4 Beauty Packaging Trends To Watch

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Guest Blogpost by Kelsey Anderson, Strategist at Interbrand

In any market, trends come and go faster than most companies can react. In the beauty world, those trends turn over faster than almost any other sector. As beauty products evolve, so too must their packaging. We’ve identified four emerging trends to take note of—ranging from smart labels to K-pop influenced designs.

On The Go

US consumers are already busy, and they’re only getting busier. Savvy manufacturers and brands, like Stowaway Cosmetics, (pictured top) have taken notice and are working on portable solutions for the time-poor beauty consumer.

This trend comes, in part, from the research conducted by Minimod, which uncovered that consumers are using their full-sized products more frequently in away-from-home situations, often storing them in spaces like desk drawers, purses, and glove compartments.

As a result, companies are developing more compact and less breakable products. Stowaway Cosmetics has made waves in the market for dedicating itself entirely to portable sizes and beautiful but durable packaging. The brand’s tagline, “Makeup you’ll love in sizes you can carry and finish, before it expires,” resonates with today’s busy consumers. This unique brand proposition has landed Stowaway Cosmetics in publications ranging from Fast Company to Cosmopolitan.

Eco-Friendly

As consumers have begun recognizing their impact on the planet, many have shifted toward greener lifestyles—a trend which has slowly been picked up within the beauty segment, influencing both product and packaging. The rise of 3D printing has led to a skip forward in this trend, as products and packaging can be printed with biodegradable materials, and in smaller quantities to reduce waste.

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Eco-friendly packaging often has a reputation for feeling cheap and low-quality. But now premium brands are developing chicer green alternatives, incorporating natural or colorless closures (instead of metallic ones), sustainable wood touches like natural bamboo, and high-quality recycled plastics.

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Additionally, this eco-awareness has driven premium brands to pay attention to the amount of extra packaging they’re using. As a result, manufacturers and brands like Caudalíe—a company that specializes in anti-aging products and uses recycled material in its packaging — have begun printing informational material on the inside of cartons, thereby using both sides for consumer benefit and drastically reducing waste.

Kidult/K-pop

Korea’s beauty trends have not only impacted the types of products we buy—we can thank Korea for the universal popularity of BB cream—but also the packaging we’re drawn to.

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Humorous, playful packaging has entered the mainstream and heavily resembles the popular Gwiyomi (meaning “cute”) trend from Korea, which manifests in packaging ranging from cutesy confectionary shapes like macaroons to adorable pandas, rabbits, and even tigers.

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Where brands used to gravitate towards neutral, monochromatic pallets, they’re now incorporating highly pigmented, bright colors and retro pastels with bold, metallic shapes into their labeling. Additionally, abstract patterns and illustrative, children’s book-style graphics are providing fun, yet sophisticated, background textures for quirky and contemporary packages that appeal to nostalgic millennials and their Gen Z children.

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Smart

A study done by Google in May 2015 found that 82% of smartphone users turn to their devices for help with product purchase decisions while in the store aisle. It’s no wonder, then, that “smart” packaging has already started to enter the highly social beauty segment.

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LED and NFC technology enable brands to print information on their packages that consumers can only access with their smartphones. Technology manufacturer Thinfilm has developed an NFC sensor tag called OpenSense™ that allows users to see if products have been opened before they buy them.

NFC technology doesn’t need to be limited to safety, however; it can also be used to inform and engage consumers. In-aisle and in-pack communications between consumers and brands through NFC-enabled messages can range from how-to videos to links to reviews by popular bloggers, and even cross-promotional partnerships.

Eyes Wide Open

In today’s fast-moving world, trends can change without much warning. One thing is for sure though — the fast-paced lifestyle and desire for more environmentally friendly products isn’t going anywhere. What may flex, however, is just how this desire comes to life through innovative packaging. Keep an eye on these trends to see how they influence new product launches and consumer preferences.