Affection for Tubes
Published: October 24th, 2012
These beauty brands say that tubes deliver many functional benefits, and they can help solve dispensing issues.
By Marie Redding
Experts say tube use is up, and they predict the package’s popularity will continue. Euromonitor International recorded a 4% CAGR rise in the demand for plastic squeeze tubes from 2006 through 2011, and the company predicts growth through 2016.
Beauty and personal care brands account for the majority of plastic tube sales, globally—95%, according to Euromonitor. This isn’t a surprise, since a tube offers many benefits for beauty products. They have been an essential package that has offered solutions for some of the brands featured here.
Delivering Ease of Use
Beecology is a brand that had one of the most basic of all dispensing issues—how to make sure the consumer is able to get the product out of the package.
“Our hand and body cream is thick, so its original bottle was causing some dispensing issues,” explains Amy Rzepka, cofounder, Beecology. “We don’t do official test marketing, but some of our customers were e-mailing complaints, or talking to us at farmers’ markets,” adds David Rzepka, Amy’s husband and cofounder, Beecology.
The Rzepkas tried different types of pumps, as well as a screw cap, but they knew their bottles weren’t working. As soon as they started hearing that a few customers were actually trying to cut open the bottle, they knew it was time to switch to a tube.
It’s been a little over a year since Beecology made the switch. “Our customers love the new tube, and now all we hear is positive feedback,” says Amy Rzepka.
Vivid Packaging (www.vividpackaging.com; Cleveland) supplies Beecology’s tube, which features the brand’s logo applied with an offset printing method. The tube has a flip-top dispensing cap, with a 0.25-in. orifice to accommodate the thick cream.
Like Beecology, Estrea uses bottles for some of its products, and a tube for its thicker creams.
“We use both types of packaging, because some women still like the way a bottle looks displayed in their bathroom. But, for a more portable package that offers versatility—and the ability to use a product outside the home—tubes are the way to go,” says Zsolt Boros, president, Estrea USA. “Tubes have definitely become a much more useful and convenient packaging option.”
Estrea is a bath and body brand from Hungary, which began selling in the United States in 2010. The brand’s hand and foot creams are packaged in 200-ml tubes, with flip-top caps. They are supplied by Tuplast (www.tuplast.hu; Debreen, Hungary) and are decorated using offset printing.
Marketing to Men, and Pro-Stylists
When men—or busy salon professionals—are your brand’s target customers, some marketers feel that a tube is a necessity.
“Men demand that their products be easy to use, and easy to throw in a gym bag,” says Kym Riffel, COO, Rock Your Hair. Since many men use hair gel, the tube is black, which gives it a masculine edge.
Even though marketers say that male consumers probably aren’t concerned with how pretty a package looks in their bathroom, the way this tube looked while standing on its cap was important to the team at Rock Your Hair.
As a professional hair care brand, Rock Your Hair reaches its customers through salons and hairdressers. When a product line will be used by a professional hairdresser, ease of use is a necessity.
“Our customers are salon professionals, and many hairdressers use our product. They tell us that their clients notice how great our hair gel looks in the salon, on a stylist’s work station,” explains Riffel.
“A tube is perfect for a hair gel because it’s not messy, and it won’t fall over and spill. Plus, the cap doesn’t come off, so it won’t ever get lost in a busy salon—and the product stays fresh,” Riffel explains.
Riffel says she also often hears that the tube’s dispensing cap makes it easy for a busy hairdresser to use just the right amount of product, so there’s less waste.
More Functionality for a
Another pro-beauty brand, MUD Cosmetics by Make-up Designory, used a tube to solve a few unique application issues (see the image at top on page 5). Make-up Designory (MUD) is a school for professional makeup artists, which also markets its own cosmetics brand that is sold to students at beauty schools, as well as to consumers at retailers all over the world.
MUD Cosmetics uses small tubes for its two types of mascara, as well as a product called Brow Fix.
When deciding how to package its mascara, a tube was the only option that worked for the brand, according to Yvonne Hawker, senior sales representative and educator, MUD Cosmetics.
A professional makeup artist uses mascara differently than the average consumer does,” Hawker says. For instance, a makeup artist will often use the same product on many different people, with disposable applicators.
“Our tube allows you to squeeze the mascara onto a palette. Then, a makeup artist—or a beauty school student— won’t have to dip the applicator into the package, which would contaminate the product. They can load a brush with mascara, right from a palette,” explains Hawker.
MUD also developed its own brush for applying mascara, with specially designed fan-shaped bristles. MUD’s students use this application method, as well as pro-makeup artists—instead of using the applicator brush that is part of the mascara package. This type of brush won’t fit into any bottle or tube to pick up the product on its bristles, so having a way to squeeze the product out, and onto a palette, was crucial.
“If we didn’t use a tube, we wouldn’t be able to use this brush,” adds Hawker. “Plus, I also love how we’re able to use every drop of mascara—our tube is just a great package that works for us on so many levels,” she says.
A Paddle Tip Makes a Formulation Possible
Murad launched Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles in March. It is packaged in a slim 0.5 oz. tube, supplied by World Wide Packaging (www.wwpinc.com; Florham Park, NJ). The brand didn’t choose this elegantly tapered tube for its looks alone, however.
“This tube has a unique dispensing system, which allowed us to use a higher concentration of retinol in the formulation,” explains Jeff Murad, vice president of product development, Murad.
The tube has a precision tip applicator and a narrow orifice. These features ensure the product is only applied directly to a wrinkle, and in a very small amount. The applicator’s silicone tip is a flat-paddle shape, which is treated with an antibacterial agent. It helps blend the product into the skin, without requiring the use of fingers. This tip also helps consumer apply the cream gently, without pulling on the delicate skin around the eye area.
Whenever a skin care product contains any active ingredients, there’s always a chance for irritation. “Retinol works great when it’s used properly,” says Murad. “Using too much of a product that contains retinol, over too large an area, can cause redness,” he says. In order to minimize the potential for irritation, many brands use a weaker version of retinol, according to Murad. “There will be less chance of irritation, but these products also won’t work as well,” he adds.
“Since our tube allows for a controlled dosage to be applied directly to wrinkles, we are able to use a much higher level of pure retinol in our formula, compared with other products on the market,” Murad explains.
The small tip on Murad’s tube prevents excessive use of the product, while making precise application easy—directly to the wrinkle.
“Without this tube, and its targeted dispensing system, a formula of this potency wouldn’t have been possible,” says Murad. “This unique tube allowed us to create a better product,” he adds.
Final Words of Advice
Perhaps a tube would work better for some products currently packaged in a bottle. Or, perhaps it would ease product use for consumers.
“There are many functional features, once only found on bottles, that are now available for tubes,” says Ted Sojourner, Regional Vice President Tubes & Laminates, Essel Propack (www.esselpropack.com/americas.html; Danville, VA). “We offer a range of different tips, nozzles, and dispensing options,” he adds.
There’s also the most obvious benefit—that the tube is designed to be squeezed, making it possible to use every last bit of product. “In this economy, it would be difficult to find a consumer who doesn’t appreciate knowing they’re getting their money’s worth—no one wants to feel cheated,” adds Zsolt Boros of Estrea USA.