Cosmetic and Personal Care Packaging
In the last unit we discussed food and beverage packaging. That category accounts for
roughly half of all packaging. When we think about food and beverages and packaging
functions, obviously both containment and protection are critical. In a modern consumer
society, so are communication and utility, as both strongly influence the decision to purchase
(and repurchase) the product. The same is true for products in the personal care area,
including cosmetics. One difference is often in profit margins, which can strongly influence the
amount that companies can afford to spend on aspects of the package which help in selling the
product. In the personal care area, profit margins are, on average, considerably higher. That
means there is more “space” to invest in the “extras” that can profoundly affect the perceived
value of the product.
Another difference is that products in the personal care area, on average, are less
sensitive to deterioration than food products, so the packaged products can have a much
longer shelf life. (Remember the definition of shelf life
the amount of time that products stay
in an acceptable condition.) While some food products (canned vegetables for example) can
have very long shelf lives, there are others (fresh cut carrots, for example) that have shelf lives
that are quite short. There are few analogies in the personal care market to things like fresh
foods; most products can last a long time.
Packaging for personal care products is also regulated by the FDA.
generally not as strict as for food.
When we talk about personal care products, we usually mean products that keep us
clean and looking and smelling good; this includes soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc.
In this unit, we will discuss cosmetics and personal care products, and then we will also
learn about some package forms that are commonly used in this area and which we have not
tubes and aerosols.
Cosmetics are products that are applied externally to the human body for cleaning,
beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering appearance. Also, components of these
products are cosmetics.
Here are some more descriptors used to define cosmetics:
There is no specific list of products, such as cologne, perfume, etc. Instead there is a list
of ways that cosmetic products can be applied (pouring, spraying, etc.). All of the
application methods place the cosmetic product onto the body, not into it. Materials
that are injected, swallowed, or cross the skin barrier are not considered cosmetics;
those are typically pharmaceuticals or food.
The definition does not specify the sex of the particular human body. Most people tend
to think of cosmetics as products for females, but there are actually many products
intended for males that fit into this category.
The definition covers only humans, unlike the definition of pharmaceuticals which can