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Packaging Design for Beauty and Cosmetic Products

When it comes to beauty and cosmetic product packaging design, there needs to be a balance between aesthetics and functionality. You want your product packaging to look captivating and on-trend whilst also being a practical, protective haven for the beauty products it holds. Beauty isn’t just skin deep; it’s in the thoughtful details of the packaging that enhance the overall user experience.In this blog, we’ll take a look at trends in beauty packaging, and then we’ll advise you on how you can design effectively for product protection. When it comes to your product’s applicability, there are things you might want to consider. So, with this in mind, let’s dive into it.
20 min read
06 December 2023
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Trends in Beauty Packaging

You might think, why does packaging design actually matter? The visual allure of beauty packaging is at the forefront of trends that captivate consumers and elevate brands. Staying current with the latest packaging design trends is essential for those brands seeking to make a lasting impression in a competitive market. You might have noticed that beauty brands are redefining their visual language so that it resonates with the modern consumer. This section unravels the transformative trends that not only capture attention but also foster brand loyalty, propelling beauty products to the forefront of consumer desire. You need to constantly think about the future of packaging design and adapt to any upcoming trends or changes. Here are some notable trends that shape the aesthetics and functionality of beauty packaging:

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Materials

Our modern consumers are increasingly eco-conscious, and this shift in values is reflected in beauty packaging trends. Brands are embracing sustainable materials, such as recyclable plastics, glass, and even innovative materials like bamboo or sugarcane-based plastics. This helps to reduce packaging waste. Not only does sustainable packaging align with environmental values, but it enhances brand image by catering to the growing demand for eco-friendly choices. It’s on-trend and ‘cool’ to care about your environment. This is an effective strategic choice that positions brands as ‘a brand that cares’.

When it comes to beauty and cosmetic products, you’ll notice many brands are leveraging their commitment to cruelty-free practices. Take, for instance, brands like Lush, which strategically showcase ‘no testing on animals’ on their packaging and merchandise. This commitment to cruelty-free practices not only aligns with ethical consumer preferences but also contributes to a positive brand image. Lush has an environmental policy for their brand and is very eco-conscious, which has been an effective brand strategy for them.

Minimalistic and Chic Designs

Sometimes … less is more in the world of beauty packaging. Minimalistic brand designs that feature clean lines, simple colour palettes, and elegant typography are more effective. A clutter-free aesthetic not only communicates a sense of sophistication but also allows the product to take centre stage, appealing to consumers who appreciate the beauty of simplicity. If you are designing your product packaging for retail, think about how you can maximise shelf impact visually.

A good example of a brand that jumped on this trend is one of our clients: Nod Skincare. The selection of a black-and-white colour scheme with a blue accent was simple but extremely effective. Nod’s launch in December 2021 generated significant buzz. Since this skincare is for a male audience, its packaging was simplistic and industry jargon was removed from everything the brand did.

Nod 15
Nod 17

Image source: Nod Skincare

Personalisation and Customisation

Consumers love to have personalised and unique experiences. The beauty industry is recognising the power of personalisation in packaging. There's an art and science behind packaging design. Brands are starting to incorporate customisable elements, such as monograms, colour choices, or even allowing customers to engrave their names on the packaging. This trend not only adds a touch of exclusivity but also creates a deeper connection between the consumer and the product.

One notable example of a brand incorporating customisable elements is the luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton. Known for its iconic monogram canvas, Louis Vuitton offers a personalised service that allows customers to add their initials to select products. This customisation adds a unique touch to their already distinctive and recognisable packaging, creating a sense of exclusivity for their clientele.

Bold and Vibrant Colours

While minimalistic designs are very on-trend at the moment, bold and vibrant colours remain a timeless trend in beauty packaging. Think about innovative packaging solutions that help your brand stand out. Brands leverage colour psychology in packaging design to evoke specific emotions and create a memorable visual impact. Choosing colours wisely in packaging design is important. Bright and lively hues communicate a sense of energy and playfulness, whilst those muted tones signify sophistication and elegance. Think about how you can use colours to communicate a story. Is Christmas coming up? Or maybe Valentine’s Day? Use staple seasonal colours for your packaging when designing for the festivities. This will make your products appear timely and relevant.

Methodology Bottle 6

Image source: Methodology

Designing for Product Protection

Beneath the surface of glamour lies the crucial role of packaging in actually protecting the beauty and cosmetic products. Your packaging might look aesthetically pleasing, but if your customer gets home to find a broken serum, then your packaging hasn’t done its job. From preserving the potency of active ingredients to ensuring the longevity of delicate formulations, we look at the intricate world of protective design. Yes, you want your product packaging to look trendy, but designing packaging that ensures product protection is a critical consideration in the beauty industry. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

Material Selection

How do you choose the right packaging materials? Remember ... material matters. If your product is made of glass, you’re probably going to want to protect it to avoid breakages, right? Well you need to take packaging material into consideration. It’s the foundation to product protection. There are many packaging design mistakes to avoid when it comes to product protection. Beauty and cosmetic products can often contain ingredients that can be sensitive to environmental factors. For instance, certain formulas might be prone to degradation when exposed to light or air, so selecting materials that offer barrier properties, such as UV-resistant plastics or airtight containers, helps in preserving your products integrity. You need to think about the specific needs of the product's formulation to allow for tailored packaging solutions that prioritise protection without sacrificing design.

Secure Closures

Having a secure closure mechanism is important when it comes to preventing leaks, spills, and contamination. Whether it’s a tightly sealed cap for a liquid product or a robust closure for a powder compact, ensuring that the packaging remains intact through its lifecycle is essential. The closure should not only be functional but also aligned with the overall design aesthetic.

