Beauty Packaging: The Likes, the Loves, the Hates, the “Why-Does-It-Matter?”s

I started out planning this post with just a couple of ideas in mind and a couple of products that really stuck out to me as good or bad examples of packaging. Then, as I went through my collection for further inspiration, this happened:


Oops. Oh well, I’ll try to keep this short!

I got some great advice, inspiration and thoughts from my friends before I started writing this post. A lot of people had great points and things I hadn’t considered in regards to packaging so I’m going to include those things in here too.

Of course, the one thing we all want from our product packaging most of all is that it protects its contents. No one wants to spend heaps of money on something and then have it get broken or fall out or get damaged in other ways. But there are other considerations, too. For example, someone on my Facebook brought up environmental friendliness as an important point and that’s so true. She nominated a favorite product of hers, the Wonderbar (NZ$25 / US$17~ plus shipping) from NZ company Sorbet as a good example and from what I have read, I agree. What a great idea. The packaging of this solid conditioner bar (great for a leg shaving cream as well, I’m told, so multifunctional too!) is not only minimal it literally dissolves in water. How fantastic! I can’t wait to try this product myself, which I will do at some point. This packaging reminds me of the Lush solid products, which are just paper wrapped. Lush generally is one of the best ranges for environmentally friendly packaging so it’s great to see companies that are going one step further.

Moving on to the products. These aren’t in any particular order.

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Kat Von D’s “Shade & Light” contouring palette

This is a great palette, I like it a lot. I’m still learning how to use it but I’m having fun with it. I love Kat Von D products, I really do, as a tattooed person I love the tattoo script and dark, gothic aesthetic. Fun fact: Kat Von D designs all the packaging for her products and draws all the diagrams and tutorial images that come with some of her more complex products (like this one and the Shade & Light Eye palette).

Pros: not a tonne of excess packaging, doesn’t fingerprint easily, great mirror, attractive design, magnetic closure to keep it closed, feels sturdy.
Cons: could be sturdier (it’s a sort of coated cardboard material), magnet isn’t super strong so there’s no satisfying “snap” closure, a little heavy so might not be travel-friendly.

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Hourglass “Ambient Lighting Powder” palette

I have a mixed relationship with these powders themselves, sometimes I think rather than making me look infused with light and glow, they make me look a bit oily. But that might be how I’m using them or where I’m placing them. But anyway, the packaging is lovely like all the Hourglass products.

Pros: very light packaging that still feels sturdy so it’s great for travel, has a press-button closure so it stays closed, minimalist branding, the not-black color means fingerprints don’t show up all that much.
Cons: useless mirror, this is a personal thing but I prefer my products to be more squared off instead of rounded, it makes them easier to store. That’s pretty much it, it’s great packaging!

Too Faced “Sweetheart” bronzer

I wanted this when it first came out but I was still scared of bronzer so I didn’t buy it. Then it was half-off when I was at Ulta once so I grabbed it because how could I not? Anyway, I love this cute packaging. I got the shade “Carrie & Big” which is a lighter bronzer with a more coral blush.

Pros: cute as heck, shiny when clean, good mirror, light – for a short trip you could take this and you’d have bronzer and blush in one.
Cons: not particularly sturdy, the closure relies just on a light magnet, the roundness / non-squareness thing again, shows fingerprints.

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Stila “Eyes are the Window” palette

I already raved about this in my favorites so I won’t go on too much but I love this palette!

Pros: GORGEOUS and shiny, very sturdy and feels like good quality, amazing mirror.
Cons: fairly heavy, shows up grime and fingerprints very easily, also this has not happened to me but some have had the individual shadows fall out of the palette.

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NARS “Audacious” lipstick

I love these lipsticks and now I have five of them. That’s a problem because each side of the gorgeous matte-black lipstick casing has a letter on it (N A R S) and now I have N A R S N.. you know what this means.. just kidding. Sorta. The best thing about this packaging is the amazing magnetic “click” closure. It’s so cool. You put the lipstick lid back on and as it gets closer to being closed the magnet engages and snaps on. It’s great and the packaging is magnetic on the outside too so they sit together tightly if you have them in the right order etc. Anyway..

