Natural cosmetics and packaging:
sustainability inside and outside the product

Packaging cosmetici naturali

The market of natural cosmetics has been growing steadily for years.  

Consumer purchasing choices increasingly seem to be affected by packaging, especially when it comes to products with sustainable packaging. The confirmation comes from the research conducted by Nomisma, entitled “Packaging speaks green“. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the habits of using cosmetic products: after a physiological drop in sales, there has been a change of interest in certain products.  

Furthermore, the requests for products with natural connotations and attention to new channels have increased, for example E- Commerce, which has brought new consumers closer to the purchase of products. 

And the outbreak of Covid-19 has created a new awareness in the consumer, as claimed by Clare Henningan, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel. With the pandemic, there has been an increase in requests for clean and safe products, without toxic ingredients and with a low environmental impact supply chain.  

In the evaluation of a cosmetic product, the packaging and, above all, the material that composes it, assumes an almost as important role as the product. In fact, the secondary packaging must be as sustainable as possible and the primary packaging must instead ensure that the content is preserved in the best possible way.  

The cartonboard therefore becomes the material of first choice for the creation of secondary packaging, positioning its brand as sustainable and natural right from the shelf. 

The importance of packaging for the consumer

A recent research conducted by Ipsos has positioned packaging in the top 3 of the most worrying factors from the point of view of pollution: non-recyclable and polluting packaging, in fact, is highly feared by the world’s population when it comes to concerns related to the environment, after the threat posed by climate change (46%) and extreme weather events (43%). The fear of the accumulation of plastic packaging even ranks first for 10% of the population. 

But it is not only the ecological factor that moves the consumer’s conscience: the packaging is also important in the choice of products for its branding value. Packaging and labels for cosmetic products gain particular relevance in sales results within highly competitive field. 

Consumers are driven by the design to choose their best beauty routine, highlighting how the brand and the composition of the product are not the only variables that come into play at the time of purchase. 

Packaging and labels for natural cosmetics

As mentioned, the pandemic has forever changed our shopping habits towards cosmetics, seeing the share of customers of natural cosmetics increase.  

These are people who are informed and aware of the environment and health. The target has a series of values in common which, obviously, must be reflected in both the packaging and labels of natural cosmetics: ecological or recyclable materials such as certified paper or cartonboard are sought on the shelf and materials considered polluting are avoided, first of all plastic. 

Within this target, however, two brand positionings for natural cosmetics stand out:  

  1. Natural cosmetics that want to communicate refinement and class with a positioning that, graphically, follows the trends of luxury cosmetics: white packaging and glossy finish, with  high degree of smooth finish.   
  2. Natural cosmetics that base their brand positioning on the natural aspect and therefore prefer packaging that appears to be as unprocessed as possible – for example characterized by natural colors and rougher cartonboard. 

High-end and luxury natural cosmetics brands tend to go for a more sober design that leaves room for the optical white of the cartonboard, to which refinements are added, such as gold prints, a color associated with luxury that communicates superior quality of the product.  

To gain the attention of natural addicted, on the other hand, the choice of the packaging’s color is added to the material, which must reflect the expectations of naturalness and purity, for this reason the best colors are the natural (green, blue, brown…) and neutral ones. 


The most suitable cartonboard for cosmetic products

As said, the choice of cartonboard must be differentiated according to the reference target and the type of cosmetic. 

Talking about high-end cosmetics, which use packaging for branding purposes by focusing on exclusivity, refinement and class, it is good to choose cartonboard with a very high white point and with a coating that gives class and high degree of smoothness to the product. For such cosmetics, the best cartonboard is ProntoPack Pronto Lux: SBS cartonboard with two layers of coating on the front and on the back. Suitable for those printed products that require an excellent finish on both sides. Marked by a treated surface in order to enhance the different types of finish.  

Concerning natural cosmetics, on the other hand, it is useful to use cartonboard that provides naturalness. To avoid having to print all the cartonboard to make it look natural, it is advisable to leave aside very white or glossy cartonboard and prefer a natural-looking finish, but without sacrificing class. 

For this goal, the best cartonboard is Metsä Board Natural: an uncoated folding cartonboard that reflects current trends in high-end packaging thanks to its natural appearance. This OBA- free product is worldwide approved for direct food contact*. 

* Suitable for food contact as specified in paper mill declaration. Country specific limitations may be applied. Please contact ProntoPack for additional information or details.