Lalique’s 2018 Limited Edition fragrance, Seduction, is decorated with a three-dimensional snake design that wraps around the flacon. The bottle is crystal—the luxurious type of glass that is known for superior clarity and heavier weight. Each is numbered and signed.
For Lalique’s new collection launching in September, Mon Premier Cristal, three perfumers were asked to think about “the look, emotion and sensation of crystal as a classic luxury material” when formulating the scents. The bottles feature a bird pattern and vertical ribbed design. (Read more about them on BeautyPackaging.com)
While crystal isn’t standard for fragrance flacons and skin care jars, ordinary glass is also being molded and decorated in statement-making ways. “The consumer automatically equates a glass package with an expensive product—and as more desirable than a comparable product in plastic,” says François Damide, founder and CEO, Crafting Beauty.
Package designers and glass molders agree that glass has a specific look and feel that can’t be replicated using other materials. “Glass symbolizes luxury,” says Marc Rosen, principal of Marc Rosen Associates.
Rosen says he is fascinated with how glass is made, and this adds to its allure. “Glass-making is an ancient process that hasn’t changed in over a century. Molders have perfected the use of sand and heat through the years, using different types of sands from all over the world to create bottles with more clarity and different features. But essentially, we are using the same ancient techniques today,” he says.
Glass molders often have a proprietary “recipe,” but the steps in the glass-making process remain standard. “Glass is usually made from readily available domestic materials, including sand, soda ash, limestone and cullet, the industry term for furnace-ready scrap glass. These materials are mixed, or batched, then heated to a temperature of 2600 to 2800 degrees Fahrenheit, and molded into the desired shape,” according to the Glass Packaging Institute, a trade association that represents the North American glass container industry.
Even an “ancient process,” however, can evolve and be influenced by innovation. Glass molders and suppliers are continually coming up with new ways to transform the material, and inspire beauty brands and package designers in new ways.
Verescence has recently introduced Mineral Glass, a unique type inspired by Murano glass. It is highlighted by colored waves on the inside. “Each bottle is unique, which emphasizes the artisan look of the final product,” says Sheherazade Chamlou, vice president of global marketing.
Numerous Reasons to Choose Glass
Nearly all fragrances are housed in glass due to the alcohol content that perfume contains. Skin care brands, however, choose glass for various reasons. “The consumer reacts to the feeling of ‘purity’ that glass represents when they see a skin care product in a glass bottle or jar,” says Rosen. “It may evoke memories of glass milk bottles from their childhood. Plus, if the package has some weight to it, the consumer feels there is something ‘substantial’ inside—so it can convey ‘efficacy.’ ” he continues.
Mike Warford, director of sales, ABA Packaging, says more of his skin care customers are requesting glass packaging. “Glass offers containment properties and ensures compatibility with many types of product formulations. These are the reasons we often hear from our customers,” he says.
The Glass Packaging Institute states: “Glass is non-porous and impermeable, so there are no interactions between glass packaging and products. Plus, it has an ‘almost zero’ rate of chemical interactions, ensuring that the products inside a glass bottle keep their strength and aroma.”
Olga Bursac, vice president, sales and marketing, Bormioli Luigi, says the growth in the skin care category is one factor that is driving the demand for glass packaging. “We’re seeing growth in skin care, as well as in the home fragrances and decorative candles markets. These segments have yet to reach their peak potential. With this in mind, we have just completed the purchase of the Bormioli Rocco Tableware division in Italy, where we will have new production capabilities that include supplying glass jars for skin care products, candles and home fragrances.”
One of the most obvious disadvantages of glass is its fragility, which can be especially worrisome for consumers that keep skin care products in the bathroom. Verescence is addressing this issue with its latest exclusive innovation—unbreakable glass. “Unbreakable glass is a new spray technology that wraps the glass like a second skin, making it resistant to breakage while maintaining its intrinsic properties,” says Chamlou. “This technology makes it easier to travel with products packaged in glass,” she adds.
Heavy Bottoms Are Key
Glass bottles with double walls, as well as bases that look or feel heavy, symbolize “luxury,” experts say. Jason Wu recently launched his namesake scent in a bottle modeled after the designer’s “Box Clutch” handbag. The bottle has a thick base, topped with a circular gold cap that looks like the bag’s handle.