Pros: cool magnetic closure, matte-black colour, fun and gimmicky design which is my jam.
Cons: shows up fingerprints, is quite large for lipstick packaging, doesn’t fit in a small purse pocket easily.

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NARS blush

I love NARS blushes. I really do. They’re so pigmented and lovely but not TOO pigmented where the blending work is difficult. The names are a little sketchy (this one is called Deep Throat) but whatever we’re all adults here.

Pros: super slim, good sturdy press closure, cool matte black packaging color.
Cons: shows up fingerprints, can’t see blush through the packaging so you have to pick up and turn over each one to make sure you have the right color blush.

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Maybelline “Instant Age Rewind” under-eye concealer

This packaging I don’t love. I do like the product a lot, the coverage is great and it’s really blendable so it’s a great choice for me. But there are hygiene issues here. The applicator is a sponge and you turn the top to click up more product into the sponge, then you apply it straight onto your face. I don’t like this. So I usually squidge some out onto my hand if I’m going to be applying it to my problem areas in case there’s broken skin that I don’t want to get germs into.

Pros: Slimline, sturdy, glass packaging, it’s easy to see how much you have left.
Cons: Not very hygienic, sponge means there’s some wastage.

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ColourPop Cosmetics Products – lippie stix and eyeshadows

This particular brand is what I was waiting for to do this post. Most things they sell are around $5 which is so cool! But every time I had seen them used I just thought how cheap and tacky the packaging looked. And for $5, I guess that’s kind of what you get, huh? But when the stuff arrived I was actually pretty impressed. Yes it’s plain, and white, and boring but it doesn’t FEEL cheap or fragile and it looks much nicer in real life than it does in YouTubes etc.

Pros: minimalist (therefore cheap), feels sturdy, lids screw / snap on very securely.
Cons: let’s be honest, it doesn’t look that nice and the eyeshadow containers are kind of unnecessarily big and bulky I think.

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Besame “Vanilla Brightening Powder”

The packaging of this is super cute as you can see. The powder is nice too, finely milled and brightening as described. It comes with a little puff that sits in another “layer” of plastic (shown above) so it doesn’t sit in the powder all the time. Clever!

Pros: Cute and attractive packaging, lid screws on securely, puff has its own little container section.
Cons: The sifter holes are WAY TOO FRICKIN’ SMALL and it drives me crazy, I have to tap a lot of times to get enough out to do anything and that’s annoying anyway. You can’t tap it with the lid closed because there’s no space for the powder to tap into due to the space taken up by the puff so you have to tap it into the lid. Annoying.

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Bourjois “Healthy Balance” pressed powder

Love this stuff, I’ve raved about it before I don’t need to tell you how good it is. A staple in my makeup daily use.

Pros: super slimline packaging, fantastic for keeping in your purse and for travel, great mirror, stays closed because the hinge is firm enough.
Cons: literally none.

Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Creme

This product is lovely. It’s a hyaluronic acid moisturizer so it’s extremely hydrating and nourishing, and I often wear it to bed when my skin feels really dry. But boy oh boy do I hate the packaging, so much. It’s mostly acrylic and it’s totally unnecessarily bulky. It’s also unhygienic – I wish every skincare product was in a pump pack even though sometimes it’s hard to get the last dregs out. I don’t want to be putting my finger in something all the time, and I hate wasting a q-tip by dipping one in every single night. At the moment because I’m dotting a little of my Kate Somerville acne treatment on with the other end, it doesn’t feel as wasteful but STILL.

Pros: feels quite solid I guess
Cons: basically everything else. Takes up heaps of room, is way too big for the amount of product, is heavy and not travel friendly, is unhygienic.

So that’s that! Bit boring I know, but it’s been brewing away in my head for awhile and I’m glad I got it out there.


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