Perfect Pairings: The Right Dispenser for the Job

By Marie Redding, Associate Editor | December 5, 2016

Brands are choosing among the numerous dispensing options that suppliers are offering.

Whether a product is squeezed from a tube, pumped from a bottle, sprayed from a can, or applied using a dropper, a package’s dispensing system is a key part of a user’s experience with that product.

Suppliers play a huge role in advancing dispensing technologies. New capabilities and features are constantly in development.

How smoothly a pump evacuates a product or how comfortable an actuator is to press will affect the consumer’s perception of a brand, for better or worse. “Our brand customers know that their consumers are seeking small, unexpected, touches of luxury and pampering with their beauty routines. When a package is paired with the right dispensing system, the product will deliver that experience,” says John Ferro, vice president, Home & Beauty Marketing, WestRock.

Brand marketers and product developers will typically choose a dispensing system based on a product formulation. Or, the opposite is also true—a product might be formulated specifically so that it is compatible with a certain type of package. Before any decisions about dispensing are made, however, there are many factors to consider. Among them are a product’s intended use, and how much of the product needs to be dispensed for one use.

Airless Dispensing

Airless dispensing systems offer many advantages, some of which are described by Mylan Nguyen in Euromonitor’s “Passport” article dated June 27, 2016, “As Demand for Premium Skin Care Increases, Packaging Goes Premium Too.” Nguyen writes, “Airless dispensing has rapidly expanded to a number of beauty categories. Airless technology can be applied to a variety of packaging options, including metal aerosol cans and stand-up pouches.”

Nguyen continues, “Airless dispensing could refresh these packaging categories and offer consumers new ways to use beauty products. Airless is, therefore, a technology to be followed closely by brand owners and packaging manufacturers in the beauty and personal care industry.”

WestRock’s Ferro also calls attention to the fact that airless technologies are continuing to evolve. “Airless systems now have new features that provide even cleaner, more hygienic dis-pensing options for sensitive formulas,” he says.

WestRock has one of the broadest portfolios of dispensing technologies available to its global customers and offers numerous airless pump solutions. Outputs range from 0.15 to 1.0ml across a variety of bottle sizes. “Our leading airless system, ‘Pearl’ and ‘Pearl Mini,’ are all-plastic designs that utilize a rolling bellows technology for soft actuation. It allows for the evacuation of over 95% of the product,” says Ferro.

WestRock also recently launched an airless pump on a tube called “Amplify.” “It links the benefits of airless with the portability of tubes to further broaden our customers’ choices,” says Ferro.

When Lionel de Benetti, who was head of R&D at Clarins Group, launched his own skin care brand, he chose Aptar Beauty + Home’s airless packaging range “Irresistible.” One of the facial products by de Benetti is packaged in Aptar’s 40ml multi-layer bottle, with the supplier’s high-performance airless dispensing system.

Many of the brand’s products contain a high concentration of active ingredients, which are susceptible to oxidization. “Testing shows that Aptar’s dispensing system protects the product from contamination,” Benetti says.

Another skin care brand, Goldfaden MD, chose airless packaging for various reasons. “By utilizing airless packaging, we are able to ensure the customer’s full usage of all the product in the pump. Airless pumps protect ingredients from breaking down due to air, light or bacteria. We also feel strongly about protecting the environment, which is why our airless packaging is recyclable,” says Lisa Goldfaden, vice president of marketing, Goldfaden MD.

Goldfaden MD recently launched Bright Eyes Dark Circle Radiance Concentrate in a bottle with an airless pump dispenser and Fresh A Peel. Fresh A Peel is a gel formulation that is meant to be used like a cleanser, but claims to work like an exfoliating peel.

Dual Dispensing Designs

Fusion Packaging offers a number of unique dispensing solutions, including packages that will dispense two different products separately. Many of these dual designs have airless pump dispensers, and are very appealing to skin care brands, according to Lesley Gadomski, business development officer, Fusion Packaging.

“Airless packages continue to be our number one most requested type of dispenser. We have also had a lot of requests from customers looking for new ways to dispense two products. This is why we launched several new options this year, including our ‘Power Couples Collection’,” says Gadomski.

The ‘Power Couples’ dual collection by Fusion is shown. Two bottles are connected, yet the products will remain separate. Fusion also offers suitability testing, and custom development.

Mists & Trigger Sprays

Not all skin care products are lotions or creams. Jane Iredale’s limited edition Lemongrass Love Hydration Spray launched in October, and all proceeds are being donated to the organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The product is housed in a green bottle with a silver collar and actuator. It has a spray pump that allows the user to lightly mist the face.

WestRock offers a variety of Fine Mist Sprayers with unique orifice designs. The supplier recently launched “Sinfonia Infinite,” which delivers 200% more voluminous spray with 2.5 times smaller droplets. “This creates a drier, more luxurious spray for body care applications,” says Ferro.

Erbaviva, a USDA-certified organic brand, uses dark amber colored glass bottles with pump dispensers for its body spray products that are designed to mist onto the skin—or in the air. Erbaviva’s Awake body spray can double as a home or room spray.

It contains melissa, lemongrass and rose essential oils. The bottle is the right size to fit comfortably in hand, and the spray pump delivers just the right amount of “mist” to target the intended area the user is aiming for, whether it is being sprayed on the skin or in the air.

Erbaviva also launched a new facial skin care range and men’s grooming line this month. (See BeautyPackaging.com for photos, and details about its recent redesign.)

