1-Packaging of Cosmetic Products

The primary aim of packaging is to protect the product form air, light,heat , cold, moisture,dust, dirt, etc.

Louis Cheskin in his book “ Why people Buy” has brough out the finding of an extensive research conducted by him on colour and design in packaging ,and in one of the chapters states .” All humans judge a book by its cover , coffee by its container and the man by the clothes he “wears”.It is obviously clear that eye appeal and aesthetic packaging are the prime factors that motivate “impulse buying “,which is so very important in the merchandising and marketing of cosmetics .In the packaging of cosmetics and perfumery ,this “ impulse buying”is all the more necessary in the context of toady cosmetic merchandising practices, which distribute through numerous department stores, super markets and even conventional retail outlets wherein your particular brand has to compete with similar products,both for consumer attention and shelf space .It is hence essential that one’s product be an eye catcher that would stop the consumer in his tracks and make him aware of the particular brand.

Motivation research has indicated further that the brand name should suggest the level of income or the status enjoyed by the consumer. It has been found is the merchandising of Mess Toiletries that brand names such as “Executive,Top Brass” etc.have been successful as they both cover masculinity as well as social position.It may be made very clear here and now that no amount of dressing up in the outer packaging can make or compensate for an intrinsically inferior product. Repeat sales, which govern the financial success of a product, demand that actual quality of the product be in keeping with the image of quality shows by the exterior packaging.

Cosmetic packaging like any other form of packaging must meet the definition as already gives at the beginning and as such should protect the product both from the weather and exterior contamination. It should be borne is mind that cosmetics should be treated as “perishables” and cannot be marketed is the same manner as other consumer products which have an indefinite shelf like. The factors to be borne in mind are listed here below. Enumerating the effect and possible means of mitigating these adverse effects.

  • Air
    Air is the main cause of oxidation and rancidity in most cosmetic products. Though this can be controlled by the addition of suitable anti- oxidants. It should be borne is mind that anti-oxidants only retard the oxidation process but do not eliminate it. Air also is responsible for cosmetic driage and air-borne bacterial contamination .These can however, be controlled to a certain extent by the inclusion of humectants and bacteriostatic agents.
  • Light
    Discoloration of cosmetic products is invariably caused by the action of ultra – violet light, which would also be responsible for polymerization of certain perfumery ingredients. While it is not advisable from a marketing stand point to control this effect by the use of amber jars as is done in the Pharmaceutical industry the effect ,however, can be mitigated by the use of light absorbers , which have recently been released on the market.
  • Heat
    Heat accentuates the oxidation and driage problem and also effects the stability of various emulsion type cosmetics .Certain amount of insulation can be achieved by the use of double – walled jars, which provide an air gap between the outer and the inner,
  • Cold
    Extremes of cold can cause marked changes in the consistency of a cosmetic, and worse still can lead to an emulsion spilt .The effect of cold again can be mitigated by the use of suitable insulation as mentioned earlier.

Cosmetic Packaging Materials

The material that has been traditionally used for the packaging of cosmetics is GLASS. In India glass is available in four types:

  • Soda Glass
  • Sulphated glass (treated to reduce surface alkalinity)
  • Neutral Glass
  • Borosilicate glass

