More than ever, consumers are seeking brands that match their values and philosophies. Consumers, especially within the younger generations, desire products with which they identify.
Of course, the effective beauty or personal care label will only succeed at the shelf if it accomplishes several key goals. Chief among them are style and performance. While it is true that all labels set out to draw attention in a retail environment, beauty and personal care labels function differently than labels in other segments.
“Beauty and cosmetic products tend to be on the more expensive side, and their packaging needs to convey that,” says Kim Young, marketing communications specialist, Inland. “How this market has taken it to the next level is by taking advantage of enhancements, such as high-end materials and constructions, foils, metallic inks, textured finishes and various coatings or laminations, as these enhancements are key to help products stand out in the consumer’s eye.
“We know the product itself is crucial, but consumers are more invested in products when they understand and relate to the brand and have similar values,” she adds.
An effective health and beauty label is also optimized by understanding the available substrates that can contribute to the product standing out on shelf, and in the hands of shoppers.
“The most effective labels for health and beauty are creative but do not impact performance of the label,” explains Dan Riendeau, strategic business unit manager, packaging, FLEXcon. “The label and design are the face of your brand and the first thing all consumers see before even trying the product. It needs to stand up from a performance standpoint but also effectively deliver your brand message.”
According to Channeled Resources Group, the beauty and personal care segment represents one of the fastest growing consumer markets. Revenue in the beauty and personal care market is expected to be $511,401 million in 2021 with an expected 4.75% CAGR (2021-2025). This strong growth is being driven by a generational shift as young consumers enter the market. Social media, internationality and e-commerce are all making their mark.
As Chrissy Betsa, product manager of conformable films, Avery Dennison, notes, personal care labels encompass a wide range of applications. Lotions, make-up, hair care, soaps and multiple other products are quite popular with consumers.
“Currently, we are seeing the most common uses for personal care labels relating directly to the pandemic,” says Betsa. “The increase in demand for needing a surplus of surface care, soap and sanitizer has led to significant growth in this segment.”
Hub Labels, a Maryland-based converter, leans on this label segment in its prime label portfolio. Part of standing out on the shelf is understanding the current capabilities available in the market today. In most cases, brands that establish partnerships with converters have the most success actualizing their vision.
“The problem is most designers don’t realize we can print on more than white, clear and silver,” notes Thomas Dahbura, president of Hub Labels. “Savvy designers and firms partner with printers rather than supply printers with art files. There is more to it than an art file. The canvas is pretty important and often overlooked. You have the ability to take that to the next level and consider the embellishment options that are available now. It’s amazing what is out there, and it’s equally amazing how few people use them to enhance their brands on the package to stand out on the shelf.”
Inland, an award-winning label converter based in La Crosse, WI, emphasizes the brand story in its projects. “Consumers appreciate learning the story about how you started, the positive initiatives or commitments your company has, what organizations you support, where and how your products are made – how do you share that through your packaging?” notes Young. “This is where Inland can help share your story and offer design suggestions on fonts, colors, imagery, substrates or even with smart packaging to hit home your brand story.”
Partnerships also allow for more creativity in projects, adds Dahbura. While films play a significant role in the health and beauty space, there are a plethora of options available. “Film seems to be the go-to in health and beauty, but I asked a beer customer if we could go old school on a project and print on paper. He was surprised that we could print on paper,” he comments. “That goes to show you that without playing an advisory role with your customers how much opportunity is lost. The savvy sales person will seek to understand first and then expand and enhance by adding their expertise to the brand’s project.”
Other challenges in the sector involve improper selection of the label material and/or adhesive. The shape of the container and amount of squeeze needed will drive the required level of conformability. From the adhesive side, the type of container dictates which adhesive will properly promote label adhesion.
There are certain trends to note in these spaces, too. According to Avery Dennison, the beauty and personal care segment is seeing growth in premium hair care products. “We have seen a shift of consumers preferring to buy fewer, higher-quality items,” comments Betsa. “Consumers are willing to pay more for products that save them time and bring them joy and excitement.”
Plus, solutions have extended beyond pressure sensitive labels. Flexible packaging and shrink sleeves have also made their mark in the beauty and personal care markets. In the future, sustainability will also be critical for brands, suppliers and converters alike.
“Outside of the standard materials, we are seeing an increase in demand for sustainable materials, including PureWash, which is a pressure sensitive label that has a wash-away adhesive,” comments Young. “This allows the label to be cleanly removed during the recycling process for PET. In the shrink sleeves category, some technologies operate similarly during the recycling process. These types of technologies allow for the PET containers to be reused back into rPET. You may also be seeing an increase in perforations on products with shrink sleeves, which provide ease of use for the consumer to remove the sleeve from the container before recycling. Lastly, flexible packaging is a commonly used packaging type for the health and beauty industry. This offers the opportunity to not only have the full-sized jar or containers of a product but more of the smaller format packaging for the same products that are ideal for travel and portability to take on the go.”
“Consumers are looking for brands that tie to their core values, and most consumers care about sustainability,” states Riendeau. “They want to know that companies are doing the right thing and that they care about sustainability as well. One way is by ensuring that the entire package is sustainable, not just the container. Whether it is recyclable or made from recycled materials, consumers care about what companies are doing to impact the planet in a positive way.”
“Brands are setting higher sustainability goals and looking for more options to meet them,” states Betsa. “The label is a big contributor to this. Consumers are also looking for brands that provide sustainable options, and are, in some cases, willing to make tradeoffs such as aesthetics.”
