Starting the Color Cosmetics Conversation
With billions of color cosmetics packages sold annually, suppliers are helping brands capture market share with innovative packaging that gets customers talking—and sales registers ringing.
The Holographic Magnetic Compact from SeaCliff Beauty Packaging & Laboratories offers a custom-designed holographic image on the top.
Research shows that, unlike in other beauty categories, when consumers shop for color cosmetics, they have a certain type of makeup in mind, such as eye shadow or foundation, but are usually not set on the brand. When they walk into a retail outlet, they are influenced by the packages speaking to them in some way at the point of sale. In a drug store, the packaging silently conveys the message through shape, size, type and color. In a department or specialty store—and even direct sell—these same criteria serve to provide salespeople with a means to start an engaging conversation with the shopper.
Online, creative packaging can generate lots of social media buzz.
Marla Malcolm Beck, co-founder of luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury, says, “Packaging creates a ‘wow’ moment on the retail floor that can really start an interactive discussion, which leads to a great client experience.”
She says the degree to which packaging contributes to the success of a product depends on the category. “In color,” she says, “packaging, especially in seasonal collections, drives purchase.” Beck says this “is extremely important because in the color business, 20-25% of a brand’s sales are coming from new innovation [in our environment]. You see this in the attention that was paid to packaging in all of the upcoming fall and holiday collections.” She points to NARS and Laura Mercier as being especially creative and innovative for the fall season. (Read more about Beck and Bluemercury in an exclusive interview in this issue.)
In 2011, according to data from The NPD Group, almost 800 million units of color cosmetics were sold in prestige and mass channels in the U.S. More units were sold in color cosmetics than in facial skin care or fragrance—as much as twice the number of units as facial skin care and three times that of fine fragrance.
Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group—and a member of Beauty Packaging’s board of advisors—states, “Given the sheer volume of items being offered and sold in color cosmetics, packaging plays a vital role in attracting consumer attention.” That’s why Grant observes, “Standing out in this category is not optional.”
At a global level, Karine Dussimon, packaging analyst for global market researcher Euromonitor, says color cosmetics presents “an overall positive picture,” with 4.5 billion units of primary packaging sold worldwide through retail in 2011—mainly specialty cosmetics containers.
Packaging strategies often differ depending on the retail environment.
In the prestige arena, Grant says one of the most important things to keep in mind when launching color cosmetics is that “there are already a host of brands on the market that make compelling claims and have large and often loyal followers.” However, she notes, most women are willing to try and experiment with items. “Unique options and features entice consumers,” she says. “While most consumers plan their purchases for the type of products they want, they do not plan the brand they want to buy with nearly the same commitment. That choice is often made at the time of purchase—what they see in the packaging, brand offering, and benefits often makes the difference in what they ultimately buy.”
Victoria Gustafson, leader of the SymphonyIRI Beauty Vertical, agrees that “packaging is paramount for color cosmetics,” and adds: “I would argue that packaging is even more important for cosmetics distributed through the mass channel than through department stores. In the absence of ability to try the product, packaging has to speak to benefits, feel, smell, efficacy—and educate the consumer on how this particular shade will look with a consumer’s skin tone.”
What’s more, Gustafson says that because cosmetics products are often very small, the “real estate” to convey relevant information is limited. So, in addition to obvious things, like description of the product, color, ingredients, etc., consumers are also looking for packaging to convey less tangible characteristics, such as making it look more upscale through weightiness, or using colors that convey an instant “green” message.
Wormser recently developed its “Lipsurious”gloss
Interesting packaging and innovative delivery systems are helping to position color cosmetics as “higher end,” according to Dussimon, through means such as the use of secondary folding cartons and closure type. She says most of the packaging innovation in the color cosmetics category lies in plastic dispensing closures for tubes and also lotion pumps on glass bottles and specialty cosmetics containers.
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Which categories of color cosmetics packages are exhibiting the most growth? While the analysts and suppliers we spoke to each reported more activity in some areas than others, it seemed to all even out, with some saying eyes, while others mentioned lips, nails or foundations. Following are a few of their responses:
SymphonyIRI’s Victoria Gustafson says, “I see innovation in each segment.”
