Skincare Packaging: Prestige verses Sustainable

Skincare Packaging: Prestige verses Sustainable

Posted by Kiri Yanchenko on

What are you really paying for? The skincare formulation or the branding?

Fast facts (and perhaps some unpopular opinions)

  • Luxury packaging is often more expensive than the actual formula.
  • Brands create heavier bottles and jars to make the product seem more luxurious and that you feel you’re getting value for your money.
  • Discarding the artful packaging and empty pretty jar adds to the 120 billion units of beauty packaging waste per year!

(Insert crowd silence)

Ok, now that is out of the way here is the big question, and be honest with your answer.

Q: If your favourite expensive skincare brand went label-less and changed their packaging to a lightweight plain white bottle or jar, would you still buy it?

Q: Is the formulation that incredible in plain unbranded packaging that your skin could not possibly go through life without it?

If you truly answered yes, please continue reading on as food for thought. If not you may really just be romanticising your skincare purchases purely from what the branding looks like and the experience you feel it creates. As well as achieving that all important vanity shelf aesthetic (that no-one else can see to appreciate except yourself).

AMPERNA® Skincare Packaging

What price are you really paying for your skincare?

I mean the whole shebang, from the packaging to the actual formulation. With more expensive products come better ingredients, more-sophisticated technology, and more research, right?


This is just a clever marketing reason targeted at consumers. In the US the cosmetic space isn't regulated by the FDA, which means no one is really checking to ensure that all those fancy shh-mancy ingredients and advanced formulas in a luxury skincare product are really doing the most for your skin.

Giant skincare brands will often take a formula from another brand that’s doing well and on ‘trend’, redecorate it and repackage it and BOOM, it’s their own. So, with every new product launch and new packaging design that seduces and lures you in, it keeps you in a skincare consumer chokehold.

They want you to keep repurchasing from them as they’re always reinventing the wheel and bringing you the newest and greatest in skincare.

But in case you haven’t already heard this, expensive doesn’t always mean a better. Nor does heavier prettier packing.

If you had to blind sample a $300 serum to a $30 serum what truly deciphers what serum is better for your skin? And how would you know which was the more expensive serum to less expensive product? Skincare brands know exactly how to convince you that you’re getting the best skincare through the experience their clever packaging provides.

Generally when you’re handing over your hard-earned money for an expensive big skincare brand you’re also paying for:

  • The brand name
  • Company internal costs
  • Luxury (and more importantly) ‘excessive’ packaging
  • Advertising
  • Celebrity/Influencer collabs
  • Beauty industry markups

And although you as an individual may feel special about having this luxurious feeling product in your hands remember these big skincare brands are ordering and producing packaging in bulk. So the more volume they have to order of materials the less it costs for them to make.

AMPERNA® Skincare Packaging

The Ugly Price of Packaging

First impressions matter, so of course packaging is very important for a skincare brand. It firstly protects the product from degrading and contamination and should provide ease of use and appropriate storage for the consumer.

There are many popular packages in the skincare industry, such as

  • pumps
  • sprayers
  • airless bottles
  • droppers
  • tubes
  • jars

And these come in a variety of finishes from plastic to glass to even metal. Skincare packaging not only convey beauty but also helps to set brand awareness.

Since the packaging is what consumers initially see, it greatly influences how they view the product and that’s why the appearance is very important. However, there is a fine line between appropriate sustainable packaging verses excessive and OTT packaging.

Also having appropriate packaging to preserve the integrity of the ingredients instead of compromising this and opting for an Instagram-worthy aesthetic. For example, jars tend to be less expensive and easier to fill, but they leave the product exposed to oxygen and light, both of which degrade the quality of the product. Plastic pumps are an effective way to prevent degradation while also making it easier for users to dispense the exact amount of product they need.

Big beauty brands go all out and often the more expensive or luxurious a product is, the more nonessential packaging you find. About 70% of the beauty industry’s waste comes from packaging, including plastic, paper, glass, and metals. A lot of which end up in landfills year after year, which contributes to the loss of 18 million acres of forest annually... That is not a pretty outlook for our mother earth.

“Our customers expect prestigious packaging – heavy glass, big boxes and lots of paper,” says Sandrine Sommer, Guerlain’s head of sustainability. Even so, the brand has managed to cut its carbon footprint. By making its iconic moisturising cream’s pot 60% lighter, Guerlain has halved each cream’s carbon emissions. A package redesign helped too: “Simply using a condensed square box requires up to 40% less resin than round packaging and takes up less shipping space,” reveals Somme. However this is a teeny tiny tip of the iceberg for just one of its products in their range.

Recycling is not always straightforward with skincare packaging either because brands make most boxes, bags, and containers with mixed materials. Even when the components are separable, it is usually a waste of time for recycling workers.

AMPERNA® Skincare Packaging

This is where AMPERNA® cuts through the B.S.

  • First and foremost AMPERNA®'s formulas were created to work hard for you.
  • AMPERNA® skips the overpriced packaging so more money is spent on the actual formula, as the formulas are the star of the show.
  • AMPERNA® provides sustainably priced packaging by blowing our black bottles (we use black to protect the ingredients) from 100% recycled PET.
  • AMPERNA® is proudly certified plastic negative, which means for every one kilogram of plastic used we remove two kilograms of plastic from the environment.

We also offer a flexible spatula in the range to enable you to scrape every single last drop of product out of the packaging.


@ampernaskin #stitch with @Brandefy #OneSliceChallenge Product Packaging VS Price of product. A lot of the time you are buying products in “Fancy” packaging but how much of the product are you actually paying for compared to the packaging 🤔 At Amperna our focus is creating high end formulas at a fair price. lets talk about it. Whats your thoughts ? Is high end packaging becoming less important as the focus on sustainability is on the rise ? #products #packaging #packagingdesign #productpackaging #skincareproducts #sustainability #sustainable #sustainableliving #sustainablepackaging #highendproducts #skincareproducts #skincaretiktok #skincarecheck ♬ Ain't Sayin' No (Instrumental) - The Young Ebenezers


In Closing

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your skincare. You don’t have to be swayed by pretty branding. Expensive and excessive packaging is not what makes a formula great. And most importantly it’s bad on the environment.

Blog article author

Written By Kiri Yanchenko

Kiri Yanchenko is the founder and CEO of AMPERNA®. Having had severe pustular acne and perioral dermatitis herself, she has a deep personal understanding of the challenges faced by having problem skin. She has over 10 years of experience in skincare and holistic skin coaching and is passionate about helping everyone feel comfortable in their own skin.

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