It might surprise you to learn that the most expensive ingredient in high street cosmetics and skincare products is not some rare musk oil or new-fangled peptide it is probably the bottle it is being sold in.
Granted, pound for pound the rare ingredient may cost more than gold but the product you are buying will only include a tiny amount, probably way less than 1%.
If we look at the way people buy, ignoring the huge advertising and marketing budgets, it is how the product looks, the feel of the product in the hand and how it smells - all factors weighed up by a potential customer, consciously or unconsciously, before the decision is made to buy.
No surprise then that so much time, effort and money goes into getting the packaging right.
And don't think just because a product is natural, organic or ethically sourced you can sell it in a recycled Coke bottle, most customers don't think that way.
Factors to consider
If your product is a liquid, cream or gel you have three choices glass, plastic or aluminium. Glass is relatively expensive, heavy and fragile but it generally has a higher perceived value, important if your product is expensive, and it can be recycled. Plastics range from relatively inexpensive HDPE, through PETs, to polycarbonates that look and feel like glass.
Many plastics are now widely recycled and they have the advantage that they can be moulded into a huge variety of attractive and practical shapes, making it easier to use the product they contain - think of the experience getting ketchup out of a glass bottle vs a squeezy plastic one.
Aluminium also has a high perceived value but it is lightweight and recyclable. The major drawback is that you can't see the contents.
2. Tops and Dispensers
The crowning glory atop the bottle or jar, does a lot more than just stopping the contents from escaping. It must match the aesthetics of the container, be easy to open and close, ideally with one hand and enable a controlled amount of product to be dispensed.
Many tops include a self-cleaning feature and 'airless' pumps can prevent contaminants getting into the container to extend product life one opened.
3. Colours, Labels and Printing
Most containers are available in a range of colours with clear, frosted and white the most popular, closely followed by silver and black. Aluminium is available in solid colours through painting or a range of funky metallic finishes using the process of anodisation.
The decision to print directly on to the container or use a label is usually determined by the quantity to be produced and the materials used. Also if you use the same container for multiple products you may want the flexibility that labels provides.
4. Box or No Box
The final step is to decide whether the skincare product is sold in a box or other form of packaging. A box will add cost but there are some important advantages. Products sold in retail outlets have to compete on the shelf with similar goods and a box gives you more space to look good.
If your container is small a bigger box will help is stand out more and provides additional space for instructions, ingredients, legal jargon and a barcode. If you are really pushed for space you can include additional information on a leaflet inside the box.
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A box also provides protection for the product, from physical damage but also the harmful effects of UV light.
And finally a box will enhance that all important sexy 'unwrapping experience' essential for the premium product range.
Choosing the right package for your skincare and cosmetics products can be the difference between commercial failure and a run-away success.