Refill-ready airless solutions, POM-free pumps made with PCR and/or mono-materials: in dispensing, as in other markets, sustainability is a top priority. In the luxury space, however, performance and experience-based added-value remain fundamental. Read on for a technical view of the latest pumps to hit the market.
Airless jars (Berlin Packaging and Lumson), airless paper packaging (Lumson), airless glass (Baralan’s DEA line), airless doypacks (Texen), customizable airless solutions (Quadpack’s Canvas line): airless systems are ubiquitous. They offer multiple advantages when it comes to guaranteeing long-term product integrity. This is especially important given that the most vulnerable formulas—those without preservatives—are bound to multiply. Riding the high-end trend, Lumson has developed a glass version of its Envers airless jar. “Envers Glass was developed for high-end skincare,” explains the supplier. “Equipped with a multi-layer pouch and a PETG lid, it also has a rotating, “on-off” open-and-close mechanism and is available in a 50ml format.” Envers Glass can be customized with all types of decorations and once the container is empty, its elements can be separated for recycling.”
The same is true of Berlin Packaging’s Airglass Jar (30ml and 50ml formats), which can be disassembled. This year Lumson co-designed the first airless paper dispenser with Pusterla 1880, called XPaper. The pouch system is nested into a cardboard cylinder, with no adhesive, and can be separated from the sleeve for recycling, offering an eco-alternative to plastic. Texen’s recent acquisition of PRP Création’s pouch and doypack activity will enable the company to focus on flexible airless packaging. Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Innovation Pierre-Yves Quéfélec explains: “We’re rethinking the airless pouch system by freeing it from a purely functional role and elevating it to a 100% prestige, self-sufficient solution.” The concept will be available in rigid and flexible versions, some with refill options, and with much lower plastic content. “We are currently working on the constraints of films and the requirement that decorations be sustainable and enduring.”
The refill challenge for skincare
Brands have developed their eco-strategies around reloadable and refillable solutions, which implies meeting various challenges—not least of these is developing ease of use. “A dispensing system that isn’t practical is a major barrier to repeat purchases: using a refill shouldn’t be a chore for the consumer,” remarks Patrick Bousquel, Marketing Director Beauty EMEA at Aptar Beauty + Home.
This is especially true given that a refill doesn’t have the same appeal as the original product. “We have to increase the appeal of refills; they should be elegant enough not to damage brand equity, but not so much so that they are perceived as products that can be used on their own.” Aptar is tackling this challenge with its Gaïa airless range, which emphasizes the system’s intuitive nature: the pump remains attached to the bottle, and the refill cartridge is inserted and removed via the bottom of the case with a simple pressing gesture. The company has adapted this cartridge-based device to a refillable version of its Serumony airless droppers.
Similar developments are underway at Quadpack: the company has released a refillable version of its Regula Airless— equipped with a patented snap-on ring that prevents the bottle from coming apart—available in 100% PP or PCR (excluding pump) versions. The main pieces can be unscrewed for recycling and/or refilling. Asquan’s Easy Airless is designed for refills: available in 100% PP ou PCR (excluding the pump), the user unscrews the parts to recycle or refill the pack. Similarly, Baralan has released a refillable version of its DEA line featuring a glass container that can be removed for refilling.
Bodycare sprays go premium
Silgan Dispensing has announced the launch of the Mark VII Max Blossom for the first half of 2023. Developed for the deodorant, and hair and body spray segment, this new technology for Mark VII Max screw-on pumps (compatible with the supplier’s Inverted upside-down pumps) will be added to the SP22 Panache Pulse and Sinfonia Infinite.
Étienne Brière, Senior Marketing Manager, Fine Mist and Aerosols, at Silgan, explains: “Brands are increasingly demanding alternatives to aerosols, which don’t really convey the idea of naturalness associated with companies that are increasingly focused on bio-sourced formulations. A solution without propellant gases enables brands to be coherent, while the Blossom’s pulverization technology, which delivers generous doses of ultra-fine droplets, offers a more premium experience than aerosol. Brands are also freed from the design and finishing constraints associated with aluminum containers, enabling them to deliver an enhanced aesthetic and sensory experience.
Fragrance & novel sensory experiences
What are some of the latest developments in fragrance dispensing? “We are so focused on the sustainability aspect of packaging that we almost forget the importance of the user experience: packaging is the interface between the product and the consumer, and it must deliver an additional experience,” explains Patrick Bousquel regarding Inune, Aptar Beauty + Home’s reusable, recyclable line of sprays.
