What Are the Most Common Types of Plastic Packaging Materials in cosmetic?

by | May 17, 2023 | Articles


Plastic packaging plays a crucial role in the cosmetics industry, it shares 61% market in cosmetic and personal care products packaging. Plastic packaging ensures product safety, convenience, and attractiveness on store shelves. Have you ever wondered about the different types of plastic materials used in cosmetic packaging? In this article, we will explore the most common types of plastic packaging materials found in the cosmetics industry, discussing their characteristics, applications, and benefits. So, let’s dive in and discover the world of plastic packaging for cosmetics!

Classification of Plastic Packaging Materials

When it comes to plastic packaging materials, they can be broadly categorized into two main groups: rigid plastics and flexible plastics. Let’s start by exploring the commonly used rigid plastic materials.

A. Rigid Plastics:

1.   Polyethylene (PE):

Polyethylene, often abbreviated as PE, is a versatile and widely used plastic material in cosmetic packaging. Its flexibility, durability, and resistance to moisture make it suitable for various applications. PE is commonly found in bottles, tubes, and jars used for storing creams, lotions, and liquid-based cosmetic products. It provides excellent barrier properties, protecting the product from external factors while ensuring easy dispensing.

2.   Polypropylene (PP):

Another popular plastic material in cosmetic packaging is polypropylene, known as PP. PP offers excellent clarity, impact resistance, and chemical compatibility, making it suitable for packaging a wide range of cosmetics, including shampoos, conditioners, and facial cleansers. Its robustness and resistance to high temperatures make it ideal for packaging products that require sterilization or are exposed to heat during manufacturing.

3.   Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a widely used plastic material in the cosmetics industry due to its affordability and versatility. It is commonly employed in packaging transparent containers, such as bottles and blister packs, for various cosmetic products like nail polishes, mascaras, and lipsticks. PVC’s transparent nature allows consumers to view the product inside, enhancing its visual appeal.

4.   Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG):

PETG is a variant of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), specifically designed for cosmetic packaging applications. It combines the clarity and toughness of PET with improved chemical resistance. PETG is commonly used for transparent bottles and jars, providing an excellent showcase for products like perfumes, serums, and body lotions. Its ability to withstand drops and impacts makes it a popular choice for travel-sized containers.

5.   Acrylonitrile Styrene (AS):

Acrylonitrile Styrene, also known as AS, is a rigid plastic material that offers excellent clarity and impact resistance. AS is commonly used in cosmetic packaging for items like compact cases, lipstick casings, and powder containers. Its high gloss finish and ability to showcase vibrant colors make it an attractive choice for enhancing the visual appeal of cosmetics.

6.   Acrylic:

Acrylic is a transparent plastic material widely used in cosmetic packaging due to its excellent clarity, UV resistance, and scratch resistance. It is commonly found in cosmetic display stands, perfume bottles, and cosmetic organizers. Acrylic’s elegant appearance and durability make it a preferred choice for premium cosmetic brands.

Remember to stay tuned for the next section, where we will explore the world of flexible plastics and their applications in cosmetic packaging. Understanding the different types of plastic packaging materials will provide valuable insights into the choices made by cosmetic companies to preserve and present their products effectively.

In the upcoming section, we will delve into flexible plastics, including Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polyethylene (PE), and Polypropylene (PP), and discuss their role in cosmetic packaging.

B. Flexible Plastics:

7.   Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET):

Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly known as PET, is a lightweight and durable plastic material widely used in flexible cosmetic packaging. It is commonly found in the form of bottles, jars, and pouches for products like shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. PET offers excellent clarity, chemical resistance, and barrier properties, ensuring product integrity and visibility.

8.   Polyethylene (PE):

Polyethylene, as mentioned earlier, is not only used in rigid plastic packaging but also finds extensive applications in flexible plastic packaging for cosmetics. PE is utilized in the form of squeeze tubes, sachets, and flexible pouches for products like creams, gels, and masks. Its flexibility, ease of sealing, and moisture resistance make it a preferred choice for travel-sized and single-use packaging.

9.   Polypropylene (PP):

Similar to PE, polypropylene is utilized in both rigid and flexible plastic packaging for cosmetics. In the realm of flexible plastics, PP is commonly employed for products such as lip balms, lip glosses, and mascaras. PP provides excellent moisture barrier properties, chemical resistance, and flexibility, ensuring the safe storage and dispensing of these cosmetics.