Crafting Beauty produced and supplied the packaging for the Natalie fragrance, a tribute to Natalie Wood. The 100ml glass bottle has a heavyweight base.
Nateeva, a new collection of fragrances based on travel destinations, chose a square stock bottle with a heavyweight base.
John Pyrzenski, vice president of sales, Stoelzle Glass USA says, “A glass bottle with a heavier weight directly influences consumer perception of quality and prestige.”
ABA Packaging’s Warford, agrees, saying, “The physical weight of a bottle or jar often defines ‘the level of luxury’ for the consumer. Heavyweight bottles and jars exude luxury.”
“Bottles with heavy glass bottoms were impossible to do years ago when I started out as a designer,” says Rosen. “Now, glass-makers have perfected this style.” Rosen also remembers when controlling the glass was an issue for molders. “You couldn’t do flat shoulders. Controlling the glass was such a challenge that for every bottle that was good, often ten were rejected,” he explains.
This made certain designs cost-prohibitive. “Today, the glass can be controlled beautifully,” Rosen adds.
Estal utilizes its innovative glass-making technique, DobleAlto, to create bottles that have a “double base.” By allowing an extreme amount of glass to accumulate at a bottle’s base, a large air bubble forms. This technique increases the overall height of a bottle, without increasing the total amount of glass needed for manufacturing.
Even though they are not heavier in weight, they appear to be. Bottles with a larger base and greater height have a greater shelf presence and can differentiate a brand, the company says. The supplier used this technique for its Lumiere jar (above).
Two New Fragrance Bottles That Tell a Brand’s Story
Suppliers continually work with brands to transform glass in unique ways to tell a story about a product, especially when it is a fragrance. “I always advise my customers to create packaging that is ‘right’ for their brand,” says Crafting Beauty’s Damide. He explains, “I often say that when a customer looks at your fragrance bottle, they should be convinced that it holds the olfactive essence of your brand.”
La Perla, known for its lingerie that is made in Italy, recently launched the La Mia Perla fragrance under a licensing agreement with CB Beauty. The bottle’s design connects with the brand’s story. “The rose gold flacon with white detailing holds the scent in a suspended pearl shape,” the brand states. This unexpected sphere shape in the center of the bottle shines.
The “pearl,” or sphere, also reflects the fragrance’s composition, which is by master perfumer Honorine Blanc. Rather than a classic pyramid structure, the fragrance’s notes are arranged in “a circular, pearl-shaped composition,” Blanc states.
Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum, the jeweler’s signature fragrance, is launching exclusively at Bloomingdale’s in August before rolling out to other retailers in October. The glass flacon “gleams” with a hint of blue juice, the brand states. Reminiscent of Tiffany jewels, the bottle features elaborate diamond-cut faceting at the base, with geometric shoulder lines that mirror the look of the Tiffany Lucida-cut diamond engagement ring.
The sparkling floral musk, created by master perfumer Daniela Andrier of Givaudan, features iris flower.
Stock Bottles Look Luxe
When a brand doesn’t have a budget for a custom-molded glass package, choosing the right stock design is essential. Several suppliers offer numerous options that are in stock and ready to use.
“Heavyweight stock bottles look luxurious, and we offer affordable options in small quantities,” says ABA’s Warford. “This is so important for start-up brands. We offer many bottles and jars in unique shapes, which will allow a brand to establish an identity,” he says.
It is the more “generic” bottle shapes that are often most popular, however. “Many of our customers decide on a bottle in a standard shape, such as cylinder, rectangular and square. They prefer classic lines, and will establish brand identity through the use of decoration,” Warford says.
Stoelzle recently revamped its stock option portfolio for both perfumery and cosmetics. “We created an on-stock pallet program for a selection of references, and offer a Private Collection: five 100ml bottles in timeless shapes. They have an FEA 15 finish, which is standard for stock glass bottles for luxury fragrances,” says Pyrzenski.
Heinz-Glas offers a large range of standard flacon lines by “GlasMeisterWerke,” and one luxe design called the “Kingsline.”