The type normally used in the cosmetic industry is the soda glass, which at times may be given and acid wash in order to reduce surface alkalinity, when necessary to pack products that are susceptible to pH changes. The neutral glass and borosilicate glass are normally used by the Pharmaceutical industry and for very specialized equipment .Glass has a great advantage in that it scarcely presents any compatibility problem, as it is completely impervious and practically inert. The packaging of cosmetics, however, demands not only high quality glass, but also expertise in blowing the glass to attractive shapes and designs. The French Perfumery Industry despite its expertise in blending only found its feet when it obtained support from the Glass Industry, which turned out beautiful perfume flasks and bottles of clear. Crystal glass. In India due to raw material inadequacies .it is extremely difficult to obtain the desired clarity and even the so- called water – white glass invariably has a green tint and innumerable air bubbles. It is so seldom that a label has to be judiciously placed in order to conceal a flaw in the glass. The installation of automatic glass blowing plants have decreased the number of air bubbles and have provided greater dimensional control ,but the problem of the green tint still persists .Glass faces a major disadvantage due to its fragility and weight.
The other traditional material used in cosmetic packaging is tinplate. Tinplate is obtained by a surface coating of mild steel sheets either by a dipping or electrolytic process. Tin, however, is a material which is in short supply the world over and more so in India due to the shortage of foreign exchange .It is time that the industry took note of the progressive shortage of tinplate and switched to other materials for the packaging of cosmetic items. There is already a move in Government circles to restrict the use of tinplate only to the packaging of food and other specialized end uses. Extensive work has already been conducted on the packaging of cosmetics in M.S. plate which has been coated wish suitable protective resins and this plate could successfully be used so replace tinplate in the packaging of Talcum Powder and other dry cosmetic, the decorative print on this plate is not as good as that on tinplate.

As a substitute for the metal container for the packaging of Talcum Powder considerable work has also been done on the evolution of a non- metallic container called “the composite container”. This is basically a paper container suitably laminated and water –proofed, having only a metal closure at the top and bottom. A word of caution in the use of this container is that India as a whole experiences extremes in temperatures and climates and hence these composite containers should be subject to long – range studies in respect of perfume losses, and effect of humidity.

The field of metal containers other than the tinplate containers mentioned above mainly deals with aluminum containers, both rigid and collapsible .The rigid aluminum containers are seldom used for the packaging of the cosmetics though they fine considerable use in the Pharmaceutical Industry for the packaging of tablets and other medicaments. The collapsible tubes find extensive items of cosmetics and toiletries .The collapsible tubes have great advantage in that they do not expose their contents to atmospheric oxidation or bacterial or fungal contamination .The collapsible tube has been described as “the container that is always full” namely that no space within the container is empty at any stage of its usages. These aluminum collapsible tubes could be obtained with a variety of internal epoxy lacquer which could be tailor made to solve most compatibility problems. The major drawback of these collapsible aluminum tubes is that the tube presents a rather shabby appearance when it has been used for a while and as such it is hardly a package that would be found on a lady’s dressing table. As a substitute for the collapsible aluminium tube, plastic packaging has been designed to produce plastic collapsible tubes, which have overcome the problem of the distorted tube on Milady’s dressing table, the plastic tube regains it is shapes even though the tube is half full. This, however, does pose stability and a contamination problem in that the external air could be sucked into the tube, which could result in bacterial spoilage .In India this form of packaging has not been much accepted as the extruded polyethylene which is normally used for its manufactures, poses a major perfume permeation problem. In Western countries, the permeation problem has been overcome to an extent by exterior epoxy resin coating, but even tubes thus treated are subject to distortion on prolonged keeping because of the basic incompatibility between the polyethylene and the product.

Paper and board as packaging components play an important role in the packaging of cosmetic .The packaging can be divided into two main paper classes namely “the primary package”, which comes directly into contact with the product, and “the secondary package” namely cartons, which are very widely used in cosmetic packaging. At times expensive qualities of paper are utilized in order to maintain the eye – appeal of the product. The secondary paper packages usually contain a primary pack send as a bottle, a tube, a jar etc. The main primary pack used in cosmetic packaging is the Face Powder box, the manufacture of which is based mainly on manual labour. It is thus difficult to maintain exact dimensional specifications with the results that quite often one faces difficulties in fitting the Face Powder top to the drum, which actually holds the powder. This problem is even more so when one tempted to use tops made of plastic or metal, which are turned out to exact dimensions on a machine and thus have little give .The local cosmetic industry suffers from the lack of really high grade papers and boards needed for cosmetic packaging. As a consequence,it is necessary to varnish the cartons which create a problem of its own in that the varnish has a tendency to yellow on keeping and at times ,if the varnish is not properly formulated, the cartons have a tendency to adhere one to the other. In advanced countries, most of the cartooning is done by machines which are very sensitive, in that they trip due to even slight variation in the gauge of the paper or board, which goes to make up the carton. One should be cautioned about the importation of sophisticated cartooning machinery as the quality of gauge of the paper locally manufactured is not very constant. Efforts are being made to have the local papers finished with a plastic coating which does give gloss and certain brilliance to the base color .There is evidence to prove that such coated papers have a tendency to collect dust by means of electrostatic charges generated on the surface.

