Image: Manufacturers are moving beyond conventional formats and focusing on convenience. Photo: courtesy of Pierell


Colour cosmetics is a busy, hypercompetitive sector, with new brands, products, shades, and limited editions being launched every week. When presented with a multitude of choices, consumers often rely on packaging to make their decision. So how can packaging entice consumers to make the initial purchase, and, more importantly, convince them that a product is worthy of a repeat purchase?

Successful make-up launches of recent years deliver high on functionality, both in terms of the product formulation, and the method of delivery, in effect packaging. Growing pressure to look good at all times and the rise of the selfie culture means that some consumers will not leave the house without a selection of trusty make-up products. Brand owners are responding to this need by offering portable formats that facilitate on-the-go application, such as pen-style packs, twist-up ‘chubby’ sticks and customisable palettes.

Trends in the South Korean beauty market

"Beauty products are often presented in suitably cutting-edge packaging."

When looking for inspiration in the make-up sector, one can do worse than look at new (and existing) products from South Korea. South Korean consumers take their beauty regimes extremely seriously; approximately 79% of female consumers in South Korea say their looks and appearance are ‘quite important’ or ‘very important’ and consumers are not afraid to experiment.

Beauty products are often presented in suitably cutting-edge packaging, with a good balance of attractive presentation and functionality. The success of cushion foundation compacts (both in South Korea and on the international market) has prompted Korean brands to try and capitalise on the cushion concept by extending it to other categories, such as blushers and lipsticks.

But there are other, no less exciting, packaging formats and features that are yet to be discovered by the Western consumer.

Functional and on-the-go make-up solutions

"52% of females said they carried two to five beauty products when commuting."

Increasingly busy lifestyles often leave consumers with little time to get ready for work or a social event, which means that make-up applications are no longer confined to one’s home.

According to Canadean’s consumer survey of on-the-go personal care users, 56% of surveyed females said they used beauty/grooming products while commuting and 52% of females said they carried two to five beauty products when commuting. Meeting the needs of on-the-go personal care users are portable, slender packs that fit easily into a handbag, with built-in applicators to avoid having to carry make-up brushes.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Max lip pen is one example in this category. The pen-like format features a sponge applicator that sits against the lip colour, contained in a screw-on cap, in the closed position. As the pen is screwed into the cap, the applicator tip comes into contact with the lip color and the resulting pressure causes the spring-loaded inner cartridge to be pushed further inside the cap. When the cap is unscrewed, the sponge tip is preloaded with product, ready for application.

Other successful examples include the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear talc-free mineral foundation. It can be applied and blended with a built-it sponge applicator, which contains an antimicrobial agent to keep it “pure and safe.” The format is well suited for carrying in a handbag for travelling and touch-ups on the go as the applicator means the foundation can be applied straight from the pack, without coming into contact with the hands.

The Lady B Duo eyeshadow applicator pen is a leading example of packaging taking pen-like formats for on-the-go convenience. The pen features interchangeable shadow cartridges, which are sold separately. As the eyeshadow cartridge cap is screwed onto the pen, the applicator tip comes into contact with the compressed shadow. When the cap is unscrewed, the sponge tip is preloaded with shadow, ready for use. This all-in-one pen format is convenient for travelling and takes up less space in a make-up bag than conventional pots or palettes.

Challenging conventional cosmetic and toilet pack designs

"The benefits of the new format need to outweigh the time and effort it takes to get used to it."

In categories where things have always appeared the same, it often pays to go beyond conventional formats. Using novel, unusual packaging can add value by improving consumer convenience and by playing on their desire to experiment. In order for a product to have a lasting power beyond being a gimmick, the benefits of the new format need to outweigh the time and effort it takes to get used to it.

One example of boundary pushing packaging is the Peripera Cushion Blusher. Unlikely the standard compact case packaging associated with blusher, this product comes in a flexible tube format with a soft-touch, velvet-like applicator. The applicator tip allows the product to be spread evenly and blended in, so that the consumer does not need to use their fingers, making the process more hygienic. The product passes through three apertures and fleece-like fabric before appearing on the tip, so it is distributed evenly and ready for use.

New closure and delivery methods for nail varnish products increase ease-of-use

The nail varnish category has seen little innovation in terms of packaging over the last decades, with glass bottles being the format of choice, due to the chemically aggressive nature of the product.

There are, however, new launches that experiment with formats, closures, and dispensing methods. Apart from nail varnishes, complementary nail care products launched in the last few years open up new opportunities for packaging development. Jars with a product-soaked sponge inside are becoming common for nail polish removal and nail treatments, for instance.

One example of the value-added packaging approach is SpaRitual nail polish. The packaging features a combination of soft, rubberised elastomer material and horizontal grip ridges, which make the cap very easy to open and handle. The consumer can grip the cap very well and leverage for opening is much improved compared with the smooth surface of an ordinary, more rigid cap.

The rubberised grip significantly reduces the amount of slippage when handling the cap, making it easier to control the brush and apply the nail varnish neatly and to replace the cap after use.

To read the full report Adding Value Through Packaging: Make-Up; Using Pack-Track to identify pack formats and features that make a brand worth paying more for, from Canadean, please click here.

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