Trigger sprays will get a brand attention on shelf. Inspired by the home market, this type of dispenser has an industrial look, and is ideal for hair care, bath and body, and sun care products. WestRock is a leading supplier of trigger sprays.

Hair care brand Pravana recently launched The Perfect Blonde, a leave-in treatment. The tall, blue bottle looks elegant, and has an oversized trigger spray dispenser.

Serums & Oils

Serums and oils are hugely popular lately, especially for facial skin care. Sometimes an oil-based product is dispensed with a spray pump, which turns it into a mist, similar to Erbaviva’s products described above. More often, however, these products are packaged in bottles and dispensed with dropper applicators.

One example is Ahava’s Dead Sea Crystal Osmoter X6 Facial Serum, in a 1 fl. oz bottle. The product is dispensed and applied with a dropper. Rahel Danon, chief marketing officer at Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, says, “This oil-based serum is a powerful, natural solution for skin.”

According to the brand, it took five years of intensive research to find a delivery system that could provide skin with high levels of its concentrated, trademarked ingredient, “Osmoter.” Ahava’s scientists extract this ingredient, then infuse it with jojoba oil. As a result, the product is a lipid-based serum that is formulated so that its actives will penetrate beneath the skin’s surface layers, the brand states in its press materials.

Aptar Beauty + Home held an “Oil Workshop” at the Luxe Pack Monaco show this year, calling facial oils the new “beauty elixirs.” “We wanted to highlight our initiatives for embracing this trend, and showcase packaging that features different gestures for applying oils,” says Des McEttrick, sales, Aptar.

Aptar Beauty + Home offers various dispensing solutions for all types of oil-based products, including hair care and sun care in addition to facial skin care. The supplier’s two new packaging options for dispensing oils are Serumony Oil Edition and “OilMist.”

Serumony Oil Edition is a package that will dispense a facial oil like a serum, with a “press-to-dispense” design. The push-button on top also has a locking mechanism and is available with the option of adding an airless system. Different from a traditional dropper, it has a tip that allows the user to target a specific area of the skin, while dispensing the product drop-by-drop.  

Aptar also offers a new option for fragrance oils, Note Oil Edition. In addition, the supplier’s PZ range offers solutions for hair care and sun care oils.

Aerosols Power New Types of Hair Care Products

New types of hair care products are trending lately, such as root sprays to touch up hair color, and dry shampoos. These newly popular types of product formulations often require dispensing solutions with specialized features.

Zotos launched AgeBeautiful Root Touch-Up Spray earlier this year, in an aerosol can. “Utilizing an aerosol package gives a consistent spray rate and spray pattern, as well as preventing clogging or a blotchy application,” a member of the company’s packaging team explains.

The actuator has a targeted nozzle to help control application and prevent overspray. The formula was developed to be slightly dry when applied, to make the application method easier and mess-free.

Several brands have recently launched dry shampoos. One example is Nexxus Dry Shampoo, in a trendy rose gold aerosol can.

Lindal is a leading supplier of aerosol packaging for dry shampoos. “Millions of consumers are being won over by dry shampoos. Where once the primary emphasis was on convenience, which certainly won over time-starved consumers, brands are also communicating the impact of over-shampooing,” says Philip Brand, global marketing director, Lindal Group.

Lindal’s ability to dispense solids via aerosol, with its powder valves, has helped a variety of dry shampoo brands. “A dry shampoo that is delivered with our aerosol packaging solutions use starches, which absorb but do not entirely strip the hair of natural oils.

For a growing number of consumers, this is extremely appealing,” Brand says.

Unexpected Looks

No matter the type of dispenser that is chosen, WestRock’s Ferro says that brands are also looking for new ways to use decorating techniques to differentiate a bottle or can. “One approach is to seek differentiation on shelf through customized aesthetics and decoration enhancements that signal a premium look,” explains Ferro.

Lindal’s Brand agrees that “premiumization” is a trend, especially for aerosol packaging. “We are seeing a continuation of premiumization in features, ergonomics and decoration, which deliver value-added to the consumer and enhanced shelf appeal,” he says.

The team at ABA Packaging suggests that its fragrance customers consider pairing one of its spray pumps with a non-pressurized aluminum bottle for an unexpected look. Aluminum packaging by Envases is available exclusively through ABA Packaging in the U.S. “We can provide cus-tom shapes and innovative debossed images using patented technologies,” says Michael Warford, director of sales, ABA Packaging. 

Why the sudden interest in aluminum? “Decorating options for aluminum bottles and cans have historically been very ‘industrial,’ and their use was typically limited to very specific markets, such as hair care. Now there have been recent advances in high-quality and high-end decorating techniques, so aluminum bottles are finding their way into luxury markets, especially in Europe,” explains Warford.

The Bottom Line: Testing is Key

Brands say that choosing a dispensing system is often one of the most complex decisions in the package development process. A product’s viscosity will often dictate which type of spray pump will work best—or, if a different type of dispensing system, such as a dropper, should be considered.

Dawn Serpa, vice president of global marketing, Erbaviva, says that testing is key. “We have an excellent in-house R&D and quality control department that thoroughly tests all of the packaging components that we are considering, but there are always challenges with pumps and sprayers. We often find that we need to make changes to these components, either for aesthetic reasons or performance issues.”

Marketers will no doubt keep striving to develop packaging that will enhance a brand’s image, not tarnish it with a clogged pump or broken actuator—and suppliers will keep delivering.