Beauty packaging future? ‘Smarter, simpler and more sustainable’: WGSN

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Confident and simple colours will also be a key trend as consumers look more towards inclusive designs [Getty Images]
Confident and simple colours will also be a key trend as consumers look more towards inclusive designs [Getty Images]

Related tags: WGSN, beauty packaging, Sustainable packaging, smart beauty, beauty routines, Environment, refillable packaging, circular beauty

Packaging and product designs that simplify beauty routines and reduce consumption will be key moving forward, as consumers turn to brands for help limiting impact on the planet, says WGSN.

Whilst sustainability had long been on the beauty agenda for industry and consumers alike, fashion and beauty trend forecasting firm WGSM said fresh importance now had to be placed on packaging that contributed to “a better future” – ​elevating simplicity, sustainability and smart designs.

Why? Because there was a “growing demand”​ for products, experiences and systems that were “smarter, simpler and more sustainable, as organisations and individuals explore how to build a more equitable world”, ​said Emma Grace Bailey, editor of WGSN.

‘Democratic and inclusive designs’

Writing in WGSN’s recent sample report Forecast S/S 23: Packaging – Design Wise, ​Bailey said this mindset championed “democratic and inclusive designs” ​that not only lasted longer but could be used in multiple ways.

For beauty, she said that translated into “functional details”;​ offering opportunity for “packs that simplify beauty routines and prioritise convenience both in terms of ease of use and reuse”.

And beyond function, she said the aesthetics had to see colour used with “confidence and clarity”, ​with “simple”​ and “reassuring”​ colours appealing to consumers.

Any prints and graphics used would also have to be “underpinned by a sense of meaning”, ​she said, with inclusive design prioritising universal symbols instead of written product descriptions.

‘Simplifying beauty routines’

Beauty design concepts that minimised waste by “simplifying beauty routines”​ would also be a key driver for innovation in 2023 “as people look to limit their impact on the planet by reducing consumption levels”,​ Bailey said.

“Packaging will be reusable, refillable and limit product waste too, appealing to the value-driven consumer,”​ she said.

However, refillable packaging would need to be expanded to include on-the-go formats that consumers could decant to from a larger pack when travelling, she said, and solid formats offered with smart devices, like a soap grating device, to allow consumers to “only take what they need”.

More broadly, the report said packaging would have to be designed in such a way that it could be “easily taken apart, enabling consumers to access all of the product, then recycle and dispose of materials correctly”.

Circular beauty future – refills and more

The recyclability of beauty packaging was a widely discussed topic during CosmeticsDesign’s recent Circular Beauty webinar, with TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky stating truly circular beauty was about “honouring the molecules”​ that made up a product and ensuring they had the “longest life that is absolutely possible”. This webinar can still be watched on-demand here​.

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