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MS001 50ml airless dispensing jars MS002 15ml, 30ml, 40ml & 50ml acrylic airless packaging MS003 30ml double chamber airless container
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MS004 2x15(30)ml dual dispensing pump MS005 airless pack - eye cream MS006 2x10(20)ml, 2x15(30)ml dual dispenser
MS004 dual dispensing pack MS005 airless pack - eye cream MS006 dual dispensing containers
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MS010 airless jars MS011 airless dispensing container MS012 trial airless bottle
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MS016 15ml, 30ml & 50ml up & down airless dispensing pumps MS017 15ml, 30ml & 50ml up & downairless pack MS018 big dosage airless dispensing containers
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When many cosmetics companies set out to manufacture and market its paraben-free Gel Beauty, they chose an airless dispensing packaging system from Matsa Beauty Packaging, China.

The choice of an airless container was not an impulsive decision. As is the case for many brand marketers today, These companies needed to block oxygen in order to maintain the integrity of its preservative-free formula. The move was in keeping with the brand's commitment to sell cosmetic and medicinal natural products, but it also enabled the brand to position itself well in the event of new regulations.

"This airless packaging technology enables us to anticipate a future regulation prohibiting parabens and to stay one step ahead in a niche market," says Paul-Albert Charpentier, export manager.

The brand also preferred an airless pump bottle for its luxurious look as it sells to an upscale audience, in addition to its ability to provide 1ml controlled dosage and high evacuation percentages. Decorated with a white, blue and gray color palette and featuring clean lines, Gel Beauty effectively communicates the efficacy of its product.

These cosmetics companies don't plan to stop its Airless dispensing ystems partnership with its gel launch; its next objective is to incorporate airless technology into its line of creams and serums.

Airless pumps Benefits

As demonstrated by some companies' move to airless packaging technology, this dispensing option comes with multiple benefits. Its benefits, coupled with various trends in the beauty industry related to ingredients and consumer preferences, have ensured the technology's strong growth even in a difficult economic climate.

Many of today's formulations - particularly within the skin care segment - are prime candidates for airless dispensing technology. Two trends involving formulations particularly drive airless' popularity: natural ingredients and increasingly sophisticated products.

Many companies are releasing products with little or no preservatives, making formulations particularly sensitive to contamination. At the same time, older populations have demanded increasingly sophisticated formulations to battle the signs of aging. These formulas tend to utilize sensitive ingredients, which also need the protection of an airless container.

Aside from formula considerations, airless technology provides brands with additional benefits versus traditional containers.

"The main difference is there is no dip tube in airless but rather a diaphragm that rises to evacuate the product. The product is evacuated almost 100 percent as the diaphragm moves up the bottle. This percentage usage is also a great selling point as well for packaging that is more "green" and sustainable with less waste." says Jim Slowey, VP of sales and marketing for Arrowpak, located in Richmond Hill, NY and Carson, CA.

Controlled dosages are also an important benefit of moving toward airless packaging. "High end formulas for skin and anti-aging" benefit from "precise repeatable dosing, which cannot be accomplished in a tube," states Terry Sweeney, director of sales for Mega Pumps, Eatontown, NJ.

It also offers hygienic benefits. "The need for more hygienic packaging is also a great driver, as once product is expelled, it does not flow back in the unit," says Bernice Carr, creative designer for Cosmopak, London, England.

And finally, the luxurious perception attached to an airless dispenser also helps drive sales. "Depending on the market a brand is competing in, a high-end pump may be necessary to compete. In this economy, it is even more important to ensure brands are doing everything they can to reduce returns and build customer loyalty. A quick and easy way to lose a customer is having a product in the market that does not perform as it should because of inferior packaging," adds Derek Harvey, president of Fusion Packaging in Dallas, TX.

Demand Varies

Overwhelmingly, the majority of products currently leveraging airless packages are within the skin care category."Skin care companies have come to understand the value in paying for packaging that will guarantee the long-term integrity of the product. Consumers that spend their hard-earned money on skin care products want the highest quality for the length of its use and the guarantee of 100 percent product dispensing," says Harvey.

Skin care products will likely continue to show strong demand for airless technology, but other segments within beauty and personal care are discovering the benefits of moving to airless as well.

"Skin care is by far the largest segment, but we have customers in hair care and sun care that have found success with airless packaging," says Harvey.

"Hair styling products, especially salon products, use airless dispensers," agrees Sweeney. "As far as unusual, there is also a growth in personal lubricant usage…some of these products are now using airless, especially the ones with thicker gel formulas that are water-based."

Joico is one hair care brand that has found success with airless. Among other products, it recently released its Joico Design Collection Pliable Paste, a hybrid paste designed to create thick and pliable texture. Lauded by the brand for its "next-generation styling formula," this line's formula features an advanced polyurethane resin system, ozone defense system, and a blend of small and low molecular weight proteins.

The advanced formula is well-protected in an airless container, with anairless pump manufactured by Reike Packaging, Auburn, IN. The airless pump was chosen for two reasons. First, the airless dispenser design allows for complete evacuation of the product, enabling the end consumer to completely use the amount of product he/she paid for. Secondly, the airless dispenser allows for a sleek package design that mimics the cylindrical design of the aerosol cans, keeping the upscale look and feel of the Design Collection line.To maintain a dramatic and edgy look, the container utilizes a white, typography-style font against a matte black background. Its airless pump peeks through a semi-transparent cap.

