Cosmetics and personal care
Cosmetic products are fun, but often expensive and need to be well protected to give their best performance.
Alufoil is used extensively in the packaging of many cosmetics and personal care products, although often hidden from sight. It plays a key part in their physical protection, while the metallic glitter can be used to great effect to enhance the excitement and prestige of many pack designs.
The science of cosmetics is very sophisticated – with the application of special oils, vitamins, herbal and chemical compounds – so the need for full protection from light and contamination is increasingly important. Such products may need a long shelf life both in the shop and after purchase. The complete barrier properties of alufoil can help to ensure this, coupled with exciting visual appeal and due regard to the demand for environmentally responsible use of materials.
The widest use of alufoil-based flexible packaging for cosmetics is as samplers or single dose sachets. They are popular for shampoo, after-shave, skin lotions, bath oils, liquid soap and perfume.
As samplers, alufoil sachets withstand the rigours of magazine and mail distribution where one of the tests is to withstand a pressure of 1.5 tons for 6 seconds. The graphic design of a sample sachet can be made to imitate the shape, colours and textures of the full size version.
Alufoil is used to seal the opening on jars of face cream. As well as acting as a very effective tamper-evidence feature, the alufoil prevents the product deteriorating during distribution and storage. The alufoil, usually printed, provides an opportunity to use anti-counterfeiting holograms or other features. They can be crimped over the top of the jar or, more frequently, heat sealed to provide a more secure closure Sealing system suppliers recently replaced conduction heated seals with a much faster induction heat-sealing process. This uses a high frequency microwave electrical field to precisely heat the seam area. A strong-coated alufoil material is also less prone to tearing when removed.
Flexible alufoil laminate stand-up pouches, fitted with a spout and closure, have become excellent and fashionable alternatives to bottles. The packs are light, tactile, and offer special opportunities for graphic treatment. High barrier pouches are also used inside aerosol containers for ‘airless’ sprays to separate the propellant gas from the active ingredients making up the product.
Blister packs rely on the complete barrier properties of alufoil coupled with the ‘burst strength’ designed for convenient access to the contents.
There are many innovative blister applications, such as dual blister technology which enables the contents of two separate compartments to be mixed, when required, before opening the pack. It can be used for a cosmetic facemask where the lotion is held in one compartment and a dry tissue in another. Squeezing the liquid chamber moistens the tissue which can then be removed, unfolded and applied..
For perfume sampling, a blister-based pack allows small quantities of only 0.25 ml of perfume to be tested in realistic conditions by vaporising the product, like a miniature spray. The alufoil laminate backing prevents the perfume vaporising or degrading prior to opening.
The construction of collapsible tubes used for creams and gels is another, often hidden, application of alufoil. The metal layer maintains the quality of the product against the damaging effect of light and adds deadfold characteristics to the laminates. Deadfold means the tube made with alufoil laminate, once squeezed, remains squeezed and will not spring back to draw in air and micro-organisms, so avoiding the ingress of contamination and maintaining a high level of hygiene.
For many cosmetic creams, which contain oils, water and vitamins, this can mean the quality and viability of the product are extended for the whole of the likely period of use. In addition anti-counterfeiting holograms can be used with alufoil laminate tubes.
Deadfold, along with other alufoil properties, is valuable in more traditional applications such as wrapping luxury soaps. Alufoil’s impermeability helps to retain fragrance and provides excellent folding characteristics, while the high gloss metallic print surface can be put to good graphic use to convey product quality.