Trends in Personal Care Packaging

Trends in Personal Care Packaging

There’s no doubt 2020 was heavily influenced by COVID-19 and the changes it brought to peoples’ daily lives – from the way they shopped, to the products they bought, to their daily personal care routines.

As consumers begin to get back to a pre-pandemic way of life (and adjust to a new normal), some new trends are influencing consumer behavior and purchasing habits. Here is what we see driving packaging innovation in personal care this year.


Berlin Packaging has identified four major factors—Sustainability, Refill & Reuse, Personalization and Healthy & Hygienic—that are shaping packaging design in personal care in 2021. Let’s take a look at how these trends are translating into new and engaging personal care products on the store and virtual shelf.

Sustainable Materials

Consumers are increasingly looking to support brands that align with their values – and environmental responsibility is among the values they prioritize. A Nielsen study shows that 81% of consumers believe companies are responsible for helping the environment.

While sustainability may have been overshadowed during the height of COVID-19, new studies from McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group show that consumers feel it is now as important as ever. Packaging often plays a key role in a company’s sustainability initiatives, and research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly options. This includes recyclable packaging, reduced packaging and packaging with sustainable materials including post-consumer recycled plastic, ocean-bound plastic, bio-plastics, and bamboo.

74% of consumers say they will pay more for sustainable packaging – Boston Consulting Group 2020 Report

Bulldog plant-based tube

Kenra bottle - ocean-bound plastic

La Roche Posay paper tube

Refill & Reuse

Mintel identified reusability as one of the top 2 global packaging trends of 2020 and we continue to see this trend booming in 2021, with personal care brands in the US and around the world introducing new refill systems.

In a recent IPSOS survey more than three-quarters of respondents said they would avoid products with too much packaging.

Refillable packaging can allow for high-quality, durable (often premium) materials to be used for the “forever” dispensers, while reduced, recycled, or recyclable packaging is used for the refills. In addition to refill systems, some companies utilize packaging that can be easily repurposed and reused. For example, Loli uses food-grade glass jars that allow for multiple additional uses when their original product is finished.

“When we started researching this [haircare refills], we found packaging waste was very much top-of-mind. Over-packaging was a deterrent to purchase.” – Virginie Helias, chief sustainability officer for P&G

Dove Deodorant refills

Loli jars made with food-grade glass

P&G Europe refills


Today’s consumers want products tailored to their own individual preferences, interests and needs. These personalized products are viewed as being more effective and providing a unique value and point-of-difference, which can result in higher consumer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Packaging plays a role in the personalized user experience, with labels being created with an individual consumer’s name and other personalized details. In addition to customizable product and labeling, there is also growing innovation around dispensers and applicators that give consumers increased control in how and how much product to use. This is particularly relevant in fragrances, skin care, bath and shower, and color cosmetics packaging.

53% of consumers are influenced by how well a product/service is tailored to their needs and personality – 2020 GlobalData Survey

Mxt Skin Care

Aura Hair Care

Clarins Serum - customizable spray

Healthy & Hygienic

The pandemic has increased the awareness of the important connection between health and hygiene, leading to shifts in consumer attitudes, behaviors and expectations.

Euromonitor identified a focus on safety as a top consumer trend for 2021.

Packaging is no longer just about protecting the product inside, but providing assurance that it is safe to handle and use. This is especially important within the personal care category where beauty routines often involve handling multiple different packs and formulations before touching one’s mouth, eyes and other parts of the face and body. Packaging with built-in applicators – like brushes, doe foots, rollers and pens – allows for hands-free application that reduces touch-points to keep the formulation, as well as your skin, contaminant free. Other hygienic packaging solutions include single-use formats and anti-microbial coatings that act as a protective barrier against germs.

“Safety obsessed is the new wellness movement” – Euromonitor International, Top 10 Global Consumer Trends of 2021

Matter anti-microbial coating protects packaging from bacteria

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The brands mentioned in this report are trademarks of their respective owners. Inclusion of these brands in this report is not meant to imply an association with or endorsement from the respective trademark owners.