Are your expensive cosmetics in the right bottle?

The essence of the beauty and skincare industry is the development of safe and efficient beauty products for its consumer’s Beauty and skincare brands are required to disclose information regarding the hazardous ingredients contained in their beauty or personal care products. This disclosure maintains complete transparency between the manufacturers and purchasers. But this disclosure is limited to the products, not the packaging. Remember that toxic chemicals lurk in a product’s ingredients and the bottle it comes in.

Read more: Useful Nighttime Skincare Routine: All You Need To Know

Consumers will choose a product with hygienic, easy, convenient, and durable packaging. We want recyclable, refillable, and functional designs that are handy, appealing in the eyes, and can protect the product. This article will educate you about the package classification, types of cosmetic packaging used by the brands, their key features, and their pros and cons. 


Packages may be classified according to function, a common property, the materials they are made up of, or their contents. It is sometimes convenient to categorize packages by layer or function: “primary”, “secondary”, etc.

  • Primary packaging is the material that first envelops the product and holds it. This usually is the smallest unit of distribution or use and is the package that is in direct contact with the contents.
  • Secondary packaging is outside the primary packaging, perhaps used to group primary packages together.
  • Tertiary packaging is used for bulk handling, warehouse storage and transport shipping. The most common form is a palletized unit load that packs tightly into containers.

In this article, we will focus on primary packaging. 

Types of Primary packaging material used by beauty and skincare brands

The personal care products are designed for the grooming and adorning of their consumers. These products are packed in a creative manner using material that falls into three major camps which include glass, plastic, and metal. 

Plastic Cosmetic packaging 

Plastic packaging is one of the most used materials by skincare brands. The reason behind it is the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of plastic. There are endless options like

  • PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate): PETE is extremely popular in cosmetics due to its resistance to damage, low weight, and flexible finishes. It can be recycled once and is made transparent, frosted, or opaque which makes it suitable for most cosmetic formulations. 
  • HDPE (High-density polyethene): HDPE plastic is strong and highly durable, and can be reused and recycled. It is suitable for most cosmetic formulations.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl chloride): PVC is lightweight and able to withstand varying temperatures and conditions, it cannot be easily recycled.
  • PP (Polypropylene): PP is light, rigid, semi-transparent, and resistant to temperature variations. In addition to cosmetic containers, PP is commonly used to create cosmetic lids, caps, and seals. PP can be recycled and generally re-used.
  • PS (Polystyrene): PS applications in cosmetics are mainly for outer packaging purposes, such as packing fillers or protective cushioning. PS breaks easily and is designed to be disposable. It can be difficult to recycle.

These options are formulated using various physical and thermal processes to fit different budgets, formulations, styles, and tastes.

Pros  Cons 
Portable  Environmental impact as plastic is hard to dispose of and can also cause serious health effects due to the toxins and pollutants it can release during usage and disposal.
Cost-effective The surface of the plastic containers is easy to pollute 
Durable  Low transparency 
The packaging containers decay over time, especially in the case of essential oils

Metal Cosmetic Packaging

Metal Cosmetic Packaging offers an elegant, premium, and sleek look as they are made of metal. Aluminium, tin and lead are the most popular choice of skincare brands and customers as they are lightweight, user-friendly, and cost-efficient. Metal is less fragile, non-toxic, and can effortlessly melt and reuse. They can endure sturdy transportation and storage conditions that making metal packaging a favourable choice for skincare and cosmetic brands.

Read more: Are Your Skin-Care Products PH- Appropriate?

Pros Cons
Durable  Possibility of a reaction with the product, though there are inert metals like Aluminium, tin, and lead. 
User-friendly High Thermal conductivity 
Less-fragile Most metals are corrosive except Aluminum 
Recyclable  Manufacturing metal packaging is time-consuming
Cost-efficient Lack of transparency hence, consumers can not view the container’s inside

Glass Cosmetic Packaging 

Glass containers are one of the most preferred choices for luxury or high-end skincare brands because of their crystalline appearance. These containers are available in frosted, transparent, and tinted finishes and are suitable for beauty and skincare products, candles, fragrances, personal care products, and makeup. Glass containers are recyclable and safe because of their chemical inertness. Cosmetic and skincare brands prefer glass packaging over plastic or metal packaging due to concerns over BPA exposure. 

