Packaging 101: The Complete Guide

Britt Martin, Arka's Partnerships lead, blends e-commerce expertise with sustainability advocacy, nurturing startups as a Founder in Residence at NYU.

Creative Packaging Ideas for Cosmetics

Check out our packaging ideas for cosmetics to inspire you to be creative and innovative.

Luxury Cosmetic Packaging Design Ideas

Make your cosmetics packaging feel super luxe and lavish. Incorporate luxury cosmetic packaging design that will make your customer feel indulgent, especially for high-end and designer beauty products. Use gold, silver, or bronze foil stamps to achieve an opulent feel and enhance the quality of the packaging.

luxury cosmetics packaging design ideas

luxury cosmetics packaging ideas

Eco-Friendly Packaging Ideas For Cosmetics

Sustainability is at the forefront of many consumers’ minds, so it’s important to implement sustainable packaging ideas for cosmetics within your branding and packaging designs.

Use packages and materials that are environmentally friendly, such as kraft boxes, pillow boxes without packaging, and boxes crafted from recycled paper. Create packaging made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo, paper, cornstarch, seaweed, and beeswax, and create reusable, refillable, or biodegradable packaging.

eco-friendly cosmetics packaging ideas

Minimalist Cosmetic Packaging Design

Simplicity can stand out to customers, so try a minimalist packaging design that is striking and conveys your cosmetics product’s message. Start with neutral-toned packaging colors that are eye-catching, then add symbols, your brand logo, and concise copy. Keeping packaging design simple is an effective way to market your cosmetic product without the ‘busyness’ of over-the-top fonts and colors.

minimalist cosmetics packaging design

Vibrant Colors for Cosmetic Packaging Design

Alternatively if you want to be bold and add pops of color, use vibrant colors for cosmetic packaging design. Go for vivid monochrome colors on packaging, or be lively with a variety of different patterns and colors that complement each other and will catch the eye of shoppers.

vibrant cosmetics packaging ideas

Artistic Cosmetic Packaging Design

Put a stamp on your packaging with art and get creative. Use line drawings on your packages, which are intricate, detailed and will add to the beauty of your product. Add illustrations that will evoke a sense of joy and fascination.

artistic cosmetics design ideas

Unique Patterns for Cosmetic Packaging Design

Make your cosmetics packaging sophisticated with bold and unique patterns. Experiment with stripes, zig-zags, polka dots, and prints.

pattern cosmetics packaging ideas

Nature-Inspired Cosmetic Packaging Design

If your cosmetics brand incorporates nature as one of the most important values, add a touch of nature to your cosmetics product design. This is particularly helpful if your brand subscribes to specific values, such as cruelty-free makeup, organic beauty, or eco-friendly beauty. Use natural elements in cosmetic packaging design, such as leaves, rabbits, the sun, and trees.

nature inspired cosmetic packaging

Custom Cosmetic Boxes

With custom cosmetic boxes, you can create a package that is specially designed to match your brand – including shape, dimensions, and colors. At Arka, our cosmetic boxes are eco-friendly, sustainable, premium, and guaranteed to showcase your cosmetic products and elevate your brand in an effective way.

custom cosmetic boxes

custom cosmetic boxes

Themed Cosmetic Packaging Design

For themed cosmetic packaging design, consider a design for cosmetic products that follow a particular theme. For example, for a lipstick range for the summer, consider using bright tones and symbols representing the season.

themed cosmetics packaging design

Vintage Cosmetic Packaging Design

Make your cosmetics packaging feel like a blast from the past with stylish vintage packaging design for cosmetics. Opt for florals, old-style intricate patterns, old-fashioned symbols, traditional illustrations, and classic typography.

vintage cosmetics packaging ideas

Unique Typography and Font Play

To fully enhance your cosmetic packaging, it’s important to incorporate unique packaging typography and stylish fonts that match your brand. Experiment with different typography and fonts that are bold, quirky, minimalistic, or retro - and will help your cosmetic products stand out from the crowd.

 cosmetics packaging design typography

Transparent Packaging Ideas For Cosmetics

Make your cosmetic products translucent and give your customers a glimpse with transparent packaging. Use see-through zip-up pouches, boxes, and sealable gift bags.

transparent cosmetics packaging ideas

Limited Edition Cosmetic Packaging Design

Limited edition cosmetic product collections require unique cosmetic packaging designs that make them look different from standard cosmetic products from the same brand. The best way to make limited edition cosmetic packaging stand out is to use different color tones and hues, plus unique fonts to characterize the limited edition cosmetics range as separate from the rest.

limited edition cosmetics packaging

Cosmetic Packaging Design with Soft Watercolor Hues

Mix and match colors on your cosmetic packaging design with soft watercolor hues. These keep your cosmetic packaging looking fresh and add a touch of personality to the packages and product.

