Clean Beauty’s Impact on Packaging


Clean Beauty’s Impact on Packaging

Clean cosmetics have taken over the health and beauty industry. This trend has its roots in value-based consumerism, where buyers choose products based on their intangible benefits, such as social and environmental friendliness.  Consumers are seeking out cosmetics that promote a healthy body and planet. In response, brands are touting the health and environmental benefits…

Clean Beauty’s Impact on Packaging

Clean cosmetics have taken over the health and beauty industry.

This trend has its roots in value-based consumerism, where buyers choose products based on their intangible benefits, such as social and environmental friendliness. 

Consumers are seeking out cosmetics that promote a healthy body and planet. In response, brands are touting the health and environmental benefits of their products.

Eco-friendly cosmetic packaging is now a must to keep up with the competition and meet the demand for sustainable products.

Here, we dive into how value-driven consumers are impacting and altering the direction of branded beauty retail packaging. 

What Does Clean Really Mean?

Clean cosmetics are now mainstream. But what does ‘clean’ actually mean in the beauty industry?

In short, the definition of clean beauty products is still up for debate.

The term clean covers a wide range of product identifiers. Companies have used claims such as organic, natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and zero-irritants to describe clean cosmetics.

Naturally, these different ideas of what constitutes a clean beauty product are confusing to consumers. One way to distinguish companies who are genuinely trying to meet the ideals of healthy and environmentally friendly products is through labeling.

The Soil Association has stepped in to create the COSMOS global standard for beauty products. The standard helps identify organic and natural brands that are genuinely safe and eco-friendly. Over 22,000 products are certified as natural or organic by COSMOS. 

Health and beauty products are evolving to meet the demands of a changing consumer base and leading to the birth of a clean beauty movement.

The Transition to Clean Cosmetics

Health and beauty product offerings have a broad reach. The market for beauty and personal care was estimated to be worth around $98.05 billion in 2020 in the United States alone.

While the clean movement has taken hold in the cosmetics space, it did not begin there.

It started with food.

Consumers have a heightened awareness and selectivity about what they are putting into their bodies. This phenomenon blossomed into the clean eating trend, which includes eating organic foods, superfoods, and other foodstuffs that are perceived as healthy.

Given the proximity to our bodies, the clean movement has since expanded to include beauty products.

Now, a core part of the beauty industry includes natural and organic products. This trend established itself over the past several years and is still growing.

The global organic beauty market is expanding rapidly. Experts predict it will reach an astounding $25 billion by 2025. The rising demand for clean, natural products and innovations in the beauty product space support this trend.

There would be no clean cosmetics without value-driven consumers. This growing demographic underlies the industry’s shift to eco-friendly products.

Value-Based Consumerism’s Impact on Cosmetics

Consumers today want beauty products that do more than make them look good. They want to feel good too. Clean cosmetics are the answer to buyers’ calls for products that satisfy both of these desires.

While the demand for cosmetics is growing, conscientious consumers are simultaneously raising the bar for cosmetics companies. More and more buyers are considering the social and environmental implications of their purchases.

Younger generations are driving this values based filter to consumption. Right now, millennials make up the largest purchasing group. According to the Nielson Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable brands 

Gen Z holds similar values, and their buying power will increase tremendously in the coming years.

No longer can brands get by on the presentation of their beauty products alone. In addition to quality, more buyers are looking for cosmetics that align with their belief systems. They want products that positively impact their health and the environment.

The clean beauty movement has raised the ethical standards for beauty brands, leading to a demand for sustainable products and eco-friendly packaging.

Cosmetic Packaging and Brand Identity

It is imperative to ensure that all aspects of a brand align to send a strong, cohesive message to consumers.

This means that clean beauty products need clean packaging.

The first opportunity to display a product’s healthy and environmentally conscious stance is through the packaging. Companies can communicate their brand values to buyers through product and, most importantly, retail packaging.

Packaging is core to beauty brand identity. From retail shelves to e-commerce images and unboxing experiences, cosmetic packaging represents an opportunity for brands to communicate who they are to consumers.

Brands can create visual impact through packaging and establish brand messaging. Eye-catching, memorable packaging can help put your brand on the radar and help your company to be successful.

Consumers expect more from packaging than they used to. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, they require eco-and health-conscious brands to demonstrate these values in their packaging.

Therefore, sustainable packaging is a must for any brand embodying social or environmentally conscious values.

Strategies for Developing Eco-friendly Cosmetic Packaging

The first in-person interaction a consumer typically has with a brand involves its retail packaging, especially e-commerce purchases. This is an opportunity to make a positive first impression on buyers.

One simple and straightforward way to demonstrate your brand’s commitment to health and the environment is by incorporating a sustainable approach into business decisions. Creating non-harmful, environmentally friendly cosmetic retail packaging begins with materials sourcing and extends through the entire product lifecycle.

Here are some tips for creating cosmetic retail packaging that both excites customers and benefits the planet.

  1. Use Sustainable Packaging Materials

Paper is an excellent substrate for cosmetic retail packaging. For one, it is more versatile than meets the eye. Paper is easily recyclable or compostable, and packaging service providers can even create reusable products from washable paper.The Forest Stewardship Council and other organizations offer certifications for paper substrates and products. This way, you can make sure that the paper you use to create the packaging is ethically and sustainably sourced. Ethical sourcing means that producers created the paper in a way that protects workers and forests. 

Cork is an underrated cosmetic retail packing option. It can help reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Not only that, but manufacturers can turn the used cork into new products, also known as upcycling. Since it is a natural material, consumers can also choose to compost cork packaging products.