Verescence has recently come out with two new stock lines that it says “keep up with the latest trends.” They are called Bowie and Ellipsea. “Bowie is our new androgynous range, and it is perfect for a niche fragrance. The full round-shaped shoulders dress up the bottle’s slender, elliptic body. It also has a thick base,” says Chamlou. Ellipsea includes both bottles and jars with an elegant, slender silhouette. “The oval-shaped jars feature sophisticated contours and generous curves,” adds Chamlou.
Apothecary-Inspired Shapes for Farmaesthetics
When a skin care line promotes its natural formulations based on the simplicity of “vintage” ingredients, glass bottles are the perfect vessel.
Farmaesthetics is a line of natural skin care and bath/body products that have an apothecary-inspired look, and most of its products are housed in glass. The brand’s products include serums, which are traditionally in glass dropper bottles, but its cleansers and moisturizers are also in glass, fitted with pump dispensers.
“Glass is beautiful, traditional and luxurious. It speaks to the quality of the product inside the bottle. It is also a sound choice, environmentally,” says Brenda Brock, founder and formulator, Farmaesthetics.
More importantly, Brock says she chose glass for practical reasons. “In traditional herbal formulations, packaging is an essential part of the product’s preservation system. Plastic is porous, and over time, diminishes the properties of natural ingredients. Our glass bottles help to sustain the active ingredients in our formulations, which are all 100% natural. Our packaging is designed to extend product shelf life and the efficacy of the ingredients,” explains Brock.
Farmaesthetics’ new Nutrient Dense Fine Facial Oil is in a frosted glass Boston round bottle. The brand’s new Vassar Rose Skin Perfecting Collection is a four-piece facial treatment set that includes Fine Herbal Cleanser, Vassar Rose Perfecting Polish, and Nourishing Lavender Milk, all in 1oz glass bottles, plus Complexion Conserve Remedy Reserve Serum in a 2 dram glass vial.
Dior’s Seamless Look
Suppliers continually come up with ideas for molding bottles and jars in innovative ways. Christian Dior’s Hydra Life skincare collection is in glass jars—and Verescence says it is the first glass jar molded without a seam.
All bottle molds typically leave “evidence” of the joints—the places where the mold pieces come together. “This ‘evidence’ can be obvious or subtle,” says Chamlou. “To make a glass jar without a mold seam is one of our most exciting innovations. It requires absolute control during the glass-making process, and ensures that the jar looks smooth all around,” she explains.
Verescence produced Dior’s Hydra Life jars with its extra flint glass, which shines. “This ultra-premium glass has a brighter and more crystalline luminance. We decorated three of the jars in the collection with an all-over frosted effect lacquer in red, pink and orange, while the moisturizing cream has a colorless anti-UV lacquer,” says Chamlou. The product name is screen-printed in gray on the front, with the product’s instructions screen-printed on the back in white.
Verescence is able to achieve perfect transparency using its formula for extra flint glass. This formula was developed in 2015 when they cultivated a new composition for high luminance glass. This ultra-premium glass is used to achieve a brighter and more crystalline luminance which shines brightly through the glass.
Innovative Decorating Techniques for Glass
Sprays, treatments, coatings and finishes will give glass bottles different looks. “In terms of decoration, there is nothing that can’t be done today,” says Rosen. “There are techniques being done now that were unheard of years ago.” he says.
Stoelzle says it is vertically integrated, which allows its team to design and manufacture a fully decorated glass container that meets a brand’s vision. “We utilize multi-color screen printing, raised hot-stamping, spraying, acid etching, and ink jet printing to deliver premium glass packaging,” says Pyrzenski.
ABA Packaging has teamed up with Standwill Packaging Inc. to develop, manufacture, and apply high quality labels to glass bottles and jars. “This is a continued part of our initiative to offer ‘one-stop-shop’ options,” says Warford. “Our customers appreciate the fact that labels can offer a cost-effective option for unique effects and multi-color decorations,” he says.
Crafting Beauty’s Damide also discusses labels, saying that it is an often overlooked but elegant type of decoration. “More brands are taking cues from Chanel and are decorating glass with oversized labels. Though some would describe this technique to be “simple and plain.” it brings a level of refined elegance to the packaging that does not distract from the juice inside,” he says.
