If there’s anything about the cosmetic industry that a budding beauty guru should know, it’s that product development is a serious science. This includes creating the perfect formulations to give you that classic red lip color you love to wear, plus a very specific thoughtfulness when it comes to makeup packaging — whether it’s a tube, a compact or a pan. That’s right, a makeup product would be almost nothing without the package it lives in.
“You have to make sure that your pack and product are happy together,” says L’Oréal Senior Chemist Roselin Rosario. This means that depending on what type of product you have (a liquid, gloss, powder or anything in between) can only survive based on how it’s packaged and presented to the consumer and outside world.
“Take a gloss, for example,” says Rosario. “It’s liquid, and you don’t want that liquid to eat into the pack — so you have to make sure that those two formulas (of the gloss and the plastic) are compatible with each other.” Finding the right type of plastics or coating the inner tubes is how cosmetic companies avoid diminishing product and it’s pack, and Rosario says that the same goes for applicators, whether that be brushes, doe foots or bullet tubes.
“You don’t realize how many parts go into one doe foot applicator,” she says. “You have the cap, the stem, you have the flock — sometimes there’s glue that keeps it together, so you want to make sure that none of those components are going to interact with your actual product.” And Rosario is right — no one wants to pull out their lip applicator only to have it break in half, which is certainly possible if your chemical pack ingredients don’t marry well with your favorite liquid lippie.
At L’Oréal, there’s a dedicated packaging team for each brand that works to figure out what package suits which product, and the cosmetic chemists help them narrow down what kinds of pack they can use. This also goes into choices about what materials can provide the packaging for the cosmetics — whether they should be transparent or opaque. Rosario notes that this is why skin care serums containing vitamin C are packaged in dark bottles — exposure to the sun can destroy and cause a chemical breakdown in the product, ultimately making it unusable.
“When you have a transparent lip gloss or lipstick pack, you have to remember that it will be exposed to light either in a store or by your vanity,” she adds. “So chemists have to make sure that the color isn’t going to fade or break down over time.” This is also sometimes why lipsticks are packaged in opaque bullet tubes — so there’s no risk of it losing its texture or color since it’s always completely enclosed.
To ensure that your makeup stays happy and healthy, keep cosmetics stored away from sunlight or extreme temperatures, and take care of their packs. This will make a difference in their overall longevity. “From the first day that you use a product, to the last day that you use it, we always want you to get the same product,” says Rosario, and a little respect for their packaging can surely help you get there.