Part 1 of 2

Packaging naturals for an upscale market

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics Bottle

Katharine L’Heureux, Founder, Kahina Giving Beauty
Katharine L’Heureux, Founder, Kahina Giving Beauty
Well ahead of any trend, Katharine L’Heureux, the enterprising founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, saw the opportunity to elevate natural skin care. She spoke with Cosmetics Design about distinctive packaging, where the naturals category is going, and how formulators can keep up.

Kahina Giving Beauty launched in 2009 with four products formulated with organic fair trade argan oil and in 2010 became the first certified organic line of skincare to be sold at Bergdorf Goodman.

“I wanted to shift the perception of organic skincare from its hippie roots to a more luxurious experience tailored to a more sophisticated audience,” ​Katharine L’Heureux, the company’s founder, tells Cosmetics Design. She did that, in part, with packaging.

Conventionally, natural and organic personal care items announce themselves with neutral packaging or clear containers; others show up on the shelf in bright versions of primary colors like sunshine yellow or leaf green.

These packages make the products standout as naturals and also identify them as something very different from luxury personal care products.

Bottling beauty 

As more consumers become interested in natural and organic ingredients, leading edge brands in the category are nudging in on the upscale market. Distinctive packaging is helping those brands make the move.

Kahina Giving Beauty skin and body care products are packed in dark glass bottles and jars. Once L’Heureux found the right material, she knew it: “When I discovered the violet glass I thought it was stunning and unlike anything I was seeing on the shelves.”

Though simultaneously elevating a category and meeting consumer expectations takes a fair amount of effort. “In fact, there was quite a lot of resistance from customers at first because of the lack of transparency in the bottles,” ​says L’Heureux. “But because the violet glass, in addition to being beautiful and recyclable, also works to protect the delicate ingredients within, I was able to defend using the packaging to customers,” ​she explains.   

Reduce or reuse

Natural personal care brands sometimes opt for packaging that doesn’t look and feel like mainstream or luxury beauty packages in an effort to meet their own ethical objectives for sourcing and disposal. And, consumers buying naturals do generally want packaging that feels environmentally compatible.

Thoughtfully selected, sophisticated containers—like the violet glass Kahina Giving Beauty products come in—can meet this objective too. Though finding the right balance between practicality and environmentally friendly took some trial and error.

Initially, “Kahina started out with a reusable bottle policy, which asked customers to ship the glass bottles back to us for refill. What we soon realized was that the energy cost of shipping the bottles back to us and cleaning them was greater than simply recycling the bottles locally,” ​L’Heureux explains.

“We use minimal packaging, recyclable glass, and recycled paper in our boxes,” ​she tells this publication. “Even our samples are environmentally friendly.”

Tomorrow, Cosmetics Design will share the rest of our conversation with L’Heureux, exploring where the naturals category is going and how product formulators can keep up.

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