Packaging Botanical Beauty With Ayurvedic Inspiration

By Jamie Matusow, Editor-in-Chief | May 1, 2017

Aveda’s beautiful TulasAra™ skin care line features artful design and ‘planet-respecting packaging.’

Aveda, part of The Estée Lauder Companies portfolio, is known for product launches that are in line with its corporate philosophy: “Our Mission at Aveda is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.”

This dedication has proved effective in creating strong brand loyalty with both salon professionals and consumers.

Jim Neri, vice president of Global Package Development, The Estée Lauder Companies, says, “We know that our network of salon professionals and guests respect our mission as much as we do. It really encompasses who we are as a brand and what we are putting on the market. Our packaging aligns with this mission; as with every package we develop, we’re mindful of our environmental footprint and work to minimize our packaging and maximize our use of recyclable and post-consumer recycled materials.” Aveda refers to its sustainability ethos as “planet-respecting packaging.”

Aveda’s Tulasara™ skin care line is a shining example of what the brand has accomplished, while staying within its tenets. In Sanskrit, Tulasara™ means moving toward balance, and is inspired by Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic approach to healthy, balanced skin. Products currently available in the line include: Three Tulasara™ Concentrates: Firm, Calm, Brighten; Radiant Oleation Oil and Radiant Facial Dry Brush; and Wedding Masque Overnight and Wedding Masque Eye Overnight. The products and the packaging merge seamlessly for a compelling tale of authenticity and tradition.

Here, Jim Neri tells Beauty Packaging’s Jamie Matusow the engaging story behind the packaging components that bring traditional customs to a new generation of consumers, in an earth-friendly way.

Jamie Matusow: Was the packaging of these products conceived at the same time—in a unified development?

Jim Neri: Yes, The Tulasara™ packaging was part of the overall relaunch of Aveda’s professional and retail skin care product line. The innovative packaging was inspired by the ancient art of Ayurveda and the handcrafted aesthetic of an apothecary.

JM: Were the components difficult to source?

JN: The components were not difficult to source. We have very strong relationships with our core suppliers, who understand and share our dedication to Aveda’s mission. These core suppliers are familiar with using recycled materials and are experts in converting those materials into high-quality prestige packaging components.

JM: Any particular packaging challenges faced in getting this line to market?

JN: The most difficult part of bringing this product line to market was the development of four custom tooled packaging components in a very accelerated timeline. In design, we need to always consider the overall concept, manufacturing capabilities to produce the packaging we want, and the user experience. We had a big and beautiful vision for this line with the goal of an elegant end result that celebrated our Ayurvedic heritage. That said it was imperative for us to be aware of what our manufacturers could do in a timely fashion and absolutely ensure that our guests would not just love the look of the packages, but most importantly be able to easily use them to acquire the product. It was vital that we always kept a strong balance among each important need.

JM: Is there a color-coded component?

JN: The amber-colored glass is inspired by an apothecary aesthetic, and the green color palette of the unit cartons underscores the high-performing botanical technology in the formulas.

JM: Please describe the symbolism and graphics included on the packaging.

JN: The Tulasara™ Concentrates and Radiant Oleation Oil are housed in glass bottles inspired by design cues of a traditional apothecary with a box that is made of 100% post-consumer recycled fiber. The three-sided shape of the bottles is inspired by the three doshas of Ayurveda —Vata, Pitta, Kapha— while the bottom of the bottle is representative of the A of the Aveda logo.

Each bottle features its own unique, hand-drawn symbol that represents its combined dosha/elements: Vata: Infinity/Air; Pitta: Fire; and Kapha: Water/Earth. Ayurveda tells us that the essences of these five natural elements are found in all living things, including the guest: Infinity is the space we inhabit; Air is the dynamic wind; Fire is the transforming flame; Water is the flowing change; Earth is the stable planet.

The all-natures symbol, designed to reflect the heart, is a reflection of the spirit of Tulasara™, bringing all into balance. In the Ayurvedic tradition, when certain elements are out of balance, it is reflected in the skin. At Aveda, we use this Ayurvedic lens to identify the imbalance and help bring the skin back into balance with our Tulasara™ advanced performance skin care products, rituals, and facial treatments.

Tulasara™ Wedding Masque Overnight and Tulasara™ Wedding Masque Eye Overnight are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled fiber boxes adorned with an intricate lattice pattern inspired by traditional Indian wedding customs, including botanical motifs and henna. The pattern reflects two Indian techniques: Henna painting which is used for temporary tattoos in a traditional Indian wedding and Thankgka painting, a Northern Indian style which is omnipresent in the décor of a traditional Indian wedding.

Even the color palette of the packaging was kept pale so as to appear fresh, in homage to a wedding.

JM: Is the “planet-respecting packaging” detailed on the packaging so consumers are aware of the story behind the line?

JN: The specific story is not on the packaging or bottles as we let the package’s beautiful design and artwork speak for itself.

JM: How do you envision this range/packaging evolving?

JN: We don’t want to give too much away, but can say that the future products for the line will definitely be in the spirit of Tulasara™.

JM: Any other packaging info that would be of interest to our readers?

JN:  As far as the packaging specifics: Cartons are 100% PCR Fiber, FSC Certified; Brush is 100% PCR, Estée Lauder Resin Bank Resin; Jars are 100% PCR PET. 

Jim Neri

Jim Neri is the Vice President of Global Package Development for the Estée Lauder Companies leading package development for Aveda, Bumble & Bumble, Origins and the Aramis and Designer Fragrances Division. He has been with the Estée Lauder Companies for more than 10 years, and more than 25 years professionally in package development for such companies as Diageo, Avon Products, Elizabeth Arden and Unilever.

Aveda Wedding Masque: A Special Event Design Story

The design story is a fascinating one, especially for the overnight masques. As noted by Jim Neri, Aveda’s Tulasara Wedding Masque Overnight and Wedding Masque Eye Overnight treatment products come packaged in cartons decorated with an intricate filigree pattern inspired by traditional Indian customs and weddings, including botanical motifs and henna.
“We wanted a package that would reflect Aveda’s Ayurvedic heritage and was also special, like a wedding,” says Shannon Grant, Aveda’s design director, who adds that a lot of thoughtful research went into the box. “Our goal was to honor this beautiful tradition of the Haldi ceremony and India,” says Grant.
Not only does the pattern reflect two quintessentially Indian techniques—Henna painting and Thankgka painting—the drawing itself has meaning, as well. “You’ll see two main images, a peacock, which symbolizes integrity and beauty, and the conch, which stands for longevity and prosperity,” Grant explains.
The placement of the design was deliberate as well. Given that the box is small, the illustration appears to be simply a detail of a much larger drawing (just as a henna wedding tattoo is impossible to see in one eyeful as it spreads over fingers, palms, and arms). The nature-inspired motif reinforces Aveda’s commitment to imparting beauty through natural means.
The illustrator who drew the design, Paul Khera, was able to consult leading Ayurvedic experts throughout the development of the Tulasara Wedding Masque Overnight and Wedding Masque Eye Overnight to ensure that all of the line’s cultural references were respectful of their origin.