watercolor cosmetics packaging design

Cosmetic Packaging Design with Futuristic Elements

Take your cosmetic packaging design to the future with futuristic elements. Be super innovative with retro elements and technological icons that will give your customers a unique unveiling experience.

futuristic cosmetics packaging design

Tin Packaging for Cosmetics

Tin packaging for cosmetics is cute and compact. In addition to this, it is non-toxic, provides product protection and quality preservation for cosmetics, and is sustainable because tin is ethically sourced and can be reused and repurposed again.

tin packaging for cosmetics

Storytelling Cosmetics Packaging Design

Use your cosmetics packaging design to tell the story of your brand. Every brand’s journey is unique and a great way to connect with your customers. You can tell your brand’s story through cosmetics packaging by applying concise copy that explains the brand’s beginnings, icons that symbolize the brand’s values (e.g. cruelty-free, vegan, sustainability), and fonts and packaging logos.

storytelling cosmetics packaging

Packaging Ideas for Different Cosmetic Types

Here are some packaging ideas for different cosmetic types:

• Airless bottles: Airless bottles are perfect for cosmetics with creamy and liquid textures because they prevent air from getting inside, reducing the chance of oxidation and allowing for preservation of the product.

 Pumps: Like airless bottles, pumps preserve the product for longer, maintain the quality, and allow for hygienic dispensing of the product, as well as minimizing product waste. This is commonly used for products such as face creams and serums.

 Sprayers: Ideal for face mists and setting sprays, sprayers disperse liquids in an effective way, and they allow for lightweight application of the product.

 Jars: Jars are perfect for storing cosmetic products such as balms and liquid foundation, and they are eco-friendly because they can be reused and repurposed.

 Tubes: Tube packaging is convenient and compact and provides ingredient protection. They are commonly used for lipglosses and lip tints.

 Droppers: Droppers are commonly used for serums and highlighters. Because of the applicator, customers don’t need to put their hands directly onto the product to apply it, and this is much more hygienic and prevents cross-contamination, plus it reduces waste.

 Compacts: Compacts are commonly used for products such as foundation and blush and are perfect for customers on the go.

Lipsticks, Lip Balms and Lip Glosses

For lipsticks, lip balms and lipglosses, tube packaging is brilliant because it’s compact and convenient for customers who want to touch their lips on the go. Check out lip gloss packaging ideas for more inspiration.

Eye Shadows, Eyeliners and Eye Lashes

For eyeshadows, try compact packaging that secures the product and protects the shades. For eyeliners, particularly liquid eyeliner, try using tubes to protect the formula and ensure it’s long-lasting. For lashes, there are numerous lash packaging ideas you can try, from mini boxes to compact packages.

Perfumes and Fragrances

For perfumes and fragrances, sprayers are best to use to allow the customer to achieve lightweight, effective, and easy application of the scents - without using their hands.

Skincare Products

Depending on the type of skincare products available, there are different types of skincare packaging design ideas to choose from. For cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and SPF, choose airless bottles, pumps, and tubes. For serums, select droppers. For face mists, go for sprayers.

How to Create The Perfect Cosmetics Packaging: 3 Tips

Here are some of our top tips and hints to help you create the perfect cosmetics packaging design.

Define Your Design Elements

When designing creative packaging ideas for cosmetics, you need to consider your target audience, their interests, and their personas, and you need to connect these factors with your brand because these will help influence your design elements. Define your brand personality and make it a goal to communicate this through your marketing, branding, and packaging.

As for ideal customers, ensure that this is clearly established. Who are they? What do they do? What do they like? What are their demographics and socio-economic statuses? What are their interests? What are their budgets?

Create a mood board to help visualize your brand style. By doing this, you can easily contextualize your brand packaging and add logos, colors, fonts, and important information.

Prioritize Functionality

Cosmetics packaging needs to look pretty, and it needs to be highly functional and practical as well. Beauty and functionality aren’t mutually exclusive. Ensure that your packaging is designed to allow for:

• Ease when opening and closing (especially for those with mobility issues),

• Hygienic dispensing to prevent infection, and

• Protection of the product from cross-contamination and deterioration so that the product is preserved and lasts for a long time.

Quality Materials

The best cosmetics packages contain high-quality materials that preserve the product and protect it from potential damage during production, shipping, and transportation. Ensure that the materials used in packaging are strong and sturdy, and avoid going for the cheapest materials – always opt for the best materials, even if they cost more. This adds value to your product.

Top Brands with Sustainable Cosmetics Packaging Design

Beauty brands are creating sustainable packaging solutions to decrease the environmental impact of their products. This might be because nearly one-third of beauty and personal care products aren’t recyclable, and the majority of consumers want that to change. Below are examples of some beauty brands that have successfully implemented or are in the process of Implementing sustainable packaging:

Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics has recently started selling products in reusable containers. According to Lush, 65% of their products are sold naked with no packaging, and those in bottles are sold in 100% post-consumer plastics. This type of packaging is convenient for both customers and business owners because it can be refilled multiple times.

