Benefit Cosmetics has launched a new face powder called Bella Bamba in visually striking holographic packaging.
Holographic Packaging Captures Beauty’s Eye

As the use of holography expands in the beauty aisle, the technology continues to break new ground.

No review of holograms would be complete without highlighting the role they play in packaging enhancement. Manufacturers have the considerable challenge of capturing customer attention in seconds while maintaining or growing market share; so the eye-catching appeal of holograms offers a visual advantage in helping to meet these challenges by giving products a highly distinctive decorative edge over competitors. Continuing advances in film coating and production technology have opened the door for ever more innovative opportunities for embossed holographic materials used in packaging, while a wide variety of specialist origination techniques offer an infinite variety of colorful 3D visual effects, ranging from the bright and stunning to more subtle graphic features.

For example, in what might be considered a world first, two beauty companies are actively pushing ahead with holography to enhance the aesthetics of their packaging. Benefit Cosmetics LLC of San Francisco (owned by LVMH), known for its innovative designs, has launched a new face powder called Bella Bamba in visually striking holographic packaging.

Unlike products that appear to rely more on the bottle than the box for their visual impact, Bella Bamba is a face powder sold with its own brush, so the box is essential to hold the whole offering together. This product is described on the box as “3D pink” and the on-pack description explains the rationale behind the innovative approach to the brand design: “The triple dimensions of pink—brightening, sculpting and defining. Sweep on the apples of your cheeks...for a total thrill of dimensional color.”

The carton for Radiance, with its 100% coverage, seems to glow with an inner radiance.
However, it does seem a pity that after invoking the third dimension of holography, the covering selected for the box is actually a 2D wallpaper pattern with no dimensionality at all. Most users of the product will be unaware of this incongruity and, instead, will hopefully be enraptured by the spectacular brilliance and iridescence that the technology of embossed optical microstructures brings to the package. The holographic effect has been modulated by the clever use of registered overprinting which attenuates the holographic effect, especially on the top where the printed name would be overpowered if it weren’t provided with a background of ink.

At the time of writing, the product is only available online but there can be little doubt that when it hits retailers’ shelves this spring, it will steal the limelight from some of the more prosaically packaged competitors.

Procter & Gamble has also used holographic effects to add value to the brand identity of its all-American CoverGirl cosmetics brand. (Please see sidebar for another P&G holographic package.) The CoverGirl brand is considered a high-volume, but not necessarily high-end product range, and retails through drug stores, supermarkets and convenience stores where the occasional flash of rainbow iridescence doubtless helps attract attention—and adds a little glamour—in an otherwise ordinary setting.

The holographic accent is always achieved using the most basic rainbow material, but applied in different ways. In the blush, the effect is produced through the use of a simple, pressure- sensitive closure label overprinted with the product name and number. The face powder also sports a rainbow label, which, in this case, is of circular cut offset from the center of the product.

At first glance, this might look somewhat tacky with the iridescence misplaced, but the age-defying Advanced Radiance product reverses the effect and has the off-center circle as the product itself, and the remaining crescent moon shape depicted holographically. In this case, the holographic effect is achieved through the use of aluminized foil rather than a stick-on label.

Eye-Catching Effect

Benefit and CoverGirl are not the only beauty brands to eye the effects of holography. If you take a walk down the fragrance aisles of any store or department, you will likely see a wide selection of products whose manufacturers have turned to holography as an integral part of their strategy to catch the eye of discerning consumers. Others include Dior and Givenchy, whose Addict and Very Irresistible products respectively (both women’s and men’s versions) have been presented in holographic boxes for four years while Lancôme has been using holographic packaging for its popular Magnifique brand for almost two years.

Gillette’s Holographic Effects Yield Sustainable Results

When it comes to eye-catching packaging, Gillette leads the market.“With our brand and our image, everything has to be one hundred percent the best,” says Michael Marcinkowski, senior engineer R&D, global package development. Recently, Marcinkowski and his colleagues hit a home run with a high-end holographic effect on the carton of Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide razor.What’s more, they achieved that effect without the use of metallized lamination. To do so, they implemented a process by Diamond Packaging combining Henkel’s MiraFoil metallic coating with new holographic technology.

The seeds for the ProGlide launch were planted two years ago when Dennis Drummond, senior key account manager of Henkel Corporation, suggested a coating to replace foil board laminating and hot foil stamping. At first, Marcinkowsi was interested but skeptical.

“I was familiar with silver inks and what they could do,” he recalls, “but was hesitant to pursue anything because of the costs of the products.”Still, the potential advantages were appealing, because Henkel’s MiraFoil coating could eliminate an entire production step.

