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Making your mind up

The growing UK beauty and personal care market was worth over £15billion in 2017. To differentiate themselves in this glamorous and demanding sector, brands have to go beyond just looking good – consumers expect the whole package. Emma-Jane Batey speaks to a range of beauty brands to learn how this is being achieved.



Beauty products across all price points are expected to be effective, but now more than ever consumers demand they look good and do good too. Consumers are savvy about what they put on their skin, with the ingredients, the packaging and the products themselves all increasingly under scrutiny. And rightly so. No brand deserves an easy ride, particularly when it comes to the highly competitive and emotion-driven beauty sector.


For long-established Japanese skincare brand Yu-Be, its cult status as an 'only available in Japan' brand has been a valuable element in its packaging and its fast-growing popularity worldwide. For many years, its famous multipurpose, vitamin-enriched skin cream was a special gift purchased by travelers visiting Japan, so when a Japanese-American businessman decided to import it, his determination that this exclusivity continue has kept the brand's iconic status alive.


Old is the new new


Yu-Be sales and marketing director Matthew Graham tells Packaging Today, “Yu-Be celebrated our 60th anniversary in 2017 and our famous Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream is one of Japan's longest-selling and best sellling skin products. In order to convey a sense of Japanese history and product quality, we have been careful to balance a very clean, vintage-apothecary type of look while keeping certain Japanese elements like the Japanese language symbols in the logo as well as using the original 'Yu-Be Orange' colour seen throughout the product line.”


Graham continues to explain how a key trend in the beauty and personal care market has been important for Yu-Be's success. “The most recent interest in Korean products as well as the ongoing interest in 'Asian Beauty' products, especially for skin and hair, gives us a great opportunity to educate shoppers about our long history in Japan and our high quality and highly effective products. We will continue to develop new, quality skin care products in Japan and bring them to to market as we always have. In January 2018 we will be launching the Yu-Be Advanced Formula Pure Hydration Cream, made without any camphor extract or paraben preservatives. The packaging will be very similar to the original, however we will be using green for the colour scheme instead of the original orange so customers can distinguish the two different creams from each other.”


For pioneering skin care brand Alpha-H, its packaging works hard to represent the 'simplicity, understated elegance and sustainability' of the product within. Offering both professional (to beauty salons and skin clinics) and retail products, Alpha-H's range includes supersized and deluxe minis.

Beauty of packaging


Tom Ogden, European business manager, tells Packaging Today, “We need to ensure our packaging protects both our powerdul active ingredients such as glycolic acid, while also securing the potency of our most delicate ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, flower- and fruit acids. Our EVOH tubes are also UV-coated, providing excellent barrier protection to oxygen and humidity, preserving the active ingredients inside. Both our EVOH tubes and HDPE bottles are recyclable.”


The new Alpha-H Liquid Gold Firming Eye Cream is a great example of 'responsible, functional luxury', with its unique on-the-spot application provided by a 'cool-touch metallic applicator. Ogden notes that 'sustainability and packaging are major areas in the beauty sector which are undergoing change. People are supporting 'green' and 'earth-friendly' brands/products that have minimal impact on the environment; therefore brands are becoming more socially responsible with their formulations, manufacturing and packaging. Our packaging is clean, minimal and functional and we are always looking for ways to reduce our footprint on planet earth, without being over-packaged or over-hyped.”


The consumer demand for feel good products across the beauty sector is keen across all price points, with the expectation that efficacy comes as standard. For leading UK-based colour cosmetics manufacturer Pascalle Cosmetics, its ability to develop and manufacture a wide range of contract fill and private label cosmetics means it is at the apex of quality and affordability.


Affordable luxury


Emma Dodd, Pascalle's marketing manager, tells Packaging Today, “We pride ourselves on our over 30 years of experience in cosmetic design and manufacture. We work with both international retailers and independent brands, offering full project management to design, develop and create cosmetics ranges that are manufactured here at our factory in Stoke on Trent. Pascalle also own six cosmetics brands which are available to purchase globally, ranging from our entry price point Miss Beauty range to our mid and premium ranges MeMeMe and Kubiss Pro.”


Pascalle's MeMeMe brand offers high end premium formulations which are available 'to the masses as an affordable luxury'. Dodd continues, “Our passion at MeMeMe lies within creating gorgeous, feminine and spirited cosmetics for our customers. We are a celebration of individualism, believing the best in beauty and design should be both affordable and adored in every girl's handbag! Mixing the themes of mythology, romance and the bohemian spirit, MeMeMe is a unique brand that prides itself on the quality of its formulations and unique approach.”


Packaging plays an important role in this heady MeMeMe brand identity, as Dodd explains, “MeMeMe features black and cream-themed high-end componentry, the MeMeMe signature pattern and cherub feature heavily on the packaging. Many items in the range are presented in cardboard packaging to create a unique look and feel. We are seeing trends across cardboard palettes; we are developing contour and highlight palettes in card palettes featuring spot UV to respond to the trend which complement our existing card lipstick case, eye palettes and blush boxes.”


Beauty revolution


There's one fresh beauty brand that is well and truly breaking the mould. Beauty Pie was founded by well-known business pioneer Marcia Kilgore (called 'beauty royalty' by The Guardian's beauty columnist Sali Hughes) and is rapidly gaining evangelical fans to its innovative buyers' club. The premise is clear; a Beauty Pie spokesperson tells Packaging Today, “At Beauty Pie our mission is to bring our members the world's best beauty products at a totally transparent factory cost. No mumbo-jumbo. No middlemen. No mark-ups.”


That complete transparency is clearly represented on Beauty Pie's website: a £20 lipstick costs just £2.24 to members, with £1.61 of that accounting for product and packaging. With dynamic black and white packaging that retains the distinctive 'click' that's so appealing about luxury beauty brands, the company manages to be both luxe and affordable. The spokesperson adds, “We're a team of beauty-product obsessives who have worked in the beauty industry for eons. We're working to make our packaging as ecologically-conscious as possible. Too much cosmetic packaging ends up in landfill, and the more complex the componentry, the less easily it can be broken down for recycling. We don't use over-the-top fancy caps, metal cladding or rigid plastic jars, and we've chosen plant-based inks and recyclable board for our cartons.”


Innovations in beauty packaging show that it pays to think outside the box. Consumers increasingly demand that what they put on their face matches how they think about themselves and the world around them, so from the ingredients to the storytelling to the formats, skin care and beauty products go way beyond make up.