Pros Cons
Aesthetic Expensive
Environment-friendly Heavy
Zero rates of chemical interaction  Fragile
Transparency  Not highly impact resistant
Rigid and brittle 

Wood Cosmetic Packaging 

The beauty sector has also started preferring wood because of advantages like versatility, long-wearing and favourable production costs. Many luxury and high-end brands are using wood to add an essence of aesthetics and prestige to their products. Wooden packaging is eco-friendly, sustainable and durable due to which it has become a tending option among cosmetic brands. 

Pros  Cons 
Can be reused, greatly reducing the waste of resources. Lack of transparency hence, consumers can not view the container’s inside
High strength and good rigidity  Cost inefficient 
Strong corrosion resistance. Heavy 
Good elasticity and high impact resistance Wood also sometimes has a smell to it that can be bad for the products that are inside.
The appearance is exquisite

Types of Secondary and Tertiary Packaging used by beauty and skincare brands

The secondary paper packages usually contain a primary pack sent as a bottle, a tube, a jar etc. At times expensive qualities of paper are utilized to maintain the eye – appeal of the product.

It is clear that packaging plays a large role in the perceived value of a product and as a whole, the secondary packaging industry hasn’t changed too much in the past years, compared to the constant innovations made in primary packaging technology. But as a matter of fact, consumers have started preferring sustainable and eco-friendly packaging.

Here are some secondary packaging options that skincare brands use to enhance the product and consumer experience. 

  • Paperboard boxes

Paperboard is a paper-based material that is lightweight, yet strong. It can be easily cut and manipulated to create custom shapes and structures. These characteristics make it ideal to be used in personalized packaging. It is made by turning fibrous materials that come from wood or recycled waste paper into pulp, and then bleaching it. Paperboard packaging comes in various grades, each suitable for different packaging requirements.

  • Corrugated boxes

Corrugated boxes simply refer to what is commonly known as Cardboard. It consists of 3 layers of paper, an outside liner, an inside liner and a corrugated medium (also known as fluting). The corrugated medium gives it strength and rigidity. The main raw material that is used to construct the corrugated board is recycled paper, made on large high-precision machinery known as corrugators.

These types of boards can be reused and recycled again and again as a source of pulp fibre. Corrugated boards are of different types, single-faced, double-faced (single wall), twin wall, and triple wall. They can be used to make packaging with different characteristics, performances, and strengths.

  • Plastic boxes

Plastic is used in a wide range of products, from spaceships to paper clips. Plastic box packaging has many advantages as it can be recycled, and they are much more durable than paperboard boxes. Airtight plastic packaging containers can help to preserve the product and eliminate any contamination issues. Plastic packaging also does not break easily and can be stored with products under extreme conditions.

Plastic can showcase the product at any angle without necessarily opening the packaging. It is flexible, lightweight and can be applied with films or coating to enhance packaging appearance.

  • Chipboard packaging

Chipboard is a type of paperboard that is made out of reclaimed paper stock. It can be easily cut, folded, and formed. It is a cost-effective packing option for your products. It comes in various densities and strength is determined by how high the density of the material is. Chipboard sheets are durable and lightweight.

  • Bamboo packaging 

Bamboo packaging is made from the bamboo plant. It’s well known that petroleum-based disposables like plastic packaging are an issue. Paper products, despite their renewability, are also not perfect. It takes regular timber around 30–50 years to be mature enough to harvest. Despite this, around 40% of the world’s wood is harvested for commercial use. This contributes to social conflict, habitat loss, greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.

