Covid-19: how will the crisis change beauty packaging?

The coronavirus crisis is raising a host of new questions in terms of beauty packaging formats. In part one of Luxe Packaging Insight's two-part series, we look at existing solutions in the area of hygienic applicators and how suppliers are positioning themselves for the future.
With much being made in the current health crisis of how the virus can linger on surfaces, safety and hygiene worries are a concern for beauty products and packagers are having to adapt, in part by accelerating development of new products that address consumers’ contamination concerns. 

 “Covid-19 is changing mentalities and making consumers aware of reinforced hygiene gestures, so we expect the packaging market to move towards the most hygienic solutions possible,” remarks Alix Bellanné, marketing and communications director at applicator specialist Taiki Cosmetics Europe. This may mean more research into packaging solutions allowing consumers to apply the formula without direct hand contact, she says, coupled with antibacterial treatments.

Avoiding contact with hands—either by not directly touching the face, the formula itself or both—is expected to gain ground. Italian packaging supplier Lumson CEO Matteo Moretti predicts “a boom in touchless packaging options”, while Mintel senior beauty analyst Clare Hennigan says that products addressing contamination concerns by featuring touchless formats and offering extended shelf life will stand out as being “safe and dependable”. 

 “Today’s consumer needs to be reassured,” agrees Maud Lelièvre, marketing and communications director at applicator specialist Cosmogen. “Covid-19 has raised awareness of invisible threats and hygiene issues; the ‘safe contact’ parameter is a new prerequisite for cosmetics packaging.” 

Applicators take center stage 

With the importance of direct-to-face application, beauty packaging company HCT has focused efforts on developing components that “allow for a luxurious and unique application experience, while also serving as a hygienic skincare solution,” according to HCT’s Adrian Apodaca, global director of design engineering. The supplier’s FWD pump, equipped with either a plastic or metal applicator tip, is one example. “Instead of the actuator’s traditional vertical movement, we now allow the applicator to rotate forward while still pushing down and actuating the pump mechanism.” HCT’s Blending foundation stick, meanwhile, features a traditional propel/repel mechanism in its center with an added sponge or silicone ring around the product for direct-to-face application. Here, the applicator can be removed for easy cleaning. 

Cosmogen was a pioneer in touchless beauty solutions back in 2006 with its Squeeze’n range of tubes with integrated applicators; the company is now highlighting the line as part of its ‘Safe Contact’ solutions in response to growing demand. Each applicator in the Squeeze’n range is mounted on a patented sealing system with an on/off rotating head, meaning that the tube can be closed and the applicator washed after use. Available in various sizes and with brush, spatula and ball tips, the range is designed for body, face, hair and targeted area formulas. More recently, the supplier redesigned its Tense Tube, conceived for lip and eye products allowing the zamak applicator tip to be removed and cleaned. 

Companies are also looking at original ways of applying time-tested products. Anne-Laure Linage, color cosmetics marketing director at Albéa, highlights mist applicators for facial skincare (Albéa’s SP22 Panache Pulse sprays droplets onto the skin that are quickly absorbed), and roll-ons in tubes or rigid bottles for serum formulas. However, she believes that 100% touchless packaging will not be the only answer to the post-covid-19 world. “The key will be to provide formulas that remain clean throughout the lifetime of the product and are protected by the pack; those that feature anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic properties and that are easy to apply.”