The field of cosmetic packaging is fast entering into the PLASTIC AGE. Under the general head “Plastic” one could cover various materials which could give sufficient matter for a series of lectures on that subject alone .Before dealing with the various plastic materials themselves,it would be helpful to make it clear right here and now, that each type of plastic material has to be subjected to compatibility studies independently and that the studies conducted on one particular material do not necessarily apply to containers made of a different plastic material. The main advantage of plastics is that they lend themselves to a variety of design and colour, which with imagination could be blended into really attractive packages for cosmetic products. Furthermore, the plastic materials are also much lighter in weight and hence vast economic can be effected on freight costs. The prices of plastic materials have been on the decline and the fact that various new units are being launched, should maintain this trend.

The plastics commonly used in the cosmetic industry are Urea Formaldehyde, Polyethylene and Polystyrene .Urea Formaldehyde is a thermosetting plastic and has been usage for quite some years. The costs of this material are high, both in the basic material as well as conversion costs. In general ,this material is not being used much in the cosmetic industry, but does still find usage for the manufacture of caps for Product that normally pose compatibility problems. A case pertinent to this comment is caps for Nail Enamel bottles , as the solvents in the Nail Enamel dissolve normal polystyrene .Polyethylene is widely used for the manufacture of cosmetic bottles which can subsequently be printed in attractive colors. This material also is widely used as it produces a squeeze type pack whereby only the required quantity of the produced can be ejected. Polyethylene is used to quite an extent in advanced countries for producing sachets and “one shot” packs for products such as shampoos, hair rinses and the like. Polyethylene is at present available both in the low density grades ,and has the advantage of being free from additives such as stabilizers and plasticizes .The material, however ,is permeable to perfume oils and has poor resistance to hydrocarbons. The material is not odour barrier, though the high density grade is less permeable but is simultaneously more rigid and thereby loses its flexibility .Due to the incompatibility in oily liquids and specially in essential oils, polyethylene has a tendency to get distorted and lose shape.The great advantage of polyethylene lies in its light weight and its great resilience, whereby this packages can withstand various transit hazards to which a pack is normally subjected ,in this country.

Polystyrene ,on the other hand, gives a much better surface finish and present fewer compatibility problems, yet faces the disadvantage of being fragile and thus liable to in-transit breakage .Polystyrene is available both in the General Purpose grade as well as in the High impact grade, the latter contains a rubberized components, thereby rendering it more resistance to shock .It may be emphasized that the compatibility studies conducted on General Purpose Polystyrene do not apply to the High Impact material,as various perfume oils have a tendency to react with the rubber components in the high impact grade. Polystyrene is normally used for the manufacture of cream jars, shaving stick containers and the like. Recently polystyrene is being used for the manufacture of blow – molded bottles and vacuum – formed components.

Polyvinyl Chloride, which is popularly known as PVC is finding increased usages in cosmetic packaging due to its suitability for packaging oily materials and even semi-solid hydropcarbons.PVC is being manufactured in sufficient quantities at the present time and combines the best aspects of glass and plastic, viz. clarity and impact resistance .PVC has proven itself to be fairly inert and hence superior to Polyethylene on practionally all counts. In America it is being widely used for the packaging of cosmetic and toiletry products including Shampoo,Bath, Oils,Cream rinses and Lotions.One word of caution in that PVC by itself is a fairly rigid material and hence requires the incorporation of plasticizers .Which could leach out into the product , causing compatibility problems and also presenting a dermal irritation potential.

