How To Design Cosmetic Packaging (+Examples)

Various cosmetic products assembled in packaging

In 2020, the US cosmetics industry had an estimated value of $49.2 billion dollars. To meet this demand, the modern makeup industry has become highly competitive. Physical and digital store shelves are brimming with the latest offerings. For those launching a new line of cosmetics, there’s no shortage of opportunities. But you’ll need a solid strategy for standing out from the crowd. And one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of consumers is with your cosmetics packaging design. 

Packaging is the first thing customers see as they’re browsing. Based on your skincare and makeup packaging design, shoppers will make judgments about your brand and your products. In this post, we’ll share how to create packaging and label design for cosmetics that will appeal to consumers. We’ll cover some of the hottest luxury cosmetic packaging design trends and share makeup packaging and labeling examples from brands that have captured the moment.

Define Your Target Audience

All successful makeup branding efforts begin with defining the type of consumer you’re trying to attract to your brand. Without nailing down the specifics ahead of time, you’ll just be taking a shot in the dark as you design your cosmetic packaging and labeling. 

Start by answering a series of detailed questions about your ideal customer. What’s their average age? What do they care about? Why are they choosing to use makeup or skincare products in the first place?  Are they looking for cosmetics with all-natural or organic ingredients, age-defying properties, or fun, playful color schemes? Where are they most likely to buy your product – online or in a brick-and-mortar storefront? Answers to these questions will guide your cosmetic labeling and packaging design choices. 

Waxing Kara lip balm and custom outer packaging.

Cosmetic Package Design Considerations

The best cosmetic labeling and package design maintains a well-thought-out, consistent look across an entire line of product offerings. From lipstick to skincare products, keeping your branding coherent is important. Cosmetics packaging most often comes in three distinct layers: the outer packaging (the box or wrapper), the container (the bottle, tube, or jar that holds the product itself), and the product label. Makeup packaging and labeling materials serve both an aesthetic and functional role in developing a brand’s unique persona. 

Outer Packaging

The cosmetic packaging is the first thing a potential customer sees when they pick up or click on your product. Outer packaging is where first impressions are made. The design choices you make here are very important. After all, first impressions can only be made once. Most makeup or skincare products’ outer packaging is made of a glossy or matte-finished cardboard. This material provides lots of flexibility for using custom fonts and colors that can make these design elements really stand out. Some makeup products like lipstick or skincare products may not include an outer packing.

An assortment of pink lip gloss tubes on a bright blue background.

Cosmetic Containers 

The type of product containers you choose depends on what type of product you’ll be filling them with. Pump spray bottles, droppers, or squeezable tubes can be manufactured using a range of different materials, including glass or different types of plastics. For example, skincare products with a high acid content would require glass or Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) materials so the containers don’t degrade over time. Choosing the right type of container for your cosmetics ensures they’ll look newer for longer. Using containers with unique shapes can also make your products stand apart from those packaged using more traditional shapes and sizes.

Cosmetics Labels

Cosmetics labels are both an opportunity and a challenge. The outer packaging rarely lasts long after purchase, but labels stick around until the container is emptied and discarded. Labels are something your customers see each time they reach for your product, so the design needs to stand out. The best cosmetics labels are unique and interesting,  something that’ll make an impression each time a consumer uses your product. 

Choosing the right materials depends first on your design choices. Glossy labels show vibrant colors to their best advantage, while matte labels are best suited for higher-end, all-natural, or organic products.

Cosmetics and skincare labels must be made from materials that are durable enough to withstand the environmental conditions they’re exposed to as part of the daily beauty ritual. You want your products to look good even after regular contact with liquids, greases, and moisture. Materials like vinyl, for example, are highly resistant to oils, water, and creams with high acid contents, so they’re a solid choice. Using a durable material will prevent your labels from fading out or peeling off with extended use.

Spinster Sisters Rose Body Oil laying next to a red rose.

5 Cosmetic Packaging Design Trends and Examples

Cosmetics packaging design is constantly evolving to satisfy changing consumer tastes. Here are some of the latest trends, with examples of makeup and skincare companies that are capitalizing on them. 

1. Minimalist Design: Henua Organics

Henua Organics is an all-natural skincare line hailing from Finland. Their Nordic roots give them a leg up when it comes to tapping into a modern, minimalist design motif. Their skincare packaging, containers, and labels all follow the same vein, using a sleek, less-is-more approach.

2. Moody Containers: Crocus Collector 

Harnessing the power of the humble spring flower, Crocus Collector masters the black container trend handily. This boutique, facial care company based in Greece houses their entire product line in matte black glass containers. Gold lettering sets off the dark tones of the bottles beautifully.

3. Custom Graphic Prints: iYURA 

Bold, head-turning patterns are hot now. And no one shows the way quite like iYURA. This beauty line plasters intricate and colorful patterns on both their cosmetic packaging and labels. It’s hard to resist picking these up just to admire the stunning artwork that goes into each one.

4. Bold Fonts: Peet Rivko

Unique fonts are the secret weapon of successful cosmetic packaging design. Peet Rivko is a bespoke skincare line that takes this artform to the next level. Bold letters scatter artfully across the product packaging and containers, providing an eye-catching consistency in design.

5. Eco-friendly Packaging: Antonym Beauty

Say farewell to plastic makeup containers with Antonym Beauty. This eco-conscious store offers their makeup in wooden compact cases made from bamboo. Their product packaging is made from either recycled or FSC-certified paper.

Create a Look that Speaks to Your Consumers

The cosmetics industry is an exciting place to be right now. Consumer demand remains strong in this perennially well-performing market. Designing your cosmetic packaging with your ideal customers in mind tunes you in to the people most likely to buy your products. Packaging and labeling that conform to current design trends can increase your product sales significantly, ensuring the long-term success of your brand.

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