C. Bioplastics:

As the demand for sustainable packaging grows, bioplastics have emerged as an eco-friendly alternative in the cosmetics industry. These plastics are derived from renewable resources and have a reduced environmental impact compared to traditional plastics. Two commonly used bioplastics in cosmetic packaging are:

1. Polylactic Acid (PLA):

Polylactic acid, or PLA, is derived from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugarcane. It offers good transparency and is often used for clear packaging, such as transparent windows in cosmetic boxes or sleeves. PLA is biodegradable and compostable, making it an attractive choice for environmentally conscious brands.

2. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA):

Polyhydroxyalkanoates are a group of biodegradable polymers derived from microbial fermentation of renewable resources. PHA offers similar properties to traditional plastics and is used in cosmetic packaging for various applications, including bottles, tubes, and jars. Its biodegradability and low environmental impact make it a sustainable choice for cosmetic packaging.

Specialized Plastic Packaging Materials:

Apart from the commonly used plastics mentioned earlier, there are some specialized plastic materials employed in specific cosmetic packaging applications. These include:

A. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS):

ABS is a durable and impact-resistant plastic commonly used for cosmetic packaging, particularly for compact cases, lipstick casings, and mascara containers. It provides excellent surface finish and dimensional stability, allowing for intricate designs and customizations.

B. Polystyrene (PS):

Polystyrene is a versatile plastic material used in cosmetic packaging for items like clamshell containers, foam inserts, and display stands. PS offers excellent clarity, lightweight properties, and ease of customization, making it suitable for showcasing cosmetic products.

C. Polycarbonate (PC):

Polycarbonate is a strong and impact-resistant plastic used in cosmetic packaging for items like mirrors, eyeshadow palettes, and skincare device casings. Its transparency, heat resistance, and durability make it a preferred choice for high-quality and long-lasting cosmetic packaging.

By understanding these specialized plastic packaging materials, cosmetic companies can make informed choices to meet their specific packaging requirements while ensuring product protection and consumer appeal.

Next, we will explore sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging in the cosmetics industry and their potential to reduce environmental impact. Stay tuned for an insightful discussion on paper-based packaging, glass packaging, and metal packaging.

Remember, in the world of packaging, sustainability is key, and exploring alternative options can pave the way for a greener future.

Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic Packaging:

As the need for more sustainable packaging solutions arises, the cosmetics industry is actively seeking alternatives to traditional plastics. Here are some sustainable options gaining traction:

A. Paper-based packaging:

Paper-based packaging has gained popularity as a sustainable alternative. It can be used for cosmetic boxes, cartons, labels, and inserts. Paper is recyclable, biodegradable, and renewable, making it an eco-friendly choice. Moreover, innovative techniques like paperboard folding and molded pulp packaging offer excellent protection and aesthetic appeal.

B. Glass packaging:

Glass has long been associated with luxury and elegance in the cosmetics industry. It is a recyclable and inert material, preserving the integrity of cosmetic products. Glass bottles and jars are commonly used for fragrances, serums, and high-end skincare products. The transparency and visual appeal of glass packaging contribute to the overall premium look and feel.

C. Metal packaging:

Metal packaging, such as aluminum or tinplate containers, offers durability and recyclability. It is commonly used for cosmetics like solid perfumes, lip balms, and pressed powders. Metal containers provide a sleek and sophisticated appearance while ensuring product protection and longevity.

Sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging not only reduce environmental impact but also cater to consumers’ increasing demand for eco-conscious choices. Cosmetic brands adopting these alternatives can showcase their commitment to sustainability and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.


Plastic packaging materials play a vital role in the cosmetics industry, ensuring product safety, convenience, and aesthetic appeal. Understanding the different types of plastic materials used in cosmetic packaging helps us appreciate the characteristics, applications, and benefits they bring to the industry.

From the rigid plastics like polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride to the flexible plastics such as PET, PE, and PP, each material serves specific purposes based on its properties and suitability for different cosmetic products. Additionally, specialized plastics like PETG, AS, and acrylic offer unique features and enhance the visual appeal of cosmetics.

As the industry moves toward sustainability, bioplastics like PLA and PHA provide eco-friendly alternatives, while specialized materials like ABS, PS, and PC cater to specific packaging needs. Furthermore, the exploration of sustainable options like paper-based packaging, glass packaging, and metal packaging showcases a commitment to reducing environmental impact.

By keeping your audience in mind and writing in a conversational tone, this article aims to provide valuable insights into the world of plastic packaging materials in cosmetics. Remember to always consider sustainable alternatives and encourage the shift towards greener packaging practices in the industry.

Together, we can contribute to a more sustainable future for the cosmetics industry while preserving the beauty and functionality of packaging materials.



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