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The Ultimate Guide to Skincare Packaging

A variety of skin care products packaged in a box

Creating your own skincare brand is an exciting venture. You can prioritize what matters to you in skincare products and develop a meaningful brand identity that reflects your values. As you begin planning your brand’s portfolio of products, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is what type and style of skincare packaging and labeling you’ll be using. There are several factors to weigh out as you’re considering your options. In this guide, we’ll take you through each aspect and provide you with a list of the best materials to use in skincare and cosmetics packaging. 

Considerations for the Best Skincare Packaging 

The best skincare packaging options for your brand will be based on the types of products you offer and how customers will use them. Here are five of the most important things to think about when selecting skincare packaging material.

1. Light Blocking Ability

Some skincare products are highly sensitive to light. The more light they’re exposed to, the faster they break down. Essential oils are a great example. These products need to be shielded from sunlight to stay fresh. If your skincare products require light blocking, look for tinted or non-translucent packaging options.

Matte Label - Etta + Billie

2. Capacity to Withstand Acidic Contents

Certain cosmetics, especially those with fruit extracts, can have high levels of acid, causing them to corrode some containers like metal tins. If metal tins are not coated with a protective barrier, they can quickly degrade, spoiling both the container and the contents. Glass or Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) materials are usually the best choice for these products.

3. Squeezability

Some gels or cosmetic creams are easiest to use when packaged in a flexible container that makes them easy to squeeze out. Think about your product from the consumer’s viewpoint, and go with the packaging option that’s the simplest to use.

4. BPA-Free

If you are using a plastic container, consider using BPA-free plastics. Consumers are increasingly aware that BPA isn’t something they want their facial creams or cosmetics exposed to.

5. Eco-Friendliness

There’s been lots of media coverage on the role that plastics play in polluting the world’s oceans and overwhelming our landfills. Eco-friendly cosmetic packaging is an excellent option if you’re open to thinking outside the box. Look for packaging options that are biodegradable, recyclable, or can be refilled easily. Zao Organic Makeup is one skincare brand that’s doing things in a way that’s good for the planet. Their Makeup Remover Oil is packaged in sustainable bamboo containers. L’ Occitane is another leader in this space. Many of their products, like their Shea Butter Hand Cream, come in a recyclable container.

Get more inspiration with these eco-friendly packaging ideas.

Best Materials for Skincare Packaging

Skincare and cosmetics packaging comes in a wide variety of materials. The considerations above will help you identify the characteristics you need to look for in packaging. Though not an all-inclusive list, the cosmetic packaging materials listed below are widely used and commercially available.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) 

A popular material for cosmetic bottles, PET is available in a large selection of colors, making it easy to customize. It can be used to create semi-rigid containers for squeezable tubes or flexible bottles. PET is also highly resistant to chemical compounds that degrade typical plastics, making it a good choice for skincare products with high acid levels.

Glass

Recyclable, impossible to degrade, and classy, glass has been used for cosmetic packaging for decades for a reason. The only downsides are that glass can be breakable and costs more to ship due to its weight.

If you’re considering glass packaging, check out our guide on label options for glass bottles and jars.

Polypropylene Plastic

PP is an eco-conscious choice since it’s both recyclable and BPA-free. It’s popular for packaging a range of cosmetics and skincare products due to a high degree of flexibility that makes it a superior choice for squeezable tubes.

Considerations for Skincare Labels

Just like with product packaging, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for skincare product labels. Your requirements will be based on the nature of your products and how customers will use them. 

1. Discoloration-Resistant

If your skincare product has acid in it, such as AHA, you’ll want a product label that won’t become discolored if a drip or smear comes into contact with the label. Some materials used to create product labels are impervious to degrading if exposed to these types of products.

2. Moisture-Resistant

Most cosmetics and skincare products are used around the sink and shower. Water-resistant labels won’t get soggy or peel off of the container if they get wet.

3. Oil-Resistant

Oils from the products themselves or the natural oils found on our hands have a way of soaking into labels on jars and tubes that are handled frequently. An oil-resistant skincare product label will ensure your labels look good even if they come into contact with greasy substances.

4. Consistent with Brand Image

The label materials you use to create your skincare and cosmetic packaging designs can help convey the image you want to project. For example, a high-energy, youthful brand may look best with colorful BOPP or PET labels. A great example is Urban Decay. The product label for their Lash Freak Volumizing Mascara requires sunglasses for safe viewing!

Best Materials for Skincare Labels

Certain materials are ideal for cosmetics products, while others aren’t. Here are four excellent options.

Vinyl

Vinyl stands out for use in skincare labels because it’s highly resistant to moisture, oils, and high acid gels and creams. It’s easily molded and wraps around small containers with ease, making it an excellent choice for use with lip balm tubes, squeeze bottles, perfume vials, and more.

Lip Balm Labels

Polypropylene

Labels made with polypropylene are just as durable as vinyl but cheaper. Polypropylene is also highly resistant to moisture, oils, and greases, making it a more cost-effective alternative for some skincare product labeling applications. It can also be stretched thinner than vinyl.

White BOPP labels on bath salt product

Polyester (PET)

Polyester or PET is another durable cosmetic product labeling option that stands up well to long term exposure to moisture, oil, and other liquids.

Check out our guide on label materials and finishes to learn more about all our label offerings, and help you decide which material and finish is best for your product.

Packaging for Skincare Products: The Choice is Yours

When you have the industry knowledge to make smart, informed decisions about your brand, creating a skincare line is a lot more fun. Armed with the information we’ve shared here, you can confidently pick out the packaging and labeling for your cosmetics line. 

At Frontier Label, we’ve worked with skincare brands of all sizes, helping them to create packaging labels that stand out. Our team is happy to answer any questions you have about skincare labeling and help you choose the best type of label for your products.

Additional Resources: 

Top 7 Private Label Cosmetics Companies

How to Correctly Label Cosmetics

FDA Compliant Cosmetics Labels

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