In the introduction to the conference-day co-chaired by Étienne Soudant, President of the French Society of Cosmetology, and Daniel Saclier, Packaging Development Director at LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics, Premium Beauty News proposed to draw the panorama of the use of airless packaging in the cosmetics industry.

Airless dispensers were first widely adopted by toothpaste producers in the mid-80s, for both marketing and technical reