Skin Care Trends—And Packaging Solutions

Skin care has been the leading category in Beauty for some time. Now, “Skin care has become an important ritual,” states a report by Fortune Business Insights (FBI). The global skin care market size will be an estimated $145.8 billion by 2028, rising at a CAGR of 5.52% from $100.1 billion in 2021, according to the report.

Experts say many consumers began using more skin care products during the pandemic, and aren’t about to stop. In the U.S., the skin care market is equally impressive—generating $17.5 billion in revenue, according to Statista. Facial cleansers are the top-selling category, and facial care is expected to register the fastest growth in the U.S. through 2025, Research and Markets reports. E-commerce is the leading distribution channel for skin care brands.

Data also reveals that facial skin care, as a category, generated 241% more clicks at the end of 2020 compared to the end of 2019, according to Stylight Insights. By product format, creams are most popular with a 33.41% market share globally, reports FBI. And in packaging, tubes dominate the skin care market, according to the report.

Representing several of the most-in-demand products and packages mentioned, Global Packaging recently worked with BioClarity to launch its Sudsy face cleanser in a tube. “We used offset printing for a high-end look,” says Vinay Upasani, president, Global Packaging. The company offers aluminum barrier laminate tubes for products with active ingredients. “This type of tube structure helps maintain a product’s efficacy,” he explains.

Packaging Anti-Acne Products

Skin care sales have recently spiked, especially for at-home treatment products, and some say “anti-acne” is the new “anti-aging.” Acne has become an increasing concern for beauty consumers of all ages due to masks causing ‘maskme.’ Plus, nearly 33% of healthcare workers have developed acne, dermatitis, and facial itching caused by N95 masks, according to a study published by Clinics in Dermatology.

The popularity of anti-acne products isn’t expected to slow anytime soon. The global anti-acne cosmetics market was valued at $2.3 billion in 2020 and a compound annual growth rate of 9.1% is expected, from 2021 through 2028, according to Grand View Research. 

Peace Out’s skin care and anti-acne products have catchy names and bold graphics. “Fun, bright, playful visuals are engaging. To be successful, a brand must have it all,” says CEO and founder Enrico Frezza. He developed the brand’s concept with his husband and chief marketing officer, Junior Pence. “Together, we took the creative idea to designer Ed Ng to bring the vision to life,” Frezza says.

Regarding sustainability, Frezza says, “We are working towards using more PCR packaging, degradable pouches, and FSC-based secondary packaging. We will also label our packaging more clearly, so consumers understand how to recycle.”

Peace Out Pore Strips were recently “TikTok famous” when an influencer’s video went viral, but the brand’s effective formulas will ensure its lasting success. The brand’s Retinol Eye Stick, a twist-up stick pack, has encapsulated retinol with a peptide complex. Peace Out Acne Serum contains niacinamide and Vitamin C; and Repairing Moisturizer, which launched in August, includes bakuchiol. Both are in PET bottles with airless pumps.

Cleansing Blemish Balm is in a 100% PCR PP jar. The solid hot-pour formula contains salicylic acid. “Open jars are not our favorite, but we added a scoop to reduce the finger contact in the product,’ says Frezza. Users scoop out a small amount, and add water to cleanse the face. The jar, along with Peace Out’s bottles, are silk-screened and feature a custom peach hue to match the brand’s Pantone color.

Frezza says branding is key to success. He explains, “Successful branding should create a positive emotional response for your consumer, and tell them an honest story. From day one, we’ve always known our voice…our name, designs, colors, and creative all promote fun, happiness, inclusivity and skin positivity.”

Peach Slices is another brand that aims to help acne sufferers. Its new product range was developed because acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. Peach Slices, created by Alicia Yoon as Peach & Lily’s ‘sister’ brand, is “Korean skin care for acne,” the company says. The products are infused with botanical ingredients, including “morning calm flower.”

Peach Slices offers treatments in packs, similar to Peace Out, such as Acne Spot Dots and Deep Blemish Microdarts. Acne Clarifying Cleanser and Acne Oil-Free Moisturizer are both in tubes. Acne Exfoliating Toner is housed in a bottle with a dispensing cap.

Design is Key, Especially for Gen Z

Skin care brands such as Peace Out and Peach Slices rely on social media to attract younger consumers. “There is a continued necessity of online appeal with an eye-catching design to make a bold first impression,” says Lynn Lu, skincare product manager, HCP Packaging. “For a skin care brand to attract Gen Z, it has to combine aspects of personalization, fun, and interaction with genuine sustainable credentials,” she advises.

