Will small packages sell more cosmetics?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Will small packages sell more cosmetics?

Related tags Makeup Cosmetics

New data suggests that consumers stockpile beauty products, neither repurchasing nor disposing of makeup that has expired, and one color cosmetics brand is betting that half-size volumes are the answer.

Stowaway Cosmetics is striving to meet the needs and expectations of today’s mobile beauty consumer with everyday travel-sized products that are EU-compliant and billed as lightweight luxury.

In partnership with real-time beauty data platform Poshly, the company surveyed 4,000 women in the States about how they use makeup and about when and why those same women don’t use the makeup that they’ve purchased.


In much the same way that tech devices (think smart phones and iPads) are more portable than the media content they contain, Stowaway’s resized beauty items make portable cosmetics more convenient and practical.  

Today, makeup that isn’t truly portable is less likely to be used at all let alone used up before the expiration date. “The average consumer owns almost 40 makeup products but only uses and carries 5 of them daily,” ​according to the data from Poshly. “That means the average person owns 8 times more makeup than they use,”​ Stowaway exclaims in a press release sharing the data.  

Makeup that consumers have lying around, as it were, isn’t makeup they are likely to replenish. It’s business lost. “For the average consumer between the ages of 25 and 50, 75% don't routinely finish their makeup - and not just before it expires, but at all,” ​according to the survey.

Stowaway thinks portion control is the answer. “Traditional cosmetics companies aren't manufacturing sizes that are designed to be finished, so it's no wonder that women don't ever make it through the products they own,” ​reads the release.  

The Poshly survey results show that 89% of women keep old makeup "just in case they might need it later." ​This despite the fact that 87% of respondents know that makeup expires.  


Stowaway points out that “women are knowingly keeping and using expired makeup that could have an adverse effect on their health and well-being.”

Usually such consumer surveys conclude that more consumer education is needed regarding product expiration dates. Stowaway sees its half-size packages as new strategy for sharing the responsibility of product safety with consumers.

The brand is banking on its certainty that full-sized products are impractical, observing that “the supersizing of makeup and its impact on women is an untold consumer issue with concerning implications for safety.”


Stowaway is hardly alone in its effort to keep pace with the dynamic lives of today’s women. Brands like Nudestix, packagers like MWV, and many others are innovating to ensure consumers of all ages have beauty products that fit in with their more active lifestyles.

There is room for variety here. No two consumers are busy with the same blend of fitness, travel, social gatherings and professional endeavors. So when it comes to portable beauty, one size does not fit all.

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