Towards what is heading packaging innovation?

Jean-Louis Mathiez, Director of Cinqpats, a consultancy agency specialized in developing innovative products, is a member of the Committee of Experts of the Innovation Tree Products for all the MakeUp in…™ trade shows. He gives us an overview of the main innovation trends driving research in packaging.

Mathiez-250MakeUp in…™: On what issues are cosmetic/make-up packaging manufacturers currently focusing in terms of innovation?

Jean-Louis Mathiez: There are three main areas that are not new, but for which we never stop rediscovering new priorities.

Protection first. It is at the heart of all concerns. How to better protect the formula? How to protect formulas integrating new more fragile ingredients while excluding an excessive use in preservatives? The answer of course is, Airless systems, and on this path, we are continuously striving for improvement. Can we for example design Airless systems with other materials than plastic? This sector is constantly driven by innovation, particularly in make-up. Until now only dedicated to skincare, Airless systems are currently the subject of numerous innovations for products in this sector: for foundations, which is the product the closest to skincare, but also in unexpected segments like lipsticks or mascaras. It must be recognized that there are currently, no commercial launches, every one is busy working on the appropriate economic and technical combinations and the market is still waiting for the big commercial take-off.

Then, the next essential point is application. This concern is specific to the cosmetic sector. It is also a key element for the consumer, he remembers it, he holds it in his hand, he puts it in contact with his skin. When an applicator has an ergonomic characteristic or any other property, this gives the product a real added value in the user’s mind. This why packaging in make-up is an integral part of the product, it does not come “in addition”. Applicators in cosmetic packagings remain a key concern.

Finally, the third point, which has always been important, is communication, the product and brand identification through design. This element has always been a lesser concern in make-up than it has in perfumery. The crux of the matter is to find a shape, a material, a decoration, a finish… this concerns all packaging manufacturers. How to give a specific identification, a recognition to the product through its applicator or protective packaging, so that they appear as a signature? Concerning mascara for example, there is a return to a desire for identification with a unique brush that will stand out. This is confirmed by the flurry of new decoration processes in addition to screen printing, hot stamping or lacquering, as we all noticied in the different Experts committees. New technologies, from other sectors, are emerging, particularly in the area of multi-colour or even image transferring.

MakeUp in…™: Are some make-up segments more conductive to innovation?

Jean-Louis Mathiez: Mascaras and foundations are high value products particularly suited to innovation. For the past 15 years mascara has really developed itself but due to an oversupply on the market a certain saturation can be observed. People are waiting for the product that will revolutionize this segment and they are working on it. Lipsticks like nail polishes appear as more inconsistent purchase decisions. It is more complicated to innovate on these products. Regarding nail polish, the multiplicity of shades put aside, it is difficult to change the bottle. Only the brush can be a source of inspiration.

The same goes for lipstick, we are stuck with a format that is very successful. Most of the announced innovations in this sector are marketing innovations, there rarely refer to packaging.

MakeUp in…™: What does the future look like?

Jean-Louis Mathiez: As regards the three areas mentioned, the industry will have to explore every facet of design, materials and technology. It is this last area that offers the greatest potential. Current machines have reached saturation point in terms of innovation, innovation will come from other machines and from other technologies coming from other sectors.


Kristel Milet