The NPD Group’s Karen Grant notes, “As far as packaging, I would lean to the eye category—from mascara, to eye shadow, to brow products, and eye liners—likely this is where the consumer is most apt to play and experiment and respond to a unique packaging option.”
Frank Bierkandt, assistant general manager, OEKA-beauty, says “We see the most activity in the mascara and lipgloss segment. But in recent months, we have felt a real rebirth of the traditional lipstick. OEKAbeauty holds a patent for its state-of-the-art lipstick mechanism and we see more and more interest in this.”
At Wormser, Steve Levine says, “Eye and face have certainly been stable, but we have seen the most market growth in the lip and nail categories.”
3C Inc.’s Lou Della Pesca notes, “Of all the categories, we’re seeing the most activity in cheek color, with sometimes more than one shade added to the component—in mass and prestige.
In fact, Dussimon says global lotion pump unit sales grew by 5% over 2011, especially in Asia Pacific, and
Nest Filler’s grinding compact uses a shredder to grind and make the powder.
also in North America and Western Europe.
She adds that a few of L’Oréal’s products are housed in glass bottles with lotion pumps, such as L’Oréal Infallible.
In some cases, a change in product consistency triggers a change in packaging. “We are starting to see mousse dispensers instead of the fluid-filled bottles we are used to seeing for liquid foundation,” says Gustafson.
Packaging suppliers also place emphasis on the allure of delivery systems.
“Packaging is a critical part of the overall product presentation in color cosmetics,” says Steve Levine, VP business development at Wormser. “It is typically the key parameter that initially attracts a consumer to new products at retail. This is especially true in mass market outlets where sales associates are not available to describe product features. This can be achieved either through interesting aesthetic features or an innovative product delivery system.”
He adds, “We view packaging as critical to this ‘first moment of truth’ when she decides if she wants to buy the product for the first time. The bulk or product story, however, is critical for repeat buys.”
Unique delivery systems are driving Wormser’s R&D efforts. Levine says the company is focusing “a significant amount of our innovation resources toward creating new packaging delivery systems in the lip and nail areas.”
One example is Wormser’s recently developed “Lipsurious” gloss applicator, “a molded lip brush that provides users with a smooth, streak-free application of gloss without the splaying issues associated with traditional lip brush applicators.”
Yoolie K. Park, director of sales and marketing at Nest Filler, emphasizes the company’s grinding compact container as a standout in color cosmetics dispensing. Solid powder is contained within an aluminum pan, using a shredder to grind and make the powder.
Taiki Develops Preservative-free Mascara Formulas
Aside from the packaging and the hues available, consumers are also focused on the safety of the cosmetics they use, especially when it comes to their eyes. Now Taiki Group has developed what it calls “the first antimicrobial mascara,” with EcoG+, an antimicrobial resin that allows preservatives to be eliminated from the formula. The company says this “ground-breaking,” safe innovation provides complete protection of the product.
Jim Perry, president/CEO TaikiUSA, says, “For years, Taiki has been looking for a method to safeguard packages. By incorporating silver and silica, this patented process has afforded Taiki a breakthrough in packaging technology. “With EcoG+, the package provides preservative protection, and the silica allows for a 40%-70% reduction in use of petrochemical resins.” Perry says they are also introducing EcoG+ in lipgloss tubes, jars and functional containers for makeup and skin care uses.
Grant mentions unique closures such as the press-and-release mechanism, used instead of removing a cap.
Once in a while, a delivery system truly transforms a category, as noted by SymphonyIRI’s Gustafson, who says, “Color cosmetics is experiencing a great growth driven by innovation, not an easy feat, considering our economic situation. However, in terms of really creative thinking, I have to take my hat off to the nail category. Who would have ever thought a couple of years ago that nail polish would come in a box of pre-cut strips? This is the kind of innovation that lands a product on an all-time bestseller list in the category, like Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects, for example.”
Aside from specialty cosmetics containers and delivery systems, Euromonitor’s Dussimon says glass bottles and squeezable plastic tubes are also important pack types in unit sales terms for facial makeup, such as foundations and concealers, and nail products.
