Tubes Lead As Packaging Choice

Despite its maturity, the tube market continues to innovate through decoration, dispensing systems and an eye for social responsibility—and from mass to prestige, their numbers are growing. In 2012, 39.29% of new color cosmetic and skin care products launched in the United States were packaged in tubes. According to the Mintel Global New Products Database, this package choice outshines all others for new product launches in the U.S., with bottles the runner-up, clinching 22.31% of the category during the same time period. 

Tubes offer a number of advantages for beauty brands. Whether chosen because of functionality, a wide range of decorative options, or simple economics, tube-packaged products continue to pack beauty aisles no matter what the price point. 

Although tubes have long been a beauty packaging staple, tube 

Maui Vera tubes, printed by Express Tubes, demonstrate the company’s ability to print over the tube’s shoulder and through the crimp.
suppliers continue to offer customers a myriad of ways to innovate. On the aesthetics side, many brands push the envelope of tube decorating capabilities to achieve a spectrum of results, ranging from dazzling effects to understated elegance. Functionally, brands look to sophisticated tube closures and applicators for added value that will garner loyal customers. And as many corporations also seek to ramp up their social responsibility, tube suppliers continue to push the envelope as far as sustainability.

Decorative Advances

“Overall, tube manufacturers in both North America and Asia continue to strive toward more sophisticated forms of decoration with combinations of offset, silkscreen and hot stamp decoration,” says Jim Farley, vice president of global business development for World Wide Packaging. 

World Wide Packaging frequently works with marketers looking to position tube-packaged products in the prestige category, says Farley. The manufacturer’s direct decoration capabilities include offset, silkscreen and hot stamping, and the company strives for high levels of print registration. “The prestige market segment always has relied on simplicity and elegance to 

CTL Packaging offers its easysupplytube technology, an in-mold labeling process.
promote a high-end persona; however, some product lines like Josie Maran and Lorac have ventured into the heavy metal look for their tubes, closely assimilating the higher-end ‘mass affluent’ category,” Farley adds.

From mass to prestige, tube-packaged products increasingly showcase top-notch printing, whether the ink is directly on the tube or on a corresponding label. Upgrades in decorative technology make these ideals easier to achieve.

“Silk screening has come a long way with texture options and hot stamping has been elevated to the world of holograms and iridescents,” says Shanna Massey Johns, sales manager for Express Tubes. “We are always working to advance our capabilities.” Among its offerings, Express Tubes is able to print over the shoulder of a tube and through the crimp, with quantities of 5,000 tubes or more.
Chinese company Beauty Star also offers a variety of printing capabilities to achieve effects such as a metallic look, iridescents and 3D effects. The company says that the current types of tube decoration methods are offset printing, silk screen and polytech printing, but it sees a trend toward heat transfer technologies which can achieve many decorative effects.

Direct printing on a tube is not the only option available to brand marketers. Some choose to print on a label. 

AJG currently offers its five-strip tube, which enables the filling of up to five different products at a time. Individual tubes can be removed from the strip by the consumer, and a resealable twist-off cap enables reuse of the product if desired. The five-strip tube is offered in four sizes, with vials ranging from 0.5ml through 10ml. “We have come to the conclusion that for our small tubes, labels offer the best alternative for decorating. Other methods such as screening or pad printing do not offer the clarity or longevity that the labels offer,” says Richard Harris, vice president of sales and marketing. AJG can apply five labels simultaneously to its five-strip tube. 

In-mold labeling is another popular choice for tube decoration. In-mold labels also lend themselves to a variety of decorating options. For example, CTL Packaging currently touts its easysupplytube technology, an in-mold labeling process that offers complex graphics and 360-degree printing. “The flexographic printed in-mold label includes hot stamping and cold stamping options and four-color process printing, providing photographic quality print with metallic effects,” says Anna Soden, business development and marketing manager. She adds that since color matching is done with ink, there is no need to extrude out a base color, which can accelerate development time. 

Viva Healthcare Packaging also offers in-mold labeling options, having recently invested in a 10-station Gallus RCS 430 printing press dedicated exclusively to creating in-mold labels used in its injected molded tube technology for which it retains the intellectual property rights worldwide in 39 countries. “We are now able to print online in one pass flexo, offset, silkscreen, cold foil and soft touch varnish,” says Bruno Lebeault, marketing director, North America.

Tube decoration technologies continue to advance, spurred on by market needs. Recognizing the trend toward short runs, Pack-Tubes has announced its venture with Extral to enable digitally printed tubes. “We have invested in technology that will digitally print our laminated roll stock material of ABL and PBL tubes for our client base in constant need of very short runs,” says Adrian Ayala Alcocer, managing director for Pack-Tubes. “High quality graphics and short runs with extremely fast turnover time, no plates, no tools, and total quality consistency will enable Pack-Tubes to differentiate itself in a particularly high-end cosmetic and personal care niche.”