While recycled paper packaging products are increasingly common, they still require trees. Bamboo packaging presents a renewable and eco-friendly alternative to paper, plastic, and everything in between. Bamboo packaging is renewable, biodegradable and compostable, and leaves no carbon footprints behind. 

Future of Skincare and Cosmetic Packaging 

Skincare and cosmetic packaging must be two things: aesthetic and functional. Cosmetic and skincare brands are offering a new type of packaging that focuses on protecting natural products, functionality, and refillable. This packaging is known as Airless packaging. Airless packaging combines an airless pump with a bottle, jar, or tube. These jars are designed to keep the contaminated air away from the product and keep to product fully contained inside the packaging.

What is Airless Packaging?

The Airless Packaging Association defines the technology as: “A non-pressurized, tamper-proof dispensing system combining a mechanically activated pump and a container which, after filling and airtight sealing, delivers the product with no air intake. The container is available with a soft pouch or a sliding piston.”

In simple terms, Airless Pump bottles are airtight and lightweight bottles designed to obliterate air from entering the packaging. When a user presses the pump, the motion initiates a vacuum effect. The air inside of the bottle is pulled out, along with the product (cosmetic and skincare products).

Pushing from the bottom is a plastic plate that sits beneath the product. This plate takes the place of a traditional dip tube that comes in most standard lotion pumps. Thus, the product is pulled up by the pump and pushed up by the diaphragm plate below. Then, air fills back in beneath the plastic plate to rebalance the bottle.

Skincare brands fuel the demand for airless packaging as brands looking for convenient, feasible, customer-oriented, and efficient packaging are opting for Airless packaging. SkinInspired is one such brand that cares for the hygiene and protection of its customers and has formulated high-tech airless pump packaging for its products. The packages are refillable, convenient, and easy on the pockets. The products are curated solely based on the needs of the customers. Visit here to know more

Pros of airless packaging 

Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of airless packaging:

–   Due to the less exposure to air, airless packaging retains the quality of the product for long and adds shelf life to the cosmetic, beauty, or medical products.

–   With an airless pump, the plate at the bottom pushes to the top. This way, you can get as much product out as possible, down to last use. 

–   As there is no dip tube, there is no contact between the product and any form of metal. This eliminates the scope of oxidation.

–   Recyclable and eco-friendly as they are made of PP plastic, making them a cinch to recycle. 

–   Airless packaging is equipped with single, dual, or even triple chambers. This means you can fill one chamber with a face serum, another with a hydrating oil, and a third with a moisturizing lotion.

–   These bottles work from any position that eliminates the struggle to get a lotion pump to dispense correctly, as most bottles only work when you hold them upright or at an angle.

–   Airless bottles feature a two-piece actuator, allowing them to hold two separate substances. 

–   Airless bottles are made of PP plastic and can dispense formulas with thicker viscosity such as hand creams and body lotions. 

The cosmetic world is a competitive market, and every brand is trying to establish a place for itself. In this conquest, some companies become profit-concerned rather than being consumer-concerned. Airless packaging is a step towards providing a consumer-based product.

This packaging preserves and protects the integrity of the product, guarantees the longevity of delicate products, and ensures a positive consumer experience. Nowadays, airless jars, bottles, and tubes are some of the most acceptable packaging approaches for skincare and haircare products, helping to assure both brands and their consumers that the cosmetic will be good to the last drop.

Final take away

Consumers place a great deal of trust in skincare and beauty brands regarding the safety and health of their skin. Consumers expect that these brands treat this trust as their ethical responsibility and provide products that are hygienic, convenient, safe, and away from getting contaminated by sunlight, dust, or dirt. Brands must provide packaging that can live up to this expectation of the consumers.

This article is meant to educate you about the health, safety, quality, and labelling of cosmetics packaging. The aim of putting this article together was to give you an insight into available cosmetic packaging and provide a starting point for criteria that must be considered for quality cosmetic packaging.