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Keeping air out and product integrity in.
Oxygen. It is essential to life. But in the beauty business, it can wreak havoc, attacking the chemical stability and microbiological integrity of a company's finely crafted formulation.
While most cosmetics aren't sterile—they contain a small amount of physically harmless microorganisms—an abundance of air/oxygen can cause microorganisms to flourish to a point that they could overwhelm the formula's preservation system, says Oak Brook, IL-based cosmetic chemist consultant Mort Westman.
And let's not even get into what might be on a user's hand each time she sticks her fingers into a jar of skin cream (yuck!).
Air, user interaction and even sunlight can cause discoloration, funky odors, and at its worst, a contaminated product. But marketers can breathe easy thanks to airless packaging technology. Not only does it help protect products from contamination during the filling process and when in use by the consumer, airless packaging aids in dispensability, adds distinction and helps increase shelf life.
When Airless is the Answer
A number of products—from skin bleaches to self-tanners to fine fragrances—can benefit from airless packaging. And as skin care science forges ahead—including the use of more fragile and sensitive products—there's no doubt airless packaging will play a larger and increasingly important role in the beauty business. More potent skin care treatments, organic offerings and functional cosmetics demand airless technologies. And according to industry experts, when it comes to many of these oxygen-sensitive formulations, airless is the answer.
"Conventional bottles and jars often provide an inadequate oxygen barrier for many of these products. This issue is solved with airless packaging," says Mary Frey, director of marketing, personal care division, U.S., MeadWestvaco Calmar.
Today's airless packaging is more ergonomic than in the past and delivers increased performance and aesthetics—key issues with cosmetic companies that want to marry form and function when it comes packaging their most unique and efficacious products.
Formulation advancements haven't been relegated to the prestige end of the beauty business. Companies targeting the mass market are formulating higher cost and more efficacious products that also require the numerous benefits of airless packaging.
"Air-tight packages are being used by consumer goods companies for a variety of formulations in many brands and in all distribution channels," says Jan Wilson, "Certainly, formula technology has been the major factor in the need for, and use of, airless/air-tight packaging."
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