When Drummond showed MiraFoil samples to Marcinkowski and his colleagues at Gillette, they were impressed. “They looked really great,” says Marcinkowski. “We conducted trials, worked out issues such as vignetting, lay-down and blocking of the ink, and several types of printing effects to achieve optimal results.”
Marcinkowski and his team then implemented MiraFoil coating in Europe and the U.S. with Gillette’s number one brands—Fusion and Embrace items.

Sustainability was monitored in the change from foil-laminated board to the MiraFoil UV-based system.“The old technology could be recycled but had a different recovery value,” says Marcinkowski.“Plus, it’s harder on the carbon footprint because you have to send the board out to be laminated and then ship it back to the converter.With MiraFoil, you eliminate that entire process because you can print all in one pass, all on one station on one machine.The product lifecycle with associated carbon dioxide release is much better.When you do an analysis, such as with the Walmart scorecard, the MiraFoil process gives you some wins.”

Raising the Bar for Sustainability

After Gillette’s success with MiraFoil, Marcinkowski raised the bar.“We wanted to achieve a metallized holographic effect in combination with MiraFoil for the launch of our premium ProGlide Fusion product,” he says.“I was aware of technology that could do this and worked closely with Diamond Packaging to implement it.”

“The holographic technology is an extension of Diamond’s greenbox sustainability initiative,” says Peter Cecere, director of business development at Diamond. “It works well with MiraFoil.”

“We do everything under one roof,” adds Dennis Bacchetta, director of marketing at Diamond. “We aren’t going to an outside stamping process, and we’re using less energy to produce the desired effect.It uses less material than previously, it can be applied overall or in spot areas, and there’s no film or laminate left on the sheets.It’s really a win-win for everyone.”

“The ProGlide package meets very high standards,” agrees Cecere. “It reduces packaging, reuses material, and promotes recyclability.”

Marcinkowski is satisfied. “The package is out there and looks great!It has a definite ‘wow’ factor.”
Conversely, Mariah Carey’s trio of perfumes, Lollipop Bling, and Britney Spears’ Radiance are both new and have only made their appearance in the last few months. It is no coincidence that both products are sold by Elizabeth Arden Inc.

Lollipop Bling was designed with its own POS display. But this is not necessarily used in all stores. When simply placed alongside other products in a retail situation, the diffractive aspect of the holographic foil is mostly covered by opaque ink, leaving tiny accent features, which are only noticeable on fairly close examination.
Conversely, Radiance, with its 100% coverage, jumps off the shelf when compared with its drab and conservative neighbors. One cannot help but be impressed by the luminosity of the box, which seems to glow with an inner radiance. The effect is simultaneously bold yet understated. It stands out from the crowd with a clean elegance and tastefully avoids any hint of gaudiness.

In contrast to Bling, which uses holographic technology to accent the printing, Radiance makes use of the print to accent the holography. The graphic designers of this package seem to have achieved a more satisfactory result on three accounts. First, the diffractive technology draws the eye of the potential client, enticing them into that all-important second glance when they might otherwise have walked by. Second, the package reinforces the message of the name of the fragrance by conveying the feeling of radiant energy and, third, the subliminal message is provided that the wearer of the fragrance will also stand out in a crowd.

In one sense, Bling and Radiance are a retrograde step in that they make use of the most basic of all holographic designs. For each of these products, a simple rainbow foil has been used which exhibits a plain, diffractive effect regardless of the direction in which it is viewed.

The packaging for Magnifique also uses a diffraction pattern, but one which has diffractive stripes in the vertical direction giving a sense of movement to design. In fact, the packaging carton for Magnifique has been completely covered with a transparent red ink so all that is left is the movement, the rainbow colors having all been suppressed apart from the red.

So Much More…

The manufacturers of holographic foil are capable of delivering so much more than these simple patterns. Indeed, prizes have been awarded for the innovative use of holographic designs and imagery but they have rarely been incorporated into cosmetic products.

Certainly the evidence suggests that there is huge potential for holographic packaging to add even more shelf appeal as more and more companies recognize the benefits provided—indeed, the anti-counterfeit and security benefits of holography are yet to be fully exploited. So, instead of using ‘off the shelf’ wallpaper patterns, active discussion between the holographic designers and the packaging designers could open a new world of profitable possibilities.

All the examples examined for this article have one aspect of holographic materials in common—they are all metallized and therefore mirror-like and opaque. The adjectives associated with this material are glitzy, eye-catching, sparkling, etc., and while we believe that the possibilities of such material have not been exploited, it is also possible to see why these aspects might limit its application. If, on the other hand, descriptors such as sophisticated, understated, luxurious, expensive, subtle are more appropriate, then transparent holographic material is the answer. Creative dialogue with the holographic material producers is still waiting for this potential world to open up.

About the Author
Glenn Wood is the North America media representative for the International Hologram Manufacturers Association,