Vonda Simon, president, SeaCliff Beauty, says, “We encourage brands to look at their products through the consumer’s eyes, and ask, ‘What story does this convey? The messaging is important and can be showcased through the design of the package. And it’s important to be consistent—your formulation and packaging have to be in harmony, not tell different stories,” she explains. 

SeaCliff Beauty works with many skin care brands that target a younger demographic. Jazmine recently launched a Hydrating Primer Serum, and SeaCliff provided the packaging turnkey. “The formula is rich in antioxidants while the packaging is a sleek frosted glass dropper with a custom-colored collar to  match the brand’s aesthetic,” says Simon. “This package has a luxurious look and allows consumers to see the beautiful purple-hued formula,” she adds.  

Blue Light Skin Care is a Top Trend

Blue light skin care is also on the rise, experts say, and there is an increasing demand for products that help prevent “digital aging” due to the increasing time spent in front of screens. Stylight Insights’ 2021 Skincare Trends report ranks blue light skin care as No. 5 on its trends list.

Exposure to blue light for 30 hours can increase the skin’s inflammation level by 40%, according to Unilever’s Science and Technology Study. “Skin care products loaded with antioxidants, as well as niacinamide and zinc oxide, help repair damage caused by blue light,” states Samantha Tucker-Samaras, global vice president, Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever.

The global “blue light protection” ingredients market is expected to surge at an 8.3% CAGR from 2020 through 2030, according to FMI, especially in the U.S., UK, Italy, France and Germany. New testing methods are being developed, according to FMI. “Researchers are learning more about the mechanism of damage that occurs on the skin due to blue light exposure,” the report states. As research advances, consumers might expect even better protection and greater efficacy from the next generation of blue light skin care products. 

Capitalizing on the opportunity, many beauty brands are offering blue light skin care, as well as “anti-pollution” collections. Paula’s Choice Skincare, which Unilever recently acquired, has a Defense line that includes Nightly Reconditioning Moisturizer. In a tube, the product includes flaxseed, wild cherry and arugula, which are proven to strengthen the skin’s defenses. It claims to clarify and neutralize environmental aggressors such as blue light emitted from smart phones.

Dermalogica’s Biolumin-C Eye Serum and Gel Moisturizer both target “environmental stress” with a Vitamin C complex, antioxidants, and verbascum thapsus flower extract, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Orpheus Skin’s Resurrection Bio-Luminous Dewy Essence contains vitamins and a plant bioactive. It’s part of the brand’s Blooming Beauty Stem Cell Trio Kit, which says it helps protect the skin from blue light damage. The kit includes All-In-One Serum and the brand’s new Rose Toner, formulated with antioxidants and rose stem cells. Orpheus uses glass bottles and pumps with silver accents.

HCP’s Lu comments, “Soothing facial care products for skin affected by many different external factors, including pollution, blue light, and mask-wearing are all in demand.” Lu continues, “Packaging for these types of products should have a ‘no-hands’ application method, for hygienic and on-the-go use. Twist-up sticks are popular for solid products, and fine mist pumps are ideal for a soothing spritz.”

Susanne Kaufmann Defence & Moisturising Mist recently launched at Violet Grey. The skin-soothing spray mist is in a white HDPE bottle made with 100% PCR. The clean formula contains research-backed ingredient—ectoin, coenzyme Q10, and buddleja officinalis leaf extract from the butterfly bush, trademarked as GreenTech’s Soliberine. Studies show that this antioxidant targets UV and blue light’s harmful effects, while protecting from inflammation and preventing photo-aging.

Founder Susanne Kaufmann states, “We combine unique plant-based ingredients with the latest scientific developments and pioneering bio-technologies.” The brand uses herb and plant ingredients in many of its products that are inspired by Kaufmann’s home in the Austrian Alps.

Airless Packaging in All Shapes, Sizes, & Materials

Airless packaging is always popular for skin care, especially for products with sensitive ingredients, such as Vitamin C and some of the antioxidants in blue light skin care. HCP/Pum-Tech offers brands a line of slim stylish tubes with airless pump dispensers, and they’re ideal for facial products. “Airless packaging is particularly popular at the moment, especially with Indie brands that use functional ingredients,” says Daniel Cha, vice president, Pum-Tech Korea.

“Products containing vitamins or natural ingredients benefit from the effective preservative that airless packaging offers,” he says.

NF Beauty Group, rebranded as NFBG, offers skin care brands its Helix Collection. It includes a refillable and recyclable airless bottle, as well as two matching mono-material recyclable packages—a PP jar and a PET stick.