Estal offers several types of decorating techniques that can be utilized to customize a bottle or jar, including one that features its DobleAlto oversized base. “We can decorate the bottom using laser etching, screen-printing or embossing,” says Marta Falguera, markeing manager, Estal. One example is combining a laser-etched decoration with a partial gradient-frosted coating and metallization, to make sure a brand’s logo pops.
“We are also specialists in managing projects, and work with our customer to achieve results that meet goals, including improving value, utilizing new technologies or enhancing a package’s functionality,” says Falguera. Estal recently opened a new showroom in Barcelona to work more closely with its customers on custom designs.
Heinz-Glas is partnering with GST to offer colored coatings that are applied to the inside of glass bottles. “These can highlight the inner glass surface, a massive glass bottom, or external decorations. This decoration also creates eye-catching light effects between the inside and outside of a bottle,” the supplier explains. Heinz-Glas offers this type of decoration in any color, including translucent and opaque, in metal-free pigments.
Another notable decoration that Heinz offers is Glitter Printing. This decorating process was used on the YSL Black Opium fragrance bottle. More recently, the supplier gave the Olympea fragrance bottle a high-end finish using a decoration mask and metallization.
Verescence’s Chamlou says a great way to differentiate a stock bottle is to change its outside shape using fine engravings. “We have developed a Fine Art laser engraving process. This creates a ‘fine engravings relief’ on the glass surface. It is very precise and can be done on all faces of a bottle including flat shoulders,” she says.
This technique is featured on Prada La Femme’s fragrance bottles. “Fine engraving can also be done using camera registration for extreme accuracy,” Chamou says. “For example, on the Prada bottle, the delicate fine logo is decorated using a pad printing operation in light gold which further highlights the fine engraving,” she adds.
Final Reasons to Choose Glass: It’s ‘Green’
As we’ve seen, glass is practical, protective—and beautiful. It can be transformed in a multitude of ways. Perhaps the most important consideration, however, is that it is “green.”
“Glass has an ‘eco-value’ that is influencing many brands to choose the material,” says ABA’s Warford. “Most all municipalities have effective recycling systems in place, so the process is efficient and uncomplicated. A number of our partners have also invested heavily in adapting to more eco-friendly manufacturing processes and systems,” he says.
The Glass Packaging Institute states: “Glass is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.” More facts: An estimated 80% of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles and, a glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as little as 30 days.
Heinz Glas suggests pairing a glass bottle with a wooden cap for an eco-chic look. “We offer our Kingsline jar and flacon with wooden caps as eco-friendly stock options. The inner part of the cap is made with recycled plastics,” says Maurice Corrigan, sales/engineering, Heinz-Glas USA. See the company's numerous decorating options for glass here.
Verescence offers a sustainable option: NEO infinite glass. The Body Shop’s “The Elixirs of Nature Collection” was produced by Verescence using this material. “We’re able to achieve the same transparent flint glass look as normal flint glass by using a formula made up of 90% recycled materials,” says Chamlou.
Proving “luxe” and “green” is possible, Chamlou adds, “Our production process is also more eco-friendly than normal glass production. In the production of one million NEO infinite glass bottles, we are able to reduce CO2 rejections by 70 tons, save 34 tons of sand, as well as 1.7 tons of limestone.”
Urban Decay’s rollerball is an elegant purse-sized fragrance package.
Consumers—especially Millennials—are driving growth in sales of rollerball and travel size fragrances, Euromonitor reports. Always a step ahead of its trendy customers, Urban Decay launched the limited edition Go Naked Pefume Oil earlier this year, in an elegant rollerball package by Compax.
The bottle’s thick-wall glass and square shape sets this package apart from other rollerball fragrances, giving it a ‘luxe’ look. Customizing the stock glass bottle, Compax used a hot-stamping decorating process and sprayed the bottle’s base with a translucent metallic color for a tinted look.
Compax also designed the custom cap. “The custom cap is the package’s ‘superstar’ piece,” says Jing Santos, sales manager, Compax. Santos adds, “The cap is designed to match Urban Decay’s NAKED Ultimate Basics palette.”
The supplier used several decorating processes on the cap. “It is vacuum metallized, then sprayed with a clear matte finish,” says Santos.
Assembly also required attention to detail. Santos explains, “The two-piece cap is assembled in a specific way, so the ‘UD’ logo on top aligns with the logo on the front of the bottle.”