To be clear, CBD is not a high-inducing ingredient. THC delivers a psychoactive “pot high” while CBD is thought to alleviate inflammation minus the psychoactive impact. At a time when alternative pain management is highly sought after, there’s been a proverbial explosion of new cosmetics, topical oils, skincare balms and lotions featuring CBD as the marquis ingredient, with packaging playing a critical role in product differentiation.
“Being the first brand to provide color cosmetics infused with CBD, I knew that I wanted my brand’s packaging design to be different than anything seen in the CBD market,” remarks Kristen Delacruz, founder & CEO, Spectra Cosmetics, which markets a line of CBD-infused color foundations, liquid lipsticks and treatment face masks. “I wanted the feel to be bold and different while maintaining our quality standards.”
When Delacruz began the process of sourcing her brand’s packaging, she says she knew straight away that she needed dark tubes. “When it comes to the primary packaging of cannabis oil products, the most important thing is to protect the product against light, heat and air exposure, because they all play a part in the breakdown of natural cannabinoids like CBD,” she comments. “Our foundation tubes are both airless and maintain the darkness that the product needs in order to keep our broad-spectrum CBD oil at its peak level, instead of being completely exposed to the light and degrading away.”
Both Spectra’s liquid lipstick and foundation packages also feature functional and colorful, peak-a-boo componentry–a window on liquid lipstick tubes and a transparent base on liquid foundation packages—which give customers a convenient glimpse at the product shades contained within the protective packaging.
For Saint Jane Beauty, packaging both protects the integrity of active ingredients and reinforces the luxury status of its Beauty Serums and Microdose Lip Glosses. The brand’s 30ml Luxury Beauty Serum and 120ml Luxury Body Serum feature understatedly elegant, matte black bottle/dropper configurations emblazoned with gold-colored metal labels. The droppers are housed in secondary paper tubes featuring a tastefully moody floral motif and coordinating gold accents. Saint Jane Beauty’s five-shade lip gloss range delivers a wash of CBD-infused color out of clear, heavy walled tubes topped with black, gold-labeled caps, with secondary cartons that match the paper tubes.
Elevate CBD Cosmetics is another CBD brand to watch. The company’s skincare, body care, tinted moisturizers and sheet masks for men and women marry CBD and aloe to help with anti-aging, quell breakouts and promote calmness to skin. The brand’s packaging design is dominated by the color white, pairing clean lines with small pops of bright color for a Zen aesthetic.
“Our purpose for developing the skincare line was to provide a luxurious, cruelty-free skincare system that couples the best quality ingredients with the highest quality lab-grade CBD,” says Janice Hardoon, Elevate’s founder. “While designing our product packaging, we wanted to present a product that was clean, functional and easy to use.”
Packaging also played an important role for BLUNT Skincare and its three-product range of clean beauty, CBD skin oils that CEO, Stas Chirkov, describes as “bold, colorful and cool.”
“My main objective was to find a bottle no other brand had,” he says. “I also wanted to showcase the beautiful colors of the formulas because we do not use any synthetic dyes in the formulation; the hues come from plant ingredients.”
Chirkov adds that his brand’s outer cartons “had to be luxurious to touch” while protecting the glass bottles during shipping. The branded worked with Neenah Inc., using its premium Neenah Folding Board 100% PC White, and painstakingly color-matching primary and secondary packaging colors for maximum visual appeal and optimum product identification. “I love it because the thickness of paper allowed us to design a built-in tray inside of the box; it protects the glass packaging,” he says. “I also like that the paper did not interfere with our color choices and the wash remained as vibrant as our formulas.”
Retail sales of cannabis-infused topical products is expected to total $850 million in 2019 and demand for cannabis product packaging is on track to reach $278 million in 2019, increasing 31% per year to $1.1 billion in 2024, according to the Freedonia Group. Primary and secondary containers like jars, bottles and folding cartons will continue to account for the largest share of packaging demand at 62% of sales in 2024.
“The rapidly expanding legality of hemp in the U.S. is clearing the way for a range of popular new cannabis-infused products, including CBD cosmetics, toiletries and other topical products such as bath bombs whose earthy, healthful image and perceived health benefits can fetch higher prices at retail than their standard-ingredient counterparts,” says Peter Kusnic, Freedonia analyst. “Due to their wide use for lotions and colognes/perfumes, the best packaging opportunities will be for bottles and jars— particularly products made of higher-end materials such as glass or ceramic that can impart an upscale apothecary image to products, that justifies higher price points.”
All containers used to package CBD products will experience growth, and forecasts say demand for jars and bottles will account for 62% of sales gains, while folding cartons, bags and pouches are expected to post very strong increases due to rapid gains in the popularity of edibles.
Freedonia suggests packaging suppliers will remain competitive by offering containers that can support product differentiation–such as high-quality graphics and a premium image.
From a packaging perspective, an ideal CBD packaging solution not only communicates brand messaging and ingredient claims, it’s also mindful of protecting the formula—which can be tricky since the ingredient sourcing, handling and testing is still evolving.
“Introducing a CBD product in the beauty industry requires a brand to perform due diligence on their sourcing and procurement of the raw material, as well as to extensively review the legislation and regulations in their markets of distribution,” comments Jessica Tarangioli, vice president of business development, FusionPKG BeautyLab, which has created a lineup of CBD skincare that includes a facial oil serum, facial mist, moisturizer, eye serum, clay mask and exfoliating cleanser, as well as CBD-infused foundation, lipstick, mascara and lip gloss. “It’s important to consider the regulatory differences between CBD isolate and full-spectrum, as these vary by market.”