“Requests for airless pump technology have not slowed down,” says Andrea Greff marketing design lead, NFBG. “But we do see more inquiries wanting to know if airless tech can be made more sustainable—i.e., materiality, recyclability, refill-ability,” she says.

Global Packaging also offers several airless packaging solutions. “We often work with skin care brands, including Skin Medica, Alastin, and Murad, and we see an increase in requests for airless pumps,” says Upasani. The company offers a range of airless bottles in PET, PP and PCR, which are ideal for serums, eye care and vitamin C products.

Yowoo/PKG Group offers a refillable airless package called “EZ.” It’s available in a new 100ml size, in addition to the line’s existing 15-, 30-, and 50ml sizes. It reduces the use of plastic by 66%, the supplier says, because it has a PP inner refill.

CTK offers an innovative solution for cream skin care products, its Eco Airless Cream Pump. Creams often have a high viscosity that can cause issues for pump dispensers, but CTK’s bottle can be used as an alternative to a jar. Available in 5- to 200ml sizes, it features a springless mono material pump designed for easy recycling.

“It’s our most often requested package for skin care—and we can run up the PCR content from 30% to 100%,” says Jackie Paterno, vice president, CTK. “Pair this pump with a clear bottle to showcase a product, beautifully,” she says.  CTK also offers skin care formulas, with new textures and interesting ingredients. “Our signature red gromwell extract has a beautiful red colorant, so it’s perfect to pair with a clear package that will let it be the ‘star,’” she says.

Seacliff Beauty says its Refillable Airless Pump is getting lots of interest from skin care brands. Ideal for moisturizers, creams and serums, it has an inner refill piece that can be made with up to 30% PCR material. It’s available in 15- and 30ml sizes.

Lumson, known for its luxe customizable packaging solutions for skin care, offers its Touchless range and TAL, a “revolutionary” airless system in an aluminum container. Lumson has a long history of technological expertise in airless packaging, in both glass and plastic. Its patented pouch dispensing system ensures no contamination. The supplier also offers many customizable options with high-end decorations. Lumson’s dispensing solutions are also designed so that the components can be easily separated for recycling.

Baralan recently introduced its first glass airless packaging solution, the DEA Series, called Developing the Evolution of Airless. “Unlike other airless systems, DEA has no internal plastic container, making it the first airless system in which the filled product is directly in contact with the glass container,” says Jeff Carbone, the company’s sales manager. DEA comes in 15-, 30-, and 50ml sizes and has a standard neck finish so its compatible with a vast range of pumps. 

“Many skin care brands prefer airless packaging, but they are less inclined than ever to use plastic. Glass is a high-end look with a lower carbon footprint—and I think our DEA line is going to change the game,” says Carbone.

Suppliers Offer New Luxe Glass Jars

Glass packaging is becoming a more popular choice for beauty products, including skin care. The team at Baralan recently designed a new line of jars for skin care products called the Maria Jar Super-Weight. The glass jars come in 5-, 30-, and 50ml sizes. The thick glass bottom has a heavy, luxe feel. “The jars are a sophisticated, classic round shape,” says Carbone. “They have an opulence that emphasizes the quality of the product it contains.”

Ideal for cream products, the jars have a wide mouth and are paired with Baralan’s Malang 70 cap. “We designed the cap in one unique size that fits all three jars, and it has a new protection disc and spatula,” Carbone says. “The liner is assembled without using glue. Plus, this cap features a ‘double-entry’ thread to guarantee a consistent, more reliable closure around the neck’s circumference. It ensures the integrity of the filled product with no product loss,” he explains.

Carbone says Baralan’s team often helps beauty brands with marketing and design decisions. “When developing a special customized design, our innovation team in Milan assists with renderings and 3D samples for new molds, to help a brand bring its vision to life,” he says.

Premi Beauty offers an innovative airless solution in glass—and it’s also refillable. Premi’s Miracle Refillable Jar is a 50ml glass jar with a PP refill cup. “Our exclusive jar delivers a premium feel, in a timeless shape,” says Federico Prestini, managing director, Premi Beauty. “It offers the simplest user experience—refill and recycle in one click,” says Prestini.

Premi Beauty also offers brands turnkey solutions for skin care. One of its made-in-Italy offerings is Black Purity, a moisturizing and ‘detoxing’ product line with charcoal and volcanic stone extract. “These formulas turn into ‘water’ on the skin,” says Prestini.

Premi’s team designed the packaging that perfectly complements the product. “The black bottles and jars are decorated with a semi-transparent stone effect, with varnishing and silver hot-stamping details. It’s a true example of packaging that mirrors, in color and design, the characteristics of the formula it contains,” says Prestini.

