How to Choose the Right Packaging Materials for Your Beauty Products

How to Choose the Right Packaging Materials for Your Beauty Products

Packaging for beauty products is complex and the design journey starts with materials. Depending on the application and the market standards, meaning the level of technicity of specific products, a brand may be limited to certain options or may want to explore different routes.

Remember that packaging must protect the formula from external contamination and for mobility purposes, but it must also offer a specific consumer experience, a standard in our industry.

When looking at Packaging materials, you need to consider the following:

  • Which design / technical gesture it must offer

  • Which application/finished product 

  • Which consumer benefit do you want to highlight (gesture, ease of use, sensoriality, etc.)

  • Which market(s) will the product be distributed to

  • Which sustainability aspect do you want to focus on

     

Which design / technical gesture must it offer?

Consider a lipstick for instance. It should provide a flowing gesture, comfort of use and a luxury feel. The formula in itself must be protected so it doesn’t stain anything when transported into a handbag, for instance. The packaging must also offer some sort of sealing against the eventual rise in temperature, so the lipstick doesn’t leak. 

The packaging must offer a mechanism that helps the solid formula go up to reveal the lipstick and must allow application on the lips without risk of breaking. 

Sometimes with the use of a guided mechanism, where the lipstick is moulded precisely close to the shell for a smoother formula so the lipstick stays in shape. When formulas are a bit more rigid, the lipstick can be non-guided.

The other key aspect is the ease of application. If the packaging is too bulky it may be complicated to apply the formula to the lips. Lipsticks are usually applied on their own, without any brush or applicators so they must offer complete control over the gesture. This means the packaging has to facilitate holding and handling in one’s fingers.

All of the above suggests that the introduction of mono-material designs, made of aluminium, for instance, may be complicated depending on the market requirements and on the target formulation. For example, mono-material solutions don’t offer good sealing yet, so the formula may leak. Also, the mechanism may be less smooth.  Mono-materials solutions are coming up on the market, but R&D is still ongoing to fine-tune the offer.

At mPackting we offer refillable lipstick with a mechanism designed and produced by Albéa, well renowned and well-used in the industry, to provide our clients with our offering paired with the smoothest lipstick experience. They work smoothly with our offering.

Which application or finished product is it for?

We’ve talked about make-up applications: It must be easy, the gesture must flow and must be comfortable to use, while also being luxurious. In the beauty industry, it is all about indulgence and consumer experience.

When we look at other segments of the beauty market, whether fragrance, skincare or body care, the consideration must be the same.

Every Product should be convenient and enjoyable to use, while also being effective. Hence, the use of a material mix is sometimes necessary to produce specific parts (like pumps or dispensing mechanisms, for instance). We do believe in sustainability, and the customer experience must be prioritised.
 

Which consumer benefit do you want to highlight?

We’ve already touched on this when talking about lipstick, but if you want to offer an opulent and enjoyable gesture, or just simplified packaging to deliver the formula, the choices of materials will be dramatically different.

Is the gesture a common one in the industry, or something we need to create? Bear in mind that changing customers’ habits is really hard and may require a great deal of time and education through savvy marketing campaigns, so it may not be the way to go for a product launch. Depending on the complexity of the gesture, we may need to choose a multiple-material solution to achieve the result you are looking for.

Ease of use / Intuitivity

Another aspect we need to bear in mind is the ease of use. If the gesture is already well known, like using a spray for perfume, it may be important to keep a spray pump if we are willing to launch a new fragrance on the market. So inner and outer materials matter as well, and we may need to follow industry standards to achieve appealing results, (instead of reinventing the wheel). To summarize, innovation is key, but the choice of materials may be limited to current market standards until new R&D brings something new. 

Sensoriality 

Looking at sensoriality, the previously discussed points are important, but so is the overall aspect of the packaging.

This is when the outer side of the packaging can be interesting. With sustainability in mind, it will be more and more important to show consumers what the packaging is about. Using wood components for instance immediately conveys a message of naturality and connection to Earth. Depending on the decoration this aspect can be enhanced with even fragranced materials, or materials can have aspects where impurities or matter is exposed for specific touch and feel.

At mPackting we offer wood packaging, and also a biobased and biodegradable compound called mBlack™ that is compostable at the end of life. 

 

Which sustainability aspect do you want to focus on?

Once we selected our target market we need to approach the sustainability theme. Here are some different ways to successfully do so: 

Refill

We can decide to move to a refillable design to reduce the overall carbon footprint of your packaging by ensuring reusability. The mechanism, which is usually not recyclable, can be kept in the packaging, while the formulation can be changed at will and the outer packaging kept for reuse.

Low carbon material

Another option is to look at low-impact materials such as wood, charcoal, or biobased. mPackting has developed its own proprietary material, called mBlack™, that uses waste from the production of wood components mixed with a biobased material, making it mouldable. Wood-based materials instantly offer a reduced carbon footprint as well, while offering unique and desirable aspects to finished packaging.

Reducing waste

Looking at ways to reduce and use waste is paramount in today’s world. This can be achieved by reintroducing waste into the market, whether it’s with Post Consumer Recycling (PCR) or re-integrating production waste (like the charcoal in mBlack™). It is also important to make sure that packaging materials are recyclable so their waste can be reintegrated into the supply chain.

Recyclability

As we just mentioned, ensuring the appropriate recyclability of packaging materials is a necessary option when it comes to making choices.

Other options in the sustainability aspect or the technical aspect of your beauty product can be explored, as we hope this article provides some food for thought. 
 

To learn more about mPackting's innovative packaging solutions and our commitment to sustainable branding, feel free to get in touch.

Paolo Minelli
Paolo Minelli
Minelli Systems Director
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