Growth in glass—as with color cosmetics in general in the mass market—varies by global region. Dussimon says the current uptick is “very much linked to nail polishes doing very well in Latin America—very intense product launch activities in Brazil in mass cosmetics, especially nail polishes by brand owners such as Niasi and Colorama.”
In Western Europe, Dussimon says glass bottles are taking shares off tubes as consumers seek higher quality products. But in North America, she notes, “It’s the opposite; the recession had a higher impact on these sales and consumers want slightly more value for their money.”
When it comes to nail polish, Gustafson again cites Coty as a great example: “When Coty introduced Complete Salon Manicure, in addition to clearly conveying positioning on the packaging, the package itself was substantially upgraded from other Sally Hansen products. The bottle had a more upscale feel and look, so in this case, packaging was conveying more than a thousand words.”
Piramal produced the bottle. Bill Reed, vice president sales and marketing, refers to the nail polish bottle for Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure as “a fine example of the trend toward perfumery type shapes with heavy glass bases,” noting it is a tapering round bottle shape that transitions into a sharp square base. He says, “Each face of the curvaceous bottle has a beautiful smile with an ‘even’ interior glass distribution.”
Reed says the company produces more than one billion of the total market quantity of three billion nail enamel bottles.
With the bottle serving as the vessel which the brand uses to market its product and make the necessary connection with the consumer, Reed adds: “The days of the standard round nail polish bottle have passed us. The consumer today desires a package that is creative. The package must not only portray the brand image but also enhance it. Learning to anticipate these changes in trends ensures the future vibrancy and success of the package and the brand.”
HLP Klearfold’s Patrick McGee says Klearfold plastic folding cartons—like this one for Maybelline SuperStay 24 Lipcolor —“create a strong visual impression and allow for easy identification of the primary package and, in the case of color cosmetics, the shades contained within.”
Clear plastic materials, as well as glass, are also being used more to attract attention in the color cosmetics world in both primary and secondary packaging.
“Clear packaging has now become part of mass and class distribution,” says Lou Della Pesca, owner and president, 3C Inc.
CK One Color: Packaging That’s as Simple as Black and White
It’s as simple and classic as black and white. Calvin Klein’s sleek and sophisticated minimalist designs step right off the runway and onto the beauty counter. Color pops from shiny black pans, overlaid with a clear lens circled with a white rim; just swivel to open.
The cartons follow suit, with black on the bottom half, white on top. The mascara
brush shrinks and extends with a twist of the cap. Lipsticks and mascaras resemble elongated capsules.
Product applicators feature two-sided textures and multi-functionality to encourage individual creativity.
“We’ve seen an increased interest in use of high-visibility secondary packaging by color cosmetics marketers,” says Patrick McGee, director of marketing at HLP Klearfold. He says, “Visual packaging products, like Klearfold plastic folding cartons, create a strong visual impression and allow for easy identification of the primary package and, in the case of color cosmetics, the shades contained within.” He says they also help distinguish and deliver maximum attention at the point-of-sale, especially when decorated using any combination of offset, flexo and/or silkscreen printing plus hot stamping and/or embossing.
He points to the Maybelline SuperStay 24 Lipcolor plastic folding carton, which has won both an IPDA award at the 2011 HBA Global Expo and an Ameristar award in the IoPP’s 2012 AmeriStar competition.
McGee says Maybelline New York’s marketing group believed that a high-end, beautifully decorated, plastic folding carton was the best package in which to launch the product line. In addition to allowing the consumer to view the lip color shade directly, a clear carton offered a sleek, value-added appearance.
Metals and metallics have long been used to attract consumers to color cosmetics, especially with compacts and lipsticks.
Michael Warford, national sales manager, ABA Packaging Corp., says, “For the luxury market, we are still seeing a lot of activity in matte and shiny metallic finishes for the exposed primary package components. The increased complexities of the customer deco requirements are pushing us more toward heat-transfer labeling in many cases, which enables us to provide an economical option for multi-pass images.”