“At this point in time, there are few regulations governing the quantity (purity level, THC level, full spectrum versus broad spectrum vs isolate) and quantity (percentage of CBD oil in final good) of the oil,” agrees Kelly Rigoglioso, product innovation & technical sales, CDG, a WWP global company. She notes that there are also challenges concerning legislation, regulations and compliance. “This leaves quite a large gray area when it comes to implementing CBD into our industry and the claims that you are able to make.”
Tarangioli advises that developing CBD formulations means turnkey partners like FusionPKG must be mindful of how CBD interacts with other ingredients and packaging. “Our CBD offerings vary from hemp seed oil to our proprietary CBD isolate and adaptogen blend,” she says. “We offer skincare and color packaging profiles that seamlessly integrate with our CBD formulas for a turnkey solution, including airless packaging that protects and evacuates these costly formulas at the highest level.”
Syeira Simon, product development and formula innovation manager at Cosmopak USA, says that while consumers are interested in CBD beauty and personal care, there is still a lack of understanding on long-term benefits and what type of cannabinoids or parts of the plants provide an effect. “The sudden over-saturation and explosion of product options is also adding to consumer confusion,” she explains, going on to say that working with a CBD-containing product brings with it more oversight on the raw material source and “dosing” per product. “Clients typically want a specific grade as there are a plethora of options as well.”
Additional challenges Rigoglioso points to regard the domestic transport of raw CBD, reliable sourcing (particularly from USDA certified hemp growers that contains less than 0.3% THC), determining the appropriate percentage of CBD in a final product and the potential for misleading branding/marketing.
“From a formulation standpoint, CBD oil is fairly versatile and works well with most formula bases, however, depending on the grade or source, CBD can impart a scent that some individuals find off-putting [and] depending on the level of CBD in the product, this scent can be difficult to fully mask,” she says. “At this point in time, we have not found a limiting factor or material regarding packaging and CBD oil. Since this oil is still quite new there are still various materials and environments that we are subjecting the final products to during our stability and compatibility [testing].”
CDG recently worked with Green Growth Brands, for American Eagle Outfitters, on the packaging for its MOOD collection, a colorfully coordinated wellness and personal care product line offered exclusively at American Eagle stores and online. The genderless collection features an expansive range of personal care products, bath essentials and aromatherapy with six scents for the mind and body. MOOD’s inaugural collection will include 100% hemp-derived CBD products for bath and body.
“[The] packaging needed to be playful and colorful to go along with the launch campaign and help to bring the spirit of MOOD to life,” Rigoglioso explains. CDG supplied the packaging for the body cream and hand cream, as well as the lip salve tubes, which feature two-pass silk screen deco.
The flurry of new CBD product development means packaging suppliers must move quickly to meet the needs of brands that are increasingly less afraid to innovate and push the limits on development.
Sustainability is front and center for this market segment, says Marny Bielefeldt, vice president of marketing, Alpha Packaging, but few packaging suppliers offer small quantities of sustainable packaging options. “Alpha…is building a select stocking program of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging that will be available by the pallet instead of the truckload,” she says, noting that Alpha is also reengineering some of its most popular bottles and jars to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into each container. “Some CBD-containing products are light-sensitive, so dark amber or black plastic is often chosen for CBD products instead of clear bottles.”
While stock is a good fit for some brands, others look to premium packaging, says Federico Prestini, managing director, Premi Beauty Industries. Premi’s Stocksmetic packaging collections now include a special section for CBD packaging that spans glass jars and bottles which can then be mixed and matched with accessories and decoration to deliver a premium sensibility.
Rosa Porras Mansilla, marketing communications manager, Virospack, explains that packaging should also play a critical role in the safety of CBD beauty products. “It is an ingredient that, if ingested, would cause more problems than other common active ingredients already used in cosmetics; safety rules are stricter when it comes to CBD,” she says. “The package for CBD formulas must meet more stringent safety requirements, by legislation [including] security requirements that are also regulated.”
To that end, Virospack has developed its Secure Dropper, a classic dropper configuration with a specially designed secure closing and safety lock system designed to protect children from misusing the product. The product was presented last May at Luxe Pack NY as “The Dropper for CBD.”
“It’s the first child-proof certified dropper dispenser in the beauty industry,” Mansilla says. “It requires users to press down and turn, making it more difficult to open.”
Functionally, the configuration has an intake formula dosage of 0.80ml and is compatible with 20/410 neck bottles. It can also be customized with color injection, painting and metallization. The two-piece cap can also accommodate different colors and finishes.
Siloa Inc. has also expanded its patent-pending Dual Neck Vial offerings to include a configuration that would be ideal for the CBD market. The “Drop ‘n’ Roll” vial for oil products is dual-ended and features a glass-stemmed dropper and a glass roller ball and is available in 10-, 15- and 30ml sizes.
Siloa’s Mark Bellard, owner and president, says additional versions for treatment and fragrance products are also available. The Fragrance version features a mist pump and steel roller ball, the Treatment version features a serum pump and glass roller ball, and the Oil version features a dropper and glass roller ball. Each version includes two methods of dispensing from a single vial.
“Other combinations of dispensing attributes are in the works [and] customer-driven design challenges are welcomed,” he says. “All are refillable and travel friendly [and] all decoration options are available along with funnels, pouches and other accents.”
Given how quickly CBD has been embraced by Indie and regional brands, Premi’s Prestini expects that the market will soon begin to appeal to classic skincare brands as well. “This is a new possible sale point and now that it’s a beauty trend, we are already discovering its growth in the standard skincare market as well,” he says.