The other material which is finding increasing use the Cosmetic packaging is polypropylene .This material lend itself to easy moulding and provides a perfect surface finish, which can either by printed or now stamped with suitable stamping material. Polypropylene by virtue of its great flexibility makes an excellent material for all types of conventionally hinged containers such as flaps jacks , mascara boxes etc. as both the top and the base could be injection moulded in one shot with polypropylene flap acting as a built –in hinge. Polypropylene is scheduled for manufactures in the petrochemical complex very early and it is hence worthwhile undertaking compatibility studies right at this stage, should one visualize using material in the near future.

The field of flexible Packaging includes papers in its various forms, cellulose film, polyethylene film, PVC,film , polyethylene film and other plastic films as also metallic foil and combination of two or more of these films as laminates. Flexible packaging has the advantage of being heat- sealable and virtually resistant to shocks. As of today, these flexible films and laminates are not much used for the packaging of cosmetic product within the country, but as mentioned earlier,in advanced countries this form of packaging is used to quite an extent for “one shot” packs ,which find use whilst travelling or on weekend trips.Flexible packaging is very much used in the country for the packaging of pharmaceutical product.

The Aerosol packaging form has completely revolutionized cosmetic packaging in the west and pretty near all types of cosmetics are available in self dispensing aerosol packs. Form a variety of propellants tried out,the choice today rests with the halogenated hydrocarbons sold under brand names send as Freons ,Arctons,Fringes and in this county Mafrons.It is only very recently that the propellants are being manufactures indigenously as also the cans are now available both in tinplate and monobloc aluminum.The manufactures of precision valves ,however ,presents a major problem and, it would be necessary to import these valves till such time as suitable and serviceable valves are manufactured indigenously .However ,it is understood that one of the international packaging companies has been licensed for the manufacture of valves and is seriously considering indigenous manufacture as an auxiliary to the aerosol cans, which they are at present marketing .One of the latest developments in the aerosol filed is the “Sepro Can” which keeps the product away from the propellants and thus avoids compatibility problems between the product and the propellant. According to the latest information, in the Bombay region very large filling capacity on sophisticated high volume filling equipment. Utilised only to about 5 % is open to contract filling. The main drawback towards the larger volume in the aerosol packaging is due to the high costs of the propellants, cans and imported valves. Experts in the field feel that prior to launching any product in the aerosol package, the product should be shelf tested for a minimum period of nine month. This procedure is essential as perfumes have been known to change note and also corrosion problems and leakage manifest themselves only with time.

As mentioned earlier, cosmetic packaging has to be aesthetic and have definite eye appeal. Based on this premises, a very lucrative business is being built up in the west in the field of Gift Packaging. Furthermore, in order to boost up sales, various commemorative days are created by the trade such as Mother’s Day and the like.This is over and above conventional gift days such as X’max, birthdays, and other anniversaries .In recent times, newer packaging forms are being adopted in this country, such as the blister pack, the skin pack, the cocoon pack etc. which lends themselves to very attractive display and gift packs, With imagination, these packaging forms can be profitably utilized to develop gift packs that would be eye catching and a joy to the receiver.

It is a pity indeed that various Government agencies are independently and separately issuing legislations requiring particular matter to be included on the cosmetic label. The Drug and Cosmetic Act requires that the label include details pertaining to net contents, batch number, manufacturing license and the name and the address of the manufacture. In respect of Spirituous Product ,the State Government in the rules framed under the Medicinal and Toilet Preparation ACT, insists on similar details and in addition require the alcoholic strength to be mentioned on the label. Furthermore, it is required that product such as Eau – de –Cologne and Eau – De- Toilette be suitably denatured and consequently bear a label. “Harmful if taken internally.” The Central Government in the excise Department, who also govern the manufacture of most cosmetics, require that the label bear the Central Excise manufacturing number. The Ministry of Commerce and industry under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958,require that every pack have the legend “ Made in India” in size not less than 2 mm. From this it is obvious that the designer of a cosmetic pack has quite a problem in incorporating all this copy on the pack and still maintain its aesthetic balance and eye appeal. While it is true that this information does provide consumer protection and facilities the various Government Department in the execution of their duties,it must be admitted that some sort of rationalization and co – ordination between the various Government Department would definitely result in a considerable decrease in the amount of copy that has to be printed on the label as required by present legislation.

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