HOW COSMETICS COMPANIES ARE DESIGNING BEAUTIFUL RETAIL PACKAGING
The cosmetics industry is exceptionally attuned to the subtle art of engaging, aesthetically appealing design. Given that most makeup products promise beautification and cosmetic enhancement, it stands to reason that makeup packaging design elements should also embody this promise. Put simply, it should look amazing. The list below has 10 examples of forward-thinking cosmetic packaging, ranging from sharp, minimalist designs to boxes dressed up in luminous holographic laminates.
1. REFRESHINGLY UNIQUE HOLOGRAPHIC PATTERNS
For glamorous, A-list skincare, GLAMGLOW plays with a range of holographic effects in its standout packaging. No matter what the pattern, the shimmering effects of each box ensure the brand’s promise of glowing skin with a dewy, Hollywood sheen.
You could almost swim in the blue and silver holographic lava effects of the WATERBURST moisturizer box. The DREAMDUO transforming treatment box shimmers with a rainbow holographic pattern; the GENTLEBUBBLE daily conditioning cleanser box uses soft, multicolor patterns of light design.
2. PSYCHEDELIC PACKAGING DESIGN
The vibrant packaging for the limited edition Chrome Couture Collection packs a punch. Created from a collaboration between makeup maven NARS Cosmetics and famous fashion designer Christopher Kane, the holographic eyeshadow and lipstick packages are laminated in iridescent, prismatic hues. The metallic elements of the packaging design are glamorous and bold, reflecting light to match the subtle pearly sheen of the makeup itself.
3. OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD HOLOGRAPHIC PACKAGING
Promising a “double dose of glow,” the iridescent packaging of INC.credible’s You Glow Girl Cosmic Blur gift set perfectly represents the cosmic effects of its products. The shiny jelly highlighter and nail polish duo come in a multicolored fold-over pouch. The entire pouch is laminated with a shimmery rainbow holographic pattern, with a clear film on the front to showcase the matching products inside.
4. CHIC, MODERN COSMETIC PACKAGING DESIGN
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand is made for millennials. The packaging is clean, edgy, and chic, with sharp, geometric shapes, minimalist design features, and a pop of graffiti-styled text. The packaging for Fenty’s Holo’Daze set, released for the 2020 Christmas season, stays true to the fierce yet laidback brand with a distressed pattern radiating outward from the brand name in the center, also in gold. The design conveys a rebellious, carefree attitude, which speaks directly to this younger generation’s revolutionary spirit.
5. MINIMALIST MAKEUP CONTAINERS WITH A MISSION
The Milk Makeup brand is dedicated to simple, natural beauty for the millennial generation. The line was inspired by an online following of over 1.4 million young creatives—and according to co-founder Mazdack Rass, it’s about “highlighting who you are, as opposed to covering you up.”
With that kind of support, the brand can rely on showcasing its name alone, adorned with some eye-catching surface effects. The transparent Holographic Stick applies a holographic sheen to the logo, the transparent Hydro Grip Primer uses a shiny green-to-blue gradient that compliments the light green of the formula in the pump, and the Vegan Milk Moisturizer sets a solid white “Milk” logo atop an opaque chartreuse yellow jar. The product packaging across each line emphasizes the understated nature of the brand with clean design, simple colorways, and subtle splashes of holographic effects.
Each makeup container is packaged in a box that mimics the product, and all of Milk’s packaging is made using recycled materials and soy-based ink. The use of natural materials is crucial, and part of a larger industry trend involving both natural packaging materials, and natural ingredients. The packaging is also infused with antimicrobial silver to keep the makeup preservative-free and fresh, maintaining the brand’s commitment to its eco-conscious audience by the nature of the design itself: “Milk girls and guys prefer to do their makeup on the fly, they don’t have the time nor the desire to weigh their face with makeup and they care about what goes into their products.”
6. HIGH-END COSMETIC & CBD PACKAGING
Humble Flower is a luxury skincare brand committed to wellness, infusing its body lotions and balms not just with essential oils, but with CBD and cannabis. At a unique crossroads as a cosmetic and a cannabis brand, Humble Flower’s packaging is subtly stunning.
The elegant lettering on the box is debossed in black or gold text on a pure white box with plenty of negative space. The sheen of the debossing effect also compliments the frosted glass and gold adornments of the products themselves.
7. MULTI-DIMENSIONAL BEAUTY PACKAGING DESIGN
As a leading cosmetics brand, Urban Decay is particularly well known for its Naked eyeshadow line. Starting with a plain tan eyeshadow palette, the brand has added eye-catching design to each new iteration of the Naked collection, most recently with the shimmery purple design of its new ultraviolet palette.
The brand’s Stoned Vibes Vault is another stunning example of makeup packaging. Once opened, each piece is showcased snugly in a sparkling, glitter insert. Its eyeshadow palette is perhaps the most impressive of the set, with a mesmerizing holographic pattern inset with multi-dimensional gemstones to compliment the rest of the crystalline design.
8. COOL, BOLD, & BRIGHT SKINCARE PACKAGING
New Zealand skincare brand Sub&Tarctic’s 2020 packaging refresh has yielded a powerfully unique design that’s sure to stand out on retail shelves. A gradient of intense, iceberg blues is used to great effect; the top of the packaging is anchored by a small white rectangle to highlight the embossed logo inside.
Inside the box, there’s a secret message to delight customers: “Beauty on a deeper level.” The extra touch ensures customers that the same attention to quality and detail is applied to the brand’s holistic skincare products.
9. MODERN LUXURY IN PACKAGING DESIGN
With serum-infused collagen face masks that are infused with precious gemstones and minerals to rejuvenate the skin, KNESKO SKIN is pure luxury. Designed to bring the relaxation and elegance of a modern-day spa retreat to you, each mask set comes packaged in one of four premium boxes that are an experience in themselves.
Covered in intricate, ancient patterns that you can touch, each box gleams with style. The embossed lines on the white and gray boxes shine with delicate silver foil, the black and gold boxes are adorned with gold, and the pink box’s foil shimmers with a rose-gold sheen.
10. TIMELESS BEAUTY PACKAGING
Victoria Tsai, the founder of Tatcha, wanted to build a skincare brand based on traditional Japanese beauty practices. Following the time-honored belief that “less is more,” Tatcha’s beauty products are made of high-quality, simple ingredients, and its packaging celebrates ancient Japanese skincare philosophy.
Note the traditional watercolor painting on the brand’s Fuji Dewy Skin Set, or the abstract firework-patterned sleeve of its 2016 The Icon’s Collection. No matter what the collection or product, all of Tatcha’s packaging is tied together by a pairing of delicate gold foils atop its iconic royal purple base.
THE BEAUTY OF PACKAGING DESIGN INSPIRATION
Based on a recent study, 72% of American consumers say their purchase decisions are influenced by packaging design. For luxury products, 61% are much more likely a repeat a purchase if they considered the packaging to be premium. Those numbers alone should push brands to invest more heavily in their packaging design. In the arena of package design, the cosmetics industry tends to not only be ahead of the curve, but often serves as the trendsetter. Designers can draw inspiration from the most daring instances of cosmetics package design; the same beauty that cosmetic brands hope to bring to the consumer through innovative products is often reflected on the packaging they use. However, beautiful packaging design as an effective tool for attracting customers isn’t limited to the beauty industry—nor should it be. Any company with products to package can look to the cosmetics industry for inspiration. If you’d like to learn more about effective packaging beyond creating visually stunning designs, take a look at our recent overview of the trends that’ll most influence packaging in 2021.