Decorative techniques have been on a continuous rise in popularity as a way to differentiate stock packaging and make it take on a distinct brand identity.
Guerlain’s Makeup Collection Draws on Emilio Pucci Archives
“Guerlain by Emilio Pucci” merges two prestigious design houses, and draws its inspiration from summertime on the Italian Riviera. Created by Guerlain creative director, Olivier Échaudemaison, and Pucci’s image director, Laudomia Pucci, this collaboration uses a motif inspired by an iconic print from the Emilio Pucci archives.
The star of the collection is Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush ($75)—half bronzer and half blush. The outer case pays tribute to the paneling of a Riva yacht with an ebony-colored varnished wood. Presented in an accessory pouch printed with the Pucci motif, this is the ultimate summer accessory.
The NPD Group’s Grant says she has seen “a greater use of artwork and or rich, vibrant color on staple items like mascara, more customizable eye shadow assortments/kits and more embellishment on lip color.” What standout brands have caught Grant’s eye lately? “Urban Decay Spring eye products stood out and were most memorable on recent store visits,” she says.
3C Inc’s Della Pesca says one trend he has seen is that more color is being added to the primary package itself. He says brands are adding more decoration, more color. For instance, he says, “A standard package with a single color logo may now add a second color to the logo or elsewhere on the primary package.”
He says brands are also adding more decoration on other areas of a compact, including enhancing the inside with color on multi-color palettes to make each color pop.
Levine ofWormser, says, “A key trend in the marketplace today is for marketers to differentiate stock packages with interesting decoration that can be designed to reflect the brand’s unique personality. The identity of the brand can be created or reinforced without significant investment in injection molds or other tooling. We have seen many customers use multi-color heat transfer labels or interesting print techniques using hydrographics to differentiate our standard packages.”
Extreme imagery is employed at SeaCliff Beauty Packaging & Laboratories to decorate its Holographic Magnetic Compact series, which can be used for foundations, powders, blushes, primers and eye shadows. The Holographic Magnetic Compact offers a custom-designed holographic image on the top of the component ensuring that the product will grab the consumer’s eye. Taking this to another level, a separate design can be silk screen printed on top of the clear cover to further create an additional dimensional effect of a holographic image.
HCP’s first solar-powered light-up compact, produced in collaboration with Stila, includes a glass solar cell panel, which recharges a built-in Li-ion battery.
For companies that want to strike a green message, eco-friendly packaging continues to make a statement.
“We see a lot of creative ways packaging is used to communicate natural positioning [such as green, recycled],” says Gustafson.
Anthony DeMarco, executive vice president of sales, HCT East Coast, says environmentally friendly packaging is one of several current trends that brands are pursuing.
Levine, of Wormser, notes, “Moving forward, we believe materials and shape will become more important than they have been in the past. Material innovation is being driven by consumer desire to be more eco-conscious. We expect the cost of bio-plastics to come down as more investment flows toward their development and production capacity.”
A joint effort between HCP and Stila resulted in one of the most innovative eco-friendly compacts to-date. Lisa M. Gianni, HCP’s manager, sales & marketing, says HCP’s first solar powered light-up compact, produced in collaboration with Stila, was included in the VIP gift bags presented to A-list celebrities attending the 21st Environmental Media Association Awards ceremony in late 2011. The highlights of this solar-powered technology include a glass solar cell panel, which recharges a built-in Li-ion battery. A tiny green indicator light is visible on the lid to allow the consumer to see when the battery is charging. The unit is rechargeable up to 1,000 times, and the glass solar cell panel has a five-year lifespan to allow the reusable compact to be used again and again. Nine hours of sunlight and it’s fully charged and ready to go.
OEKAbeauty’s Natural Brow Shaper package for Bobbi Brown contains a small fiber brush that’s on-trend with the move toward smaller brushes.
It’s often said that color cosmetics are only as good as the tools that are used to apply them. Thus, applicators can also be a selling point in the discussion of what to buy, and brands are optimizing them by featuring them as part of the package.
