without the need for glue. This design also ensures easy disassembly and refill for consumers with various ability levels.
The compact offers a mirror that can be removed (allowing the remaining parts to be placed in domestic recycling streams) or, alternately, integrated within the cover to reduce materials. The one-piece clear cover option offers easy shade ID for consumers.
In the lip sector, HCP’s Devotion Luxe Refill Lipstick features a click-and-use lock ring feature for the refillable mechanism, which twists up after assembly with base. The design includes PET parts that can be separated for recycling or which can alternately be produced using R-PET.
HCP’s Grafik Refill Eyeshadow Compact is designed with an easily replaced metal pan that houses the product formula. Furthermore, the design features monomaterial PET, allowing the pack to be placed into recycling streams at the end of its life—once the metal pan is removed. The compact can be molded with an accredited source of PCR PET.
The company also offers the monomaterial Harmony PET Refill Lipstick, designed to maximize recyclability. This cylindrical, transparent design features a cap, base and mechanism all made with PET.
Caudalie has adopted Lumson’s refillable Re Place glass jar for its Crème Riche Anti-âge Global from the Premier Cru collection. The anti-aging cream is housed in the packaging, which is 100% Made in Italy, due to the design’s mix of "luxury and sustainability,” per the company.
Once the cream is finished, the consumer can dispose of the spent inner PP cup through the appropriate recycling chain and replace it with a new PP refill.
The selection of the Lumson refillable glass jars reportedly saves Caudalie about 3.12 tons of multi-material packaging and 18 tons of glass every year.
Re Place’s inner cup, jar and cover can be customized and decorated with various effects; Caudalie’s project features lacquering and hot stamping in matte gold on the jar. The inner cup features a distinctive coloring, while the cover features an embossed logo.
New Refillable Inner Cups
Baralan debuted new inner cups for its refillable Maria glass jars at Cosmopack Asia in late 2023. The cups are available in two sizes and feature a new design that “balances user comfort with environmental responsibility,” according to the company. The inner cups can be manufactured in materials such as PCR.
Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie’s new water-based inner lacquering spray technique for glass bottles reportedly provides precise control over the bottle’s shape, depth and thickness, offering a distinct visual and tactile experience.
The water-based technique, which coats the bottle's interior, is free of carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to reproduction materials, as well as substances of very high concern and migrating pigments. The lacquering concept is therefore aligned with California Proposition 65 safety standards.
The spray application reportedly offers thorough coverage that accommodates the bottle’s specific volume and glass density. Critically, the lacquer prevents any fragrance transference, per Stoelzle, even with alcohol-containing products. This eliminates the need for an internal pocket.
The inner lacquering technique can accommodate various tones, from translucent to opaque, while also complementing various bottle shapes and sizes. It can also be paired with external decoration methods such as screen printing, hot stamping, digital printing and embossing.
In the future, the technique will feature an expanded color palette with precision shades.
Elevating Makeup Packaging
Amid a post-pandemic color cosmetic boom, suppliers have launched new solutions featuring sustainable, ergonomic and eye-catching designs.
ICONS|ICS works with clients to pair the right brush, wiper, stem, cap and bottle for mascara clients seeking to create lash volume, lengthening, curling, separation or an all-in-one. The firm’s array of brushes in various shapes and sizes include rippled, pointed, hourglass, tapered, angled, rounded and conical formats. The company also offers a 10.5 ml glass mascara bottle that features a stylish take on sustainability.
Among Brivaplast’s cosmetic packaging innovations are its applicators for mascara, brows and more.
First up, the company’s APP618 Double-S Drop mascara brush has the shape of a long and thin curved drop. Its inner wire’s double curves create an S shape that ergonomically mimics the lash line and envelops them from the base while applying formula. The concave portion of the applicator, meanwhile, acts as a reservoir for formula.
Brivaplast’s APP616 Mini Arrow brush for brow products features a small rhombus shape. The top conical section features short and long castor-plant-based fibers optimized to catch and comb the eyebrow fibers. The tip, meanwhile, allows a user to define the application on the inner corner and tail of the eyebrow, while the longer fibers are ideal to comb them.
The company also offers clear silicon applicators for the gentle and smooth application of makeup, particularly skin-friendly formulas.
Eco-friendly & Convenient
Brivaplast’s Makeup Squash features the company’s eco-friendly and naturally derived in-house formulas coupled with new sachet packaging systems that can assume a wide range of shapes, depending on the client’s specifications. This result is a high-performance and clean formula in an ergonomic sachet that can be “squashed” in the consumer’s hands, per the manufacturer.