Tamper-Evident Features

Safety is a top concern for both consumers and regulatory standards. Having tamper-evident features. Such as seals or bands, gives consumers confirmation and confidence that the product has not been opened or compromised before purchase. These features contribute to consumer trust and give consumers peace of mind when they receive the product.

Durable Exterior

Beauty products often travel with consumers, whether in a handbag or during travel. Designing packaging with durability in mind means it can withstand the rigours of daily use without compromising the product inside. This is particularly crucial for items like compacts, palettes, or glass bottles. A question to ask yourself: will your product withstand being thrown into a delivery van? You see it all the time … brand’s getting negative reviews because the ‘product arrived damaged’ in the post. The last thing you want to be doing is refunding your customers, this is why your product’s protection is so important. This is especially important when designing packaging for E-commerce.

Regulatory Compliance

This is a non-negotiable aspect of product protection. There are legal aspects of packaging design that you need to know. Your packaging must adhere to safety standards, ingredient labelling requirements, and any other relevant regulations.

Sustainable Packaging with Protection in Mind

As sustainability becomes a focal point, integrating eco-friendly materials into packaging design is crucial. Understanding the basics of sustainable packaging will help you in positioning your brand as an eco-conscious brand. However, this should not compromise product protection. Sustainable packaging can still be robust and effective in safeguarding the product whilst minimising environmental impact.

Cane Packaging 4
Eco friendly packaging

Left image: Cane | Right image:

Considering Product Applicability

Beyond aesthetics and protection, the practical dimension of product applicability is a key player in the beauty experience. Whether it's revolutionising dispensing mechanisms or innovating applicators for precision and user-friendly functionality, we uncover the strategies that elevate the user experience and convenience. From liquid foundations demanding precision to skincare routines requiring a seamless application, let’s see how thoughtful design enhances the practical dimension of beauty and cosmetic products.

Here are some key factors to take into account:

Applicator Design

The applicator of beauty products is often a critical component. Whether it’s the mascara wand, a lipstick applicator, or a built-in brush for powders, the design of the applicator needs to align with the overall packaging aesthetic and more importantly, facilitate easy and precise application. The functionality is integral to user satisfaction.

User-Friendly Packaging

Beauty products are a major part of people’s lives and daily routines. You don’t want to wake up to the struggle of opening your daily beauty products. The packaging needs to facilitate this joyful and enjoyable experience. Easy-to-open containers, intuitive dispensers, and user-friendly features contribute to a positive interaction. Consumers appreciate packaging that not only looks good, but feels good to use. Make it easy for them.

Customised Applicators for Unique Formulas

Different beauty products have different formulations. There’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of applicator. You need to adapt your applicator to complement these formula types. For instance, a skincare product with a serum consistency might benefit from a dropper applicator for precise dispensing. A thick moisturiser might require a different applicator entirely. Tailoring the applicator to the product’s consistency will ensure optimal functionality and user satisfaction.

Multi-Functional Packaging

The growing trend towards efficiency and simplicity, multi-functional packaging is getting more popular. This involves designing packaging that serves dual or multiple purposes. What does this mean? An example might be a lipstick tube that also functions as a mirror or a palette with integrated brushes. Multi-functional packaging not only enhances user convenience but adds a touch of innovation to the product.

Innovative Dispensing Mechanisms

What do we mean by innovative dispensing mechanisms? It could be airless pumps, droppers, or twist-up sticks. These all contribute to precise and controlled application. It also enhances the product’s preservation by minimising exposure to air and contaminants. This way you can say goodbye to clumpy, dried-up products.

Product Format

Have you thought about what type of product format you have? From liquids, to creams, to powders, and solids. Designing packaging that accommodates the specific needs of the product will ensure optimal functionality. A liquid foundation may require a pump dispenser for controlled application, while a compact powder may benefit from a hinged lid with a built-in mirror.

Visual Instructions for Use

Beauty and cosmetic products often come with specific instructions for use. Incorporating visual instructions on the packaging simplifies the application process. This is particularly relevant for products that might subvert the usual application technique/routine, such as contouring kits or skincare routines.

Packaging for Portability

Many beauty products are designed for on-the-go use. Packaging that is portable, compact, and spill-resistant enhances the product's applicability in many different places. Consideration of the lifestyle of the target audience is crucial in designing packaging that aligns with their needs for convenience and portability. Having suitable packaging means that those late for work don’t suffer and can touch up their make-up on the train.

Accessibility for All Users

Inclusivity in design involves considering users of all abilities. Packaging should be accessible to all abilities and individuals with different levels of dexterity and vision. This may involve easy-to-grip components, tactile indicators, or clear labelling for those with visual impairments.

Examples of Packaging Design for Beauty and Cosmetic Products

Product beauty
beauty prod 1

Image source:

Skims 1
Skims 2

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Face mask 1
Face mask 2

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Image source: Amoebic

Designing beauty and cosmetic product packaging with a focus on applicability requires a deep understanding of the product, its formulation, and the preferences and needs of your target audience. By prioritising the user experience, functionality and innovation, brands can create packaging that not only protects the product but also enhances the overall satisfaction of consumers.

In beauty packaging, pairing aesthetics with practicality is key. This is a reminder that designing beauty and cosmetic product packaging isn’t just about looking good; it’s about creating a seamless and satisfying experience for the user. By understanding the product, its formulation, and the preferences of the target audience, brands can craft packaging that not only shields the product, but enhances consumer satisfaction, transcending mere functionality to become an integral part of the beauty ritual.

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