Consumer Engagement Trends in Cosmetics Packaging with Special Effects

Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Consumer Engagement Trends in Cosmetics Packaging with Special Effects | H&H Graphics

Cosmetics Packaging & Special Effects Trends

Can your folding cartons, blister cards, gift boxes, and other cosmetics packaging reach out and touch someone? Can the consumer smell them? Do the visuals draw attention to your products? Does it capture the brand and product message in a way that engages your target demographic?

With so many cosmetics fighting for attention on a declining number of store shelves—thanks to Amazon, other e-tailers and warehouse clubs—it's critical for yours to stand out, and visual differentiation is not enough.

Special effects have been incredibly effective in engaging consumers in unique ways and maximizing ROI of your packaging spend but, with so many options, what makes the most sense for cosmetics? Here are a few special effects trends in cosmetics packaging for you to consider for your next packaging project.

Vibrant Colors

Silver and gold used in cosmetics packaging is a good way to increase your visual differentiation and we have two ways to implement this:

  • Reflective: a study conducted by the Clemson University's Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design & Graphics found that reflective packaging attracts attention faster—by roughly 1.5 seconds—than non-reflective and retains that visual contact a bit longer
  • Glitter: adds pop, sparkle and elegance to any printed piece and, when using ultraviolet coatings, glitter will never rub off and can be matched to the Pantones® of your logo – just choose your printer wisely as poorly implemented glitter can appear cheap and gaudy, negating all of its benefits


When we encounter a scent with a pleasant association, we reflexively breathe it in. That deep breathing lowers our heart rates and promotes a relaxed feeling. The impact is significant enough that hospitals have begun experimenting with the use of comforting smells to help reduce their patients’ sensation of pain. The aromatherapy people have known this for years.

For cosmetics brand managers, the science of scents offers an opportunity to create a similar association of well being with your cosmetics through packaging and displays.

Need help picking a scent? Cinnamon is associated with money, trade and prosperity. Peppermint enhances concentration and memory. Lavender calms and soothes.


Once noticed, packaging that invites being picked up, is pleasant to touch and is easy to hold as the consumer reads the label, improves the chances of establishing an emotional connection. Products that get picked that create an emotional appeal due to how they feel are less likely to be returned to the shelf.

The science behind it has to do with what behavioral psychology experts refer to as the "Endowment Effect," which is triggered by a sense of ownership. Experiments have shown just picking something up can trigger this effect. Then, once an object starts to feel as if it is "owned," it is endowed with a higher value. In finance, the Endowment Effect is used to explain why, once an investor buys a stock, it becomes so hard to sell, regardless of market conditions.

Soft Touch

The Endowment Effect is one reason that Apple retail packaging incorporates the velvety Soft Touch special effect.

According to a recent Packaging Digest article, "More than two thirds (70%) of survey respondents are more likely to buy a product if it is covered in soft-touch material," and it generates "247% more positive emotions than plain packaging."

Raised UV Gloss

When raised gloss is screen printed with UV coatings, we get a better lay-down, which maximizes impact – raised UV coatings offers an impactful level of gloss and texture and really makes a piece pop. Lay-down refers to saturation, as more UV coating is laid down on the substrate.

Non-screen printing options to apply gloss are common but are limited in saturation, leading to a much less compelling result. 

Special Effects for Your Next Packaging Project

Like something you see here? Yes or no, put our R&D team to work for you to create a custom combination of special effects so that your cosmetics packaging is Anything but Ordinary.

Recent Posts