With four options (Classique, HDS, Precious, and Silk), Inune takes things back to the basics to offer sensorily diverse dispensing solutions. “With more generous and wider options for eaux de toilette, and more targeted and micronized options for eaux de parfum, the experiential aspect is Iune’s raison d’être,” adds Bousquel. This lighter, POM-free line can be crimped, screwed, or snapped to the bottle, and is slated to be presented at Luxe Pac k Monaco 2022 in a new version equipped with an fastening system that facilitates refilling, one that is “simpler to implement than screw pumps,” explains Bousquel. “We are witnessing a shift in the fragrance market, and the overwhelming majority of product launches are now based on refillable systems.
Out with excess
Aptar Beauty + Home is also behind PZ Twist, designed for sun- and bodycare products. Like Future, a single-material, PE pump with no metallic components launched last year, PZ Twist is equipped with an integrated locking system comprising an on/off ring with a twist-tolock system that requires no additional cap to prevent unintended distribution.
“We wanted our range of spray pumps to respect a circular logic,” says Madalina Dragan, Marketing Director, Personal Care EMEA. “The first step was to reduce the number of independent components by eliminating caps, which all too often are not recycled, and either end up in the environment or, because of their small size, are rejected from recycling streams.” As part of a global strategy to expand the range of PCR solutions—a goal most suppliers are striving for—the PZ Twist can incorporate up to 60% recycled resins. “In other words, 100% of the plastic elements,” emphasizes Dragan. By next year, the company intends to shift its entire suncare line distributed in France to this type of cap-free system.
Striving for mono-material solutions
Eliminating metal parts to obtain single-material pumps that can be recycled is central to suppliers’ R&D strategies. After Aptar Beauty + Home (Future) and PRP Création (X-Trem), Wista DTS (Aquamarine in 100% PE), Yonwoo (Jumbo range in PP and PE) and CEP Cosmétique have taken up the challenge. CEP’s 100% recyclable CepAirless range is composed of 99.6% polyolefin (92% polypropylene). It can also be produced in PCR and is suited to both skincare and suncare. In addition, Silgan Dispensing’s Pearl 2 airless system, presented at Luxe Pack Monaco last year in a version for lotions, should be available this year.
“Made of a split plastic ring, activated by two cones that replaces the metal spring, the system is made of PP, except for the PE piston,” explains Augustin Garban, Product Line Manager EU Beauty. “Pearl 2 was created in diameter 48 for men’s skincare, but the system is to be developed in all diameters, for all types of formulas, with an additional desire to develop other singlematerial versions.
Adapting to new formulations
Performance and sensory experience, key criteria in high-end dispensing, are making gains in the lotion and skincare segment, where today most pumps deliver much gentler actuation than earlier generations. In a bid to improve performance of the Sinfonia range, Silgan Dispensing is offering more options.
“POM-free and based on the Sinfonia Elegance motor, Sinfonia Crème Elegance aims to offer an enhanced experience: the force-to-actuate has been reduced by 40%, delivering smooth, noiseless dispensing,” says Brière. “At the same time, and in response to demand for more oil-based formulations, we have developed a SR (Superior Resistance) version. Like our new SP22 SR, Sinfonia Creme Elegance SR (available in cream and spray versions) has a reinforced motor capable of withstanding the most aggressive formulations, typically oils, but also foundations and bi-phase formulas
Droppers: all the rage
“Market demand for droppers is growing,” affirms Texen’s Quéfélec. “Equipped with a precise dispensing system, the dropper is appreciated for its anti-waste aspect and is making inroads into make-up—a market that is increasingly receptive to the logic of skincare, where the image and gestures related to the dropper evoke performance.” Texen is looking to rethink the design to offer a solution that retains the functionality of a dropper while providing a new aesthetic and user experience,” says Quéfélec. The company is to present three concepts at Luxe Pac k this year. Virospack’s new range of 100% recycled—and recyclable— droppers will take center stage in Monaco.
“There is no need for sorting: the dropper can be disposed of as is in the plastic recycling bin,” explains the Spanish supplier. “The components can be recycled together and all of them—ampoule, collar, pipette—can be produced from PCR, which reduces production of CO2 emissions and waste generated at the end of the product’s life cycle.” The solution is coherent with Virospack’s eco-friendly Just Wood dropper cap, the first 100% wooden dropper cap on the market, made without glue and plastic inserts. Virospack also plans to present a new bulb injection technology to take design personalization even further with nipple-collar pairs featuring different shapes.
This article was originally published in Formes de Luxe's fall 2022 issue. Subscribe to the magazine here.