Going GREEN does not have to mean exclusively utilizing plant-based substrates. Recycled plastic helps to reduce the demand for new plastic, and biodegradable/compostable plastic lessens plastic pollution in the environment.

2. Eco-proof Your Packaging Supply Chain

In addition to sourcing, how you manufacture and distribute your cosmetic retail packaging also affects its sustainability.Look for a service provider that incorporates ethical manufacturing and the latest technologies into the company’s supply chain. These practices can ensure worker safety and reduce the packaging carbon footprint.

Having a supply chain you can be proud of also helps to promote transparency. Open lines of communication about your supply chain can help to strengthen your brand reputation and customer loyalty. 

Finding a credible service provider with an established ethical supply chain can streamline your company’s transition to eco-friendly packaging.

Edge2Edge is one such service provider that can ensure a sustainable supply chain for your packaging that meets your company’s needs.

3. Educate and Incentivize Responsible Consumption

One often overlooked aspect of cosmetic retail packaging sustainability is the fate of the packaging once it is emptied. Buyers play a critical role in recycling and other sustainable disposal methods. However, consumers are placing greater emphasis on the producer’s responsibility to manage the waste they produce.

To help complete the eco-friendly packaging lifecycle, brands can educate consumers on handling packaging after use. One method is to provide instructions directly on the packaging, in the store, or on the company website.

Businesses can also implement incentives to encourage buyers to return packaging instead of simply discarding it after use. For example, companies can offer take-back programs at store locations and give discounts to shoppers who bring in used packaging to recycle or upcycle.

Sustainable Cosmetic Retail Packaging in Action

You may be wondering what these strategies look like in practice. Here are some suggestions for implementing these ideas to create eco-friendly cosmetic retail packaging that consumers will love.

Reusable Tote Bags

Your brand can create tote bags from sustainably sourced washable paper or another renewable material. You can also elect to make the handles recyclable to add another layer of environmental friendliness.

These items start as packaging, and then buyers can easily convert them into a fashion accessory. Shoppers can reuse the tote, repeatedly promoting the brand and reducing waste at the same time.

Giftable Packaging

You can also design stylish and functional packaging that the buyers can use as the gift wrapping of a present for a loved one.

Creating giftable packaging helps to minimize waste. It also allows consumers to create their own unforgettable unboxing experience.

You can further promote this idea by incentivizing consumers to reuse the retail packaging as gift wrap. For instance, you can create a hashtag for individuals to use when posting a photo of the gifted packaging on social media to enter a drawing for a prize.

Both of these packaging ideas are a win-win for increasing brand exposure and reducing waste. 

These are some additional examples of cosmetic retail packaging offerings that Edge2Edge can help your brand transform into eco-friendly products that support your brand’s visual identity:

  • Subscription Boxes
  • Gift Card Carriers
  • Fabric Pouches
  • Receipt Holders
  • Ribbons
  • Tissue & Tissue Seals
  • Poly Mailers & Bubble Mailers

Creating unique, sustainable, and cohesive cosmetic retail packaging can strengthen your brand identity. Consumers will recognize and respond to your brand better when presenting them with visually appealing and sustainable cosmetic packaging. They will be more aware that you prioritize the environment and their well-being.

Edge2Edge can help you customize cosmetic retail packaging offerings with eco-friendly materials and processes to help your brand stand out from the crowd.

Case Study: DECEIM

The case of DECIM highlights how beauty brands can transform their packaging to align with their goals and consumer preferences.

DECIEM is a beauty-industry outlier comprising 10 innovative brands, 34 freestanding stores worldwide, and over $300 million in annual sales.

In 2019, the company decided to align its packaging with its eco-friendly ideals and transform its shopping bag into a sustainable packaging solution.

In partnership with Edge2Edge, the company sought a more environmentally friendly alternative to its conventional frosted plastic shopping bag.

The material DECIEM was looking for did not yet exist, so Edge2Edge designed a new type of paper for the shopping bags. The resulting eco-friendly bag is made from pre-and post-consumer recycled paper and is also recyclable itself.

The redesigned bag is more eco-friendly on both its sourcing and disposal ends. On the one hand, it is made from recycled paper, using a formerly perceived waste as an input and diverting it from a landfill.

On the other hand, the bag is easily recyclable, which helps keep the material in use for longer.

Eventually, when the paper material has run its course after several rounds of use, recycling centers can compost the material to replenish the Earth’s natural systems.

The bag has a terrazzo pattern Edge2Edge did not print but creatively fashioned by embedding actual pieces of colored paper in the pulp.

The result is an appealing and unique look. The beautiful tactility and organic-modern sensibility of the bag are now a visual trademark of the brand.

We not only fulfilled the client’s requests but anticipated and ideated alternatives that reached their fullest potential in terms of aesthetics, sustainability, functionality, and cost-effectiveness.

Edge2Edge will continue to design and create products for the company, such as envelopes and product packaging. This long-term partnership speaks to our commitment to go beyond the transactional to develop new pathways around retail challenges and brand management.

The clean movement in the beauty and personal care industry demonstrates the shift in consumer mindset to now consider the health and environmental impacts of cosmetics they purchase and use.

As consumers are becoming more involved with social and environmental issues, the stakes are rising for cosmetic brands to demonstrate that they are part of the solution.

Sustainable cosmetic retail packaging directly signals to shoppers that a brand cares about human health and the environment.

The future of cosmetic packaging is eco-friendly. Edge2Edge Packaging is an expert in the latest in sustainable packaging and will go above and beyond to find the best sustainable option for your cosmetic brand.