Sustainable Dropper Packaging 

Dropper packages are a popular choice for skin care, such as serums, and suppliers offer numerous options. NFBG offers an innovative mono-material dropper package called Celeste, in 100% recyclable PP. “It features a unique dispensing mechanism with a balloon-like pump made in TPE, which is a PP derivative,” she explains. It’s available in 15-, 30-, and 50ml sizes and can accommodate all viscosities, including thicker formulations. Pair it with the supplier’s mono-material airless jar and bottle with a springless pump to complete a skin care collection.

NFBG works with several labs to offer skin care brands complete turnkey solutions, as well as design services and custom package development. “We can curate a story for a new brand, produce custom renderings, pre-production samples, and color-match across various materials,” says Greff.

APC offers brands its Mono-Material System dropper package. Rick Ponte, vice president of project engineering, APC Packaging, says, “The bulb, collar, pipette and bottle are all made from the same material and can be recycled under Code 5, so there is no need to separate the dropper from the bottle or dismantle it.” APC’s dropper package is ideal for products that contain high levels of retinol, SPF and volatile silicones. “Our internal testing shows no loss in properties for common formulas over long periods of time and at elevated temperatures, as high as 50 degrees Celsius,” says Ponte.

Designed with users in mind, the dropper’s bulb has the right “squeezable factor” as well. It also scores high for aesthetics. Ponte says, “The pipette is the clearest PP on the market—the clarity rivals that of PET.” A brand can also customize its look. Ponte adds, “Each piece can be customized, and we can even add a transparent color to the pipette.”

HCP also offers an all-plastic dropper package with its Color Dropper, which makes a striking impression. It has a TPE bulb and PP pipette, and can be paired with an overcap and PET bottle made with PCR. It is best suited for low viscosity skin care products, such as serums and essences.

What’s Next for Skin Care Packaging?

Refillable packaging seems to be on everyone’s mind. Global Packaging’s Upasani says, “Refillable packaging is the trend for the future.”

HCP’s Lu agrees and says, “We see refillable packaging becoming more and more mainstream; with this comes a need for durable containers that stand the test of time to be recharged time and time again.”

SeaCliff Beauty’s Simon says more skin care brands are requesting refillable airless bottles, as well as tubes made from sugarcane and glass jars. “Our formulators are also honing in on ingredients that are sustainably sourced,” says Simon, adding, “We are developing ‘blue beauty’ inspired formulations with fucales seaweed, laminaria, and red algae for skin care, such as bio-restorative eye cream and lip exfoliator.”

NFBG’s Greff comments, “We see a turn toward refillable packaging with a keepsake story—but alongside a recycling story.” She explains, “PCR is taking a back seat due to special formula compatibility issues, as well as long-term recyclability limitations, but that doesn’t mean that we are not seeing a big push toward using upcycled plastics. It’s important to keep reducing our virgin material usage—beauty brands want more options to reduce our impact on the planet.” 

Australian-based skin care and body care company, Frank Body, came up with an innovative reusable package—a coffee cup. Frank Body’s Perky Sculpting Body Hydrator’s cup container is BPA-free recycled plastic. The brand’s logo is embossed rather than screen-printed, which makes the cup safe for dishwashers and easy to recycle.

Nisha Karna, president, Frank Body, North America, says, “The cup is safe to use for beverages after it has served its purpose as a moisturizer tub. We worked with our manufacturer to design a reusable cup package that would maintain product efficacy.” She adds, “This launch transpired as a step towards eliminating as much single-use plastic as possible. We encourage our consumers to re-use the cup in their everyday lives.”

Frank Body’s first product, a coffee-based body scrub, launched in 2013, and it has now sold more than 2.2 million scrubs that have shipped to over 149 countries. The brand recently announced it will be climate-positive by 2023. (See for more about this plan.)

Activist Skincare decided on refillable glass packaging for its vegan facial care line. “Glass packaging combined with low-waste refill packs makes these products as good for the planet as they are for skin,” states Allison Callaway, the brand’s founder.

Activist offers face cleansers and serums. Sea to Skin Cleansing Gel is in a glass jar, and Botanical Cleansing Oil is in a glass dropper bottle. The refill pouch for Botanical Cleansing Oil is shown. Refill pouches boast a 99% smaller carbon footprint than recycled glass containers, the brand says.

“I built my brand on the foundation that my packaging would be worth keeping,” explains Callaway. “I’m so proud to have designed my packaging to be made of heavy glass containers with stunning, inspirational artwork that are meant to be kept forever and refilled when empty.”–and-packaging-solutions/

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