Packaging & labeling

Intro To Beauty Packaging

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Natasha Marsh

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In today’s climate, your product will share shelf space with a plethora of comparable items, making differentiated and on-brand packaging a crucial survival tactic. The right packaging, whether it’s in real life or scroll-stopping options on social media platforms,  will make a product stand out, leading customers to gravitate to it over others. But what constitutes good packaging for a beauty or wellness product? Several factors go into perfecting a packaging strategy.

In this series, we will present a full breakdown of the role packaging plays in your brand, how much packaging costs, and how to best determine the packaging materials that will work for your brand. At the end of this series, you will have a complete understanding of all the benefits, material options, what attributes to look for in a beauty or wellness packaging supplier, and other key considerations. 

  • What Is Packaging?
  • What Questions Should You Ask Yourself Before Establishing A Packaging Strategy?
  • What Are The Different Layers Of Packaging?
  • What Formulation Factors Impact Packaging?

What Is Packaging?

Put simply: packaging is the process of designing, assessing, and then producing a container to hold your product in. There are three main types of packaging: outer, inner, and primary product packaging.

Packing should do three things: help consumers identify the brand and its core value proposition, convey detailed and enticing product and ingredient data, and preserve the product. The more your packaging resonates with your target consumer, the more likely you are to convert them into loyal customers who purchase often and recommend their networks do the same. 

What Questions Should Be Asked Before Beginning Package Design?

The very first question you should ask is: what exactly is the product? Think about what you are selling, the size and intricacies of the material and ingredients. You should determine whether it’s fragile or delicate to understand how secure the packaging will need to be. If it is oversized or has out-of-the-box dimensions, you may need a custom packaging solution. 

Next, focus on your target customer and ask yourself these questions:

      1. What sex is it for? Or is the positioned as unisex or genderless?
      2. What is the target consumer’s age? For example, will it be used by children or adults?
      3. Does sustainability play a role in your brand story or will it play a role in the consumer’s willingness to purchase? Ex. Is it tailored to the eco-conscious consumer?
      4. What is the cost of this beauty product or products like it in the marketplace? Ex. Is it a luxury or mass-focusing item?
      5. What is your distribution strategy? Will the product be sold in-store (retail) or online (direct to consumer)? If in retail, what type of retailer would sell this product? This could be a spa or boutique, multi-door pure play beauty retailer, or grocer. You will utilize different packaging when shipping from an online store versus competing on a big-box store shelf. And keep in mind, that shoppers will only spend money on things they understand so make sure your packaging clearly speaks to what the product does and who it’s for.

 Similar to marketing and branding, your audience should always be top of mind when thinking about packaging. Throughout this journey, you should be keenly aware of who your customer is and what product packaging (colors, shapes, sizes, copy, etc) will be most appealing to them. Essentially, your packaging selection should match their values.

What Are The Different Types Of Packaging?

Outer Packaging

Tertiary or outer beauty packaging example

Think of outer packaging as the first thing the customer will see. Essentially it is the box the product is shipped in or the shopping bag the item is placed in at a store — it’s the final protection for the product against the elements. 


Secondary Packaging

Secondary beauty packaging example

Secondary or inner packaging involves tissue paper, bubble wrap, poly bags, packaging peanuts, and more — it is the material that keeps the product from moving or getting damaged while in its outer packaging.


Primary Packaging

Primary Beauty Packaging ExampleAlso referred to as product packaging, primary packaging is the packaging closest to the product. This is the container, bottle, or box that the actual product comes in — it’s made to entice the customer to purchase. Here is where you will see the label of the product that is used to educate the buyer about the contents. Primary packaging not only includes choice in material but graphics, colors and fonts that are used on wrapping, which we will discuss in later articles.

When selecting the type of packaging, you should focus on an option that extends the shelf life of your products — that works hard to maintain the quality and freshness of the product while it waits in a warehouse or retail shelf.

What Formulation Factors Impact Packaging?

Before selecting the packaging option right for your product, you must get clarity on two main factors: light blocking ability and level of acidic contents. Some products (like essential oils) have great sensitivity to light — breaking down quickly the more they are exposed to light. To combat side effects, they need to be protected from the sun to stay fresh, therefore opting for non-translucent and tinted packaging options is best.

Beauty products with high levels of acid (fruit extracts, etc) tend to damage containers that aren’t coated with a protective barrier — wearing down both the container and product. If you do have acidic cosmetics, glass or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging is a good choice.

Are you considering launching a beauty brand? Uplink Concierge is the simplest, and fastest way to source partners within your budget and timeline. Start a project today, it’s free to begin!

Read the rest of the series: Intro to Beauty Packaging Guide coming soon.  

Featured Vendors

Selected verified vendors for beauty packaging


U&I, Monvera, and Creative Packaging Solutions are just a few of the vendors our team can recommend. All vendors with our verification seal have been verified by Uplink, this means they have been vetted by our team and are committed to working with indie brands like yours! In addition, our team has reviewed sample work and checked their BBB rating.