Rouge Bunny Rouge Introduces Its Refillable Palette Concept
Rouge Bunny Rouge, the brand based on the sights and sounds of an ethereal forest, and which started in Russia and is now distributed in the U.S., has released “Nest of Plenty,” a look that emphasizes a lighter smoky eye with pale blue and lilac tones. The new collection also introduces the brand’s refillable palette concept with a Duo and Trio Eye Shadow Keeper. Color palettes snap into place thanks to small magnets.
Keeping in character with the brand, black and white elements punctuate the boxes and product packaging itself. From the sleek feel of the carefully selected compacts, to the intoxicating scent of its fragrances, each product is designed to deliver the enjoyment of a gift every time it is revisited.
Gustafson notes: “In categories where the type of an applicator is a decision driver, we see a more pronounced trend to display the applicator alongside the product—we see this mostly in mascaras and eye/lip liners.”
“The package adds something to the application—as it shows the product and the ease of application or the use of the applicator,” says 3C Inc.’s Della Pesca. “A combination of convenience, ease of application, the product itself, the package—all combine to draw attention.”
Frank Bierkandt, assistant general manager, OEKA-beauty, notes the recent trend toward small brushes. “We recently developed the Natural Brow Shaper package for Bobbi Brown/Estée Lauder. The pack contains a small fiber brush developed by OEKAbeauty that follows the trend toward small brushes, and that is ideal for precise brow shaping.”
Educating the consumer via the packaging also continues as a trend.For example, Gustafson cites Almay color palettes, which are actually placed in the packaging in a way to mimic your eye lid, so there is no confusion about which color to apply to which part of the lid.
Shapes, of course, create an immediate distinct impression and are very effective in standing out in a crowded aisle or on a department store counter. They can also create lots of buzz via social media.
At Wormser, Levine says, “We are… focusing a large part of our innovation activities on designs with interesting shapes as we believe customers are looking for more creativity in their primary packs, and the standard rounds and squares may fall out of favor.”
Trends in multi-functional, as well as user-friendly containers, are hot at Nest Filler. Park explains that there are various ways to make products unique and stand out, with a single container having multiple functions, such as a four-way spin out compact or a sliding square compact.
HCT recently launched the multi-tasking “Get Up and Go” kit, which contains everything a woman needs to apply and refresh her makeup all day long.
Our extreme “do it all” society has no doubt prompted another innovative packaging direction—multi-tasking packaging—which HCT’s DeMarco calls an “emerging trend.”
He explains, “Multi-tasking packaging accommodates a variety of products in one package: lipgloss, eyeshadow and blush all in one user-friendly component.”
HCT recently launched the multi-tasking “Get Up and Go” kit, which contains everything a woman needs to apply and refresh her makeup all day long. Eye shadow, blush and lipgloss all fit together perfectly in one compact that fits in the palm of your hand—or in an evening bag.
“This kit is one of our most versatile stock packages,” says DeMarco. “It is an all in one face kit—or you can switch the lipgloss for a brow gel and it instantly becomes a brow kit. Add a mascara and multiple eye shadows and it becomes the perfect eye kit.”
In 2011, Lombardi Design & Manufacturing created an innovative compact which multi-tasks as a photo frame. Philosophy’s Divine Inspiration Beauty Palette features a photo-frame sliding cover, which allows printed inserts to be included during assembly. Consumers can then swap the insert with their personal photographs, making it a promotional package with an extended life cycle. Jack Albanese, sales engineer, Lombardi, explains, “The challenge here was to create a package that consumers would want to personalize and keep nearby them at all times.”
Looking to the future, SymphonyIRI’s Gustafson refers back to the nail category, which is continuing its creativity in starting to now market scented nail polish. “With the scent being such an important driver of purchases, I would expect to see more of the scratch and sniff packaging for all categories—a welcome alternative to opening bottles at the shelf.”
Another growing packaging innovation called out by Gustafson addresses the lack of ability to try products head on—with the Maybelline Fit Me line “leading the pack.” Each product within this line is clearly marked with a number that allows the consumer to find other products within the line that complement the one she already has. “In other words,” says Gustafson, “you only have to try one product to know that everything else you buy will go perfectly with your skin. It makes shopping for cosmetics in mass so easy.”