This list of applications is certainly not exhaustive. Jim Montgomery, director of technical services for Fusion Packaging sees an opportunity for additional beauty segments that would benefit from moving toward airless technology. "Products such as skin bleaches, self-tanners and fine fragrances would seem to be good candidates for airless due to the need for controlled dispensing," he adds.

Airless Technologies

Airless technologies do not all look or function the same. There are actually several different technologies that classify as airless packagings.

The most popular system is a piston system. As George, global lotion product manager for Kenkay Personal Care, Purchase, Australia, explains, "A piston package is a bottle with a piston at the bottom that goes up...the advantage of a piston package is that you have a piston inside, but you don't really see it."

Used sometimes for sprays and creams, bag-in-bottle technology is another airless option. As the name suggests, this technology utilizes a bag that collapses as the product is used up. "Bag-in-bottle systems are not as common, and are used more for specialty products that have special barrier needs or require something other than a cylindrical or oval shape," comments Sweeney.

Sweeney also mentions the use of pressurized bag on pump technology, used for "formulas that need to dispense under pressure, such as body spray or foaming gel shave care products."

Tubes Move to Airless

There are other airless package constructions on the market today. Lemeunier cites another, newer airless technology: an airless dispenser tube. "You see more and more of these packages,"

Rexam has teamed with multiple brands to launch products in airless dispenser tubes. For example, Victoria's Secret tapped Rexam's expertise for its Daily Glow Facial Moisturizer within its Bare Bronze Collection. The formula contains a mix of vitamins and minerals, which is fully protected by an airless dispensing tube. The package is accented with gold-colored highlights for a luxury look.

In addition, Thun, Switzerland-based Neopac, in collaboration with airless pump manufacturer Megaplast has recently launched the Polydose airless system, an airless pump tube line with sizes ranging from 15- to 150ml. Intended for oxygen-sensitive lotions and crèmes, the pump features a self-sealing actuator and a soft shape. It is also metal-free.

A range of decoration options are available, including various printing options, hot stamping and relief effects. Tubes can be filled under normal conditions, according to the company.

Introducing Jars

Innovation continues to move airless technology into different directions. When Italy-based Alta Care Laboratories created its sophisticated formulas for SPF50+ and SPF30+ Dermastir Caviar sun protection, it needed an equally sophisticated container.

The formula's ingredients and UV filters required protection from oxygen, heat, light and bacteria. In order to meet this need, Alta Care Laboratories developed its own proprietary airless jar.

"They are unique because they are airless jars, not airless bottles [typical of the market]," says Ivan S. Pullicino, managing pharmacist for Alta Care Laboratories in Rome. Explaining the technology, he says, "It works just like all the airless bottles, but the airless jars have a wider pump that gives a better presentation and it also has a superior actuator." The actuator delivers controlled doses to eliminate the possibility of contamination from double-dipping into the cream.

In addition to its airless quality, Dermastir's packaging features three nesting jars to create a "thermos effect," says Pullicino, serving to protect ingredients from heat. The metallic-coated inner jar reflects infrared to keep the formula from light and eliminate the possibility of turning yellow after opening. Dermastir is currently sold in the 50ml size at pharmacies. There are other airless jars on the market today. Cosmopak has launched a Touch Jar for the luxury skin care market segment. The jar contains a vacuum system. "The twin-walled PVC jar is topped with a sculpted PP concave palette; [simply] push down and the product is automatically dispensed through the rubber tip onto the palette," says Carr.


Considering its popularity, airless packagings need to find ways to differentiate from other airless packages. In the never-ending quest to catch the eye, several airless packaging trends are noteworthy.

The first trend has to do with packaging shapes. "The category continues to grow. In the beginning, it was only round packaging. As the technology has increased, we begin to see oval packagings and more shapes to come," says Slowey of Arrowpak.

Matsa Beauty Packaging - Personal Care has noted the use of dual airless packagings, where two piston bottles are positioned next to each other. Matsa has teamed with companies such as Valanni Cosmetics, Finland to introduce dual airless chambers to market.

Slowey comments on the same trend, saying, "There are currently dual airless pumps bottles that allow the two ingredients to be packaged separately and mixed when ready."

There are also trends involving differentiating more traditionally shaped airless packagings. Sweeney of Mega Pumps sees a "trend toward multiple products suspended in a gel, like Olay's Definity Color Recapture. Three products twist together beautifully inside the packaging," he states.

In general, there's a "higher level of decoration," comments Sweeney.

There are multiple ways to differentiate through color and decoration. For example, two European products recently utilized Rexam's Prodigio pump, but launched with extremely different looks. Bottega Verde's Uomo Energy Power anti-wrinkle, anti-stress formula was customized with an electric-blue actuator and tank. Kelemata's Victor anti-fatigue cold cream strikes a completely different image with a black actuator and a green-labeled tank.

The differentiation is made possible because "the Prodigio is designed with a large decoration area for optimal point-of-sale impact," says Lemeunier.

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