M.A.C Cosmetics

Just like Lush Cosmetics, MAC cosmetics is on the move to sustainable packaging. In 2021, the makeup brand started asking their customers to return empty M.A.C packages so that they will be recycled and transformed.


DECIEM, an outlier in the beauty industry, has an innovative approach to engaging consumers. 

In 2019, DECIEM changed its bag to align with its ethos of 'clean beauty.' The company had suppliers repurpose paper into something new and sustainable, and it is easily recyclable when it is eventually no longer usable.


Origins are committed to planting a million trees to offset carbon emissions and have already planted one million trees. The company's unique containers are due to strides in its packaging and by 2023, it will ensure that 80% of its packaging is recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled, or recoverable. All freestanding stores in North America are powered with 100% renewable electricity.


The Aveda brand by Estée Lauder is a great example of a brand that puts sustainability at the forefront of its production. Aveda finds inspiration in nature. It believes that nature is not just something to be cherished and protected, but is to be emulated as a model of sustainability. Due to this belief, Aveda was the first beauty brand to commence using 100% post-consumer recycled PET for its packaging. And since then, many companies and brands have followed.

Challenges in Cosmetics Packaging Design

Here are some challenges in cosmetics packaging design to consider when incorporating design packaging ideas:

 Regulatory Compliance: Packaging designs need to be aligned with laws and regulations to ensure customer safety. Designing cosmetics packaging that is beautiful and eye-catching is great, but if it needs to comply with regulations. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive and is entirely possible.

 Balancing Creativity and Practicality: Pretty cosmetics packaging aims to increase customer interest and boost sales, but it also needs to be practical. Create cosmetics packaging that is innovative, easy to open and close with ease, reusable, able to preserve the product, and accessible.

 Sustainability Concerns: These days, sustainability is a necessity – not an option. Ensure that your cosmetics packaging is made from materials that are repurposable, reusable, refillable, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable. 

The beauty industry is one of the most resource- and energy-intensive industries in the world. According to the World Bank, it takes more than 10 liters of water and 7kg of carbon dioxide equivalent to produce a single plastic shampoo bottle.

However, this industry has quite a few challenges in terms of implementing sustainable packaging. From the amount of packaging used to the materials and sustainability of each component, these challenges can be daunting. 

Brands are often dependent on packaging suppliers who have not yet made the switch to more sustainable materials

The challenge starts with the interaction between brands and their packaging suppliers. Many brands do not want to be seen as having more waste than their competitors, so they are hesitant to add more material to their packaging, even if it is recycled or recyclable.

Lack of recyclable options for complex composite packaging

Another challenge lies in the way that most beauty packaging is made up of multiple materials and components, making them hard to recycle in many countries. For example, a lipstick case contains plastic and metal, two materials that cannot be mixed during the recycling process.

Also, if a product is only partially recyclable due to its multiple components, then it will usually end up in a landfill rather than being recycled at all. Beauty products often use a lot of plastic because it is easily molded into sleek cases for lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, and nail polish bottles. But this plastic then goes on to pollute our oceans and harm marine life.

Overcoming consumer's perceptions about single-use plastic packaging

Many people believe that all single-use plastic is bad for the environment and should be avoided completely.  This causes problems for many businesses as consumers will often shun products packaged in plastics even if they have been created from recycled materials or can be easily recycled themselves.

Some companies such as Aveda are trying to address this issue by getting involved with programs such as TerraCycle's Zero Waste Boxes which allow consumers to recycle their plastic packaging even if it isn't currently accepted by local municipal recycling services.

Final Thoughts

Explore cosmetics packaging design ideas and ensure that you make your cosmetics packaging attractive, interesting, engaging, and memorable. Stand out from the crowd and give your cosmetic packaging the bold edge it deserves in a highly competitive market. By using the right cosmetics packaging, you can be sure to increase brand awareness, add value, boost sales, and enhance customer experience.

FAQs on Cosmetics Packaging Design Ideas

Here are frequently asked questions about cosmetics packaging design ideas.

How can packaging design impact my cosmetics brand's success?

Cosmetics packaging is not just about showcasing the product and attracting attention from target consumers. It effectively communicates the brand’s story and values to shoppers, influencing purchasing decisions and enhancing the customer experience.

How can I incorporate storytelling into my cosmetics packaging design?

Design your cosmetics packaging to convey your company’s journey, origin, mission, values, and benefits. You can add narratives, messages, icons, and symbols representing your company’s story. You can even add testimonials and humorous quotes.

Are interactive cosmetics packaging designs worth the investment?

Yes. Interactive cosmetics packaging designs are worth the investment because they help elevate your brand, increase value, add uniqueness, and enhance the customer experience.

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