An assortment of airless tubes from Global Packaging, Inc.
Closures and Applicators

Aside from differentiating through sophisticated printing and labeling techniques, tube marketers are also tapping into applicators and closures as a way to stand out. Whether it’s a functional or cosmetic benefit, the promise of advanced componentry also helps drive sales of tubes and hold onto customers.
“There seems to be a trend toward more and more elaborate applicators, some made from materials not traditionally used for tube applications and some that are just improvements on earlier designs,” says Goran Adolfsson, president of Coesia Health & Beauty, Inc. “We are also noticing more and more sophisticated caps and closures,” he adds.

According to Farley of World Wide Packaging, the need for “unique dispensing features” is seen most in the skin care tube segment. “We see the demand for small volume tubes with various head insertion for lip, eye and face applications,” he adds. The company currently supplies tubes with brushes, paddles and flocking inserts. A valve shut-off system prevents leakage. 

Similarly, anti-aging products are driving an influx of tubes equipped with airless dispensing pumps, says Dr. VN Upasani, president of Global Packaging, Inc. As these products are mainly marketed as prestige items, the airless pumps offer a “luxury customer experience,” says Upasani, in addition to many other benefits such as product protection, precise dosing and near 100% evacuation. 

Skin care isn’t the only beauty category taking advantage of added-value dispensing systems. World Wide Packaging was recently tapped by hair care brand Oribe. “The design called for two tubes featuring never-before-seen closure systems that, at 45mm and 55mm in height, respectively, were twice as tall as those normally seen on similarly sized bottles,” explains Farley.


World Wide Packaging was tapped by hair care brand Oribe for a tube-packaged product featuring an innovative closure.
World Wide Packaging built a custom tube head to accommodate the elevated height of the Oribe package, as well as custom molds for the closures. As a testament to the care for details, the flip-top closure component required three different pieces and Oribe’s signature logo displayed as three-dimensional embossing. 

No matter what the category, suppliers have recently stepped up to offer a number of innovative options related to dispensing. Beauty Star, for example, sees a desire by beauty companies to bring an added value of physiotherapy. To this end, the company offers items such as roller balls and brushes for tube packaging. 

Express Tubes has seen an increased demand for larger orifices, which limit options for nozzles and flip top caps. For one of its clients, the company paired a custom fitted nozzle with a large-fill capacity tube. The custom nozzle could then fit on a standard 40mm neck thread once the standard screw-on cap was removed. 


Viva Healthcare has launched a dual chamber injection-molded tube.
There are also emerging solutions for dual chambered tubes. Viva Healthcare has launched a dual chamber injection molded tube. The closure can either mix the two products before dispensing or accommodate separate openings for each chamber. 

World Wide Packaging, which self-manufactures tube closures, has developed a dual lid/hinge dispensing system for dual chamber packaging, “an emerging packaging trend unique to our company,” states Farley.

Tubes and The Environment

As more consumer brands look at the triple bottom line—accounting for financial, social, and environmental health—packaging has taken the spotlight as one vehicle for change. “Wherever you can provide a more environmentally friendly tube, companies embrace it,” says Soden of CTL Packaging. 

What makes a tube environmentally friendly? For some, it means opting for a more recyclable tube, such as one made of 100% polyethylene rather than mixed resins. For others, it’s about reducing packaging, thereby reducing waste. However, increasingly, packaging experts see the package—in this case, the tube—as just one piece of a much larger cycle.

“Sustainability is playing a more and more important role in the choice of tube solutions for both organic and mainstream companies. More than a specific material, what they are looking for is a full solution where the supplier is able to prove the sustainability of it. It encompasses manufacturing, supply chain, gas emission, energy used, recyclability and materials,” explains Viva’s Lebeault. 

In fact, Lebeault says Viva Healthcare recently submitted to a full life-cycle analysis of its polypropylene tubes by a third-party company in order to properly assess its environmental friendliness. It tested Viva’s tube against four different tube types: a virgin laminate tube with no post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin; a laminate tube with 32% PCR, by weight and excluding cap; a virgin extruded tube with no PCR; and an extruded tube with 32% PCR, by weight and excluding cap. 

The assessment looked at variables such as global warming, energy demand, acidification, eutrophication and ecotoxicity. Lebeault says the report concluded that Viva’s tube, made of one recyclable material and manufactured in a single plant, rated better in all categories against virgin tubes and in all categories except ecotoxicity against tubes with PCR. He says the report stated: “Viva’s tube saves 25 to 35 percent emissions for every tube produced compared to typical industry tubes.”
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Source: Beauty Packaging Magazine
Author: Leah Genuario, Contributing Editor
Jun 1, 2013 Category: Tubes in the News Posted by: proboscidianxyz