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Evolution in the Cosmetic Packaging Industry

Published on: 25 Jul, 2022

Cosmetics are a type of product that has become a requisite component in our daily lives. An abundant range of makeup or cosmetic items are available in the market to enhance or complement individuals’ overall appearance. These products have been around since ancient times and have evolved with time in terms of their quality and presentation. In the past eras, people mostly used cosmetic items obtained from natural means, e.g. flowers, and plants. In those times, the packaging of these items was also very simple and ancient and they were simply wrapped in leaves.

After a while paper packaging was introduced by China which is termed as flexible packaging in today’s world. In recent times as cosmetic products have highly revolutionized, the means of packaging have also gone through an evolution. Nowadays, custom cosmetic packaging is considered a key factor by brands that can effectively uplift the overall appearance of these items.

How cosmetic products were packaged in past civilizations?

Cosmetic items have been utilized by every civilization in the past. Their ways of packaging these items were also very different from the modern world. Cosmetic products have not always been packaged and presented in today’s way. The packaging industry has gone through a series of changes and advancements in past eras and is continuing to evolve to get better with time.

Egyptian Era

In the Egyptian era, people used very basic means of cosmetic items and their packaging was also quite simple. In those times, people created makeup products that were entirely inspired by nature. They created makeup products using flowers, herbs, plants, berries, etc. They applied these products simply with their hands as no makeup brushes or sponges were created in the past times. Metals and pottery were the most common means of packaging these cosmetic products in the Egyptian era.

Roman Era

After that, the Romans introduced another way of packaging makeup items, which was glass packaging. Before the utilization of glass-blowing containers, the Roman civilization commonly used to store their cosmetic products in containers that were made from gold, bronze, or metal. With the introduction of glass containers, the cost of storing these items was efficaciously reduced. This technology traveled throughout the world in the mid-centuries and became highly popular. These products were only stored in containers made from glass, metal, or gold but there was no concept of external packaging or wrapping of these items in cases.

19th century

During the 19th century, the cosmetic industry went through a series of advancements. For the very first time, plastic was introduced as a means of advanced packaging for these items. The utilization of plastic paved the way towards better and more modern forms of packaging. In that era, plastic was considered to be the most appropriate means of packaging as it proved to be highly cost-effective. Brand owners used a variety of plastic forms for the packaging of their items.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) is a very common type of plastic that is flexible and lightweight. It is ideal for one-time usage.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the world’s third most used plastic and comes in 2 different forms i.e. rigid and flexible.

Packaging of Cosmetics in the Modern Era

In today’s world, the packaging of cosmetics holds great significance. Every brand owner shows great concern towards the way these products are packaged and presented to the customers. A study has shown that almost 70% of people make their decisions to purchase or reject a certain product based on the way they are packaged and displayed.

The right packaging of a product not only protects it from damage but also efficaciously enhances its general outlook. This modern packaging of cosmetic products provides convenience to the customers in possibly every way. This packaging plays a great role in preserving the items packaged in them. As in recent times, online business is becoming popular day by day, retailers have to ship their items so they need durable materials that will protect their products. With time, so many advancements in the primary and secondary packaging of makeup items took place.

Primary Packaging

The primary packaging of a product is its actual or interior packaging in which the material of an item is stored and preserved. Nowadays as there is a great variety of makeup products available in the market each having distinctive characteristics, the primary packaging also differs from product to product.

Tube packaging

This type of packaging is used for makeup products like mascaras or eyeliners with an additional wand. Most of the lip balms are also stored in tube packaging.

Jar packaging

Jar containers are used to store items like creams lotions and scrubs. These jars have an abundant range of sizes and shapes according to the requirements of the type of product packaged in them and the preferences of customers.

Bottle Packaging

This is the most common form of packaging and is used to store items like moisturizers, lotions, gels, oils, and other skin-related products. The bottle packaging can be either made from plastic or glass. Bottles are also widely utilized to preserve and store fragrances like perfumes and body sprays.

Secondary Packaging

The secondary packaging of an item is the outermost or exterior packaging. Secondary packaging involves the presentation and display of a particular product. The exterior packaging of a product plays a key factor in uplifting a brand’s identity. It is the most essential component that preserves and protects interior products. The exterior packaging can be the first impression that a customer builds regarding a certain brand.


Cartons are used to package a huge range of items in the cosmetic industry. Products like creams, lotions, or scrubs are packaged in cartons. Cartons are small and lightweight boxes that can store relatively smaller items.

Corrugated Shippers

These boxes are used to package delicate items as they are used to transport products over larger distances. Shipper boxes are manufactured from corrugated fiberboard. These boxes have additional flaps which can be further secured with the help of adhesive tapes.

Custom Boxes

As there is a great variety of cosmetic items available in the market, there is a vast range of packaging types. Custom Boxes are either made from Kraft or corrugated materials and are used to package items like jars, containers, or bottles.

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