Lower Carbon Mascara Pack
Brivaplast’s Refill Mascara package comprises an external reusable shell and an internal refillable part. The mascara bulk is held in a flexible polyfoil refill pouch that slots into an outer pack. Compared to two standard mascara packages, the carbon emissions of one complete Refill Mascara and one refill part are reduced by 25% (PCR material considered), per the manufacturer.
Italy-based Etitech develops holographic labels embedded in non-printable biaxially oriented polypropylene plastic or PET film that is treated with microprinted micro-optics that offer unique refracting and magnifying effects. This technique can be used to embed a logo, numbers, letters, symbols, etc. that can be seen with the naked eye with stereoscopic 3D depth. These 3D elements, once applied, cannot be tampered with, according to the company, nor copied or deleted.
Furthermore, surfaces treated with micro-optics can feature art applied by any printing technology. The non-reproducible holographic effect, therefore, offers a new tool for combating counterfeiting and ensuring product authenticity once the films are adhesive-ized and applied as labels or otherwise laminated for rigid and flexible packaging.
Packaging Supplier Upgrades
A number of supplier partners have enhanced their operations with new hires, corporate structures and certifications. Here, we round up some of the latest moves.
Monomaterial Tube Manufacturing & Sustainability Certification
ICONS Beauty Group has on-shored U.S. manufacturing at its newly acquired ICONS|America facility. The site supports the manufacture of injection-molded monomaterial PP tubes with “unlimited decoration and finishing capabilities,” per the company. The tubes are available with PCR and feature a reduced carbon footprint faster lead times for North American destinations. The production site leverages in-mold labelling (IML) technology, allowing brands to achieve photo-quality, 360-degree artwork, including matte, glossy, metallic and iridescent finishes, as well as hot and cold stamping, digital print, and flexography. The labeling method allows artwork to seamlessly extend over the shoulder of tubes without a halo, and to have a barely visible join line, per ICONS Beauty Group. The tubes are available in D35, D40 and D50 sizes, in round and oval shapes, with flip-top snap-on or flip-top screw-on caps.
ICONS|ICS has also earned an ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) PLUS certification in recognition of the company's sustainable, traceable and climate-friendly supply chain.
The certification aligns with the company’s key sustainability pillars, including the safeguarding of people and biodiversity, the upholding of international laws and treaties, and the desire to bring sustainable materials, products and services to the beauty and pharmaceutical packaging industries.
ICONS|ICS also holds an EcoVadis Platinum rating, is a member of Sedex and is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact.
“At ICONS|ICS, sustainability is not only ingrained in our daily operations but also our long-term business strategy,” said Yoann Brossault, director of supply chain. “Every year we strive to continue improving our sustainability performance throughout the supply chain. We do this by adopting a circular approach to the materials, products, and services we offer, reducing our environmental impact while also ensuring we meet the sustainability targets of our clients worldwide.”
Premium Label & Packaging Solutions (PLPS) has appointed Chris Payne as CEO and Leslie Gurland as VP of sales and marketing; both are charged with uniting the company’s eight locations to operate synergistically under the unified PLPS brand. (The companies that comprise PLPS are Luminer, Overnight Labels, Label Graphics., HP Mile, Label One and Privateer.)
Payne has three decades of experience, most recently with InterFlex Group flexible packaging, as well as Oracle Packaging, Printpak and Sonoco. Gurland previously spent five years at Lux Global Label and 17 years at Tadbik (home of Logitech). In her new role, the executive will expand the sales team and shift the organization's focus from selling as individual companies to selling from a unified PLPS platform. She will also lead the company’s brand and marketing efforts and collaborate on product development.
“Over the last few months, I’ve worked with Leslie and the legacy owners to unify our strengths to benefit our clients and employees,” said Payne. “We offer a unique value proposition that is sometimes lacking in the private-equity-owned world of today’s label and packaging mega-firms: the personal touch of a small business with the infrastructure of a large organization. This model allows us to offer an extensive portfolio of conventional, specialty, and custom products, outstanding service, and quicker turnarounds.”
“Having known or followed the original founders throughout my career, I’m thrilled to join the PLPS team,” said Gurland. “Our slogan is ‘Changing the Packaging Paradigm,’ and we are extremely focused on delivering just that. We are committed to maintaining the passion, creativity, and responsiveness customers want while continuing to grow the company in size and unique offerings.”
Expanded North American Manufacturing
FusionPKG has begun to highlight its North American manufactured packaging capabilities, offering near shoring for those engaged in the market as well as faster turnaround times and lower environmental impacts. The company’s capabilities include the production of airless tubes, airless pumps and sprayers made from recycle-ready PP and PET components, featuring airless technology with Aptar pump engines.