Consumers are also becoming more mindful of the impact their purchases and behavior have on the planet. “As a result, they will support businesses that promote circular models aimed to reduce, reuse and recycle,” adds Betsa. “Brands are looking to design their packaging for recyclability, and the label plays an important role. The label can help communicate to consumers how their product impacts the environment, educate the consumer on how to recycle their product and help enable the recycling of the container.”
The global COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on personal health like never before in our lifetime. The focus on health resulted in booming business for many converters of personal care labels.
“In the personal care and health and beauty realm, the most affected market/product during the pandemic was the need for hand sanitizer and other antibacterial products,” states Inland’s Young. “Demand for those products was through the roof. As consumers ourselves, we all struggled to find those products at our stores or on Amazon when the pandemic first hit. Markets outside of consumer products, such as breweries and distilleries as an example, stepped up to the plate to help fill the need and be a resource for our country – all while also keeping their business afloat while they were shut down during various stay-at-home orders.”
While health and personal care labels saw a sharp increase in interest, beauty endured more tumultuous results. “During the pandemic, the demand has been higher than normal,” states Avery Dennison’s Betsa. “This correlates to the increase of consumers purchasing hand sanitizer, household cleaning items, soaps, etc. That being said, we have seen a slight decline in beauty products due to the pandemic. This is being caused by consumers shifting their focus to personal health and wellness.”
According to Hub Labels’ Dahbura, most brands have not strayed from their core practices during the pandemic. They have relied on their tried-and-true campaigns to reach consumers.
“Most of the market has been churning out current products or retrenching to their core products rather than a differentiation strategy,” says Dahbura.
With greater interest in health and safety, the interest in health and personal care labels should only increase. And as more shoppers spend greater amounts of time in public, beauty labels should see a boost, as well.
Of course, a wide range of applications require a host of different materials. “Selecting the best materials is driven by the type and desired functionality of the container,” says Avery Dennison’s Betsa. “The level of conformability (rigid, semi-squeeze, full squeeze) is a crucial factor when choosing the proper label. Second, the type of bottle (PET or HDPE) impacts adhesive selection, as each requires different adherences properties.”
In order to deliver products that succeed with both style and performance, material suppliers have worked diligently to engineer products that hit the mark.
Avery Dennison offers a broad range of labels in the personal care and beauty market segment. These include Global MDO Next Generation Clear, which is Avery Dennison’s semi-squeeze film known for enhanced print surface and better clarity. For sustainability, the CleanFlake adhesive adheres the label to a PET bottle until the bond is broken at the recycler. “Our Recycled Content Liner contains 30% recycled post-consumer waste (PCW) from PET bottles,” says Betsa. “We have received APR recognition for HDPE recycling for providing brands serving personal care and beauty space. This is validation that the labels stay with the container without impacting the recycling process.”
FLEXcon’s latest products have been designed with sustainability in mind, as well. The company’s recent launch features products that enable recyclability of PET containers.
“This allows for more PET to be added to the upstream recycling process, and with options in clear, white and silver, any brand can stand out while supporting their sustainability initiatives,” says Riendeau. “The addition of more sustainable solutions is anticipated later this year. FLEXcon offers additional label materials for HDPE, PP and glass containers, as well as resealable closures for flexible packaging substrates.”
Inland, in working with its customers, has emphasized the health and beauty category as a significant driver of its portfolio. According to Young, this segment will continue to be a growth area for the company.
“We’ve seen more of the functional and ‘better for you’ ingredients like protein, CBD, antioxidants, vitamins, plant-based, etc. being added into products to enhance and broaden their product portfolio,” she remarks.
V-Shapes, a supplier of vertically integrated products and services for convenient, hygienic and sustainable single-dose packaging, has reported that Orlandi Inc. is an early adopter of V-Shapes’ packaging for single-dose powders and liquids that can be dispensed using one hand. It produces fragrance and cosmetics samples, passive air freshening for home and auto, and offers contract packaging services, as well as digital direct to consumer marketing.
Most recently, Orlandi has added a V-Shapes Alpha automatic packaging machine to its production platform for manufacture of sustainable, and convenient single-dose packaging solutions for its own packaging operation, as well as for contract packaging use.
“We have known Christian Burattini, CEO of V-Shapes, for more than a decade,” says Philippe Ughetto, senior vice president at Orlandi France. “As he was developing the concept for V-Shapes, he reached out to me, and we decided this new technology was of interest to us. We initially entered into an agreement for distribution of V-Shapes monodose sachets and equipment in France for cosmetics and beauty products, and then acquired the equipment for production and contract packaging in North America.”
V-Shapes sachets are a brand new way to safely, affordably and sustainably deliver single-dose products from hand sanitizer and cosmetics to honey and more. These recyclable single portion sachets can be printed on the top and/or bottom sides in multiple languages, with customized brand messaging and use instructions. They represent a new and innovative way to distribute single-dose liquid and powdered products. Up to 98% of packaged product can easily be dispensed using just one hand, resulting in little product waste and no mess or spillage.
Sven Dobler, CEO, says, “Part of the strategy was manufacturing samples that retailers could hand out in the stores, but with the pandemic, that became very difficult because of traffic drop in retail stores. Our first major launch happened the week of March 19th, and that’s when all the chaos broke out. We repositioned ourselves during COVID to offer hand sanitizer and in fact have developed our own brand, KleanTouch, that we will sell directly to consumers. It’s a wonderful product, can be opened with one hand, and there has been great interest in it. Once we are past the pandemic, we will be able to put our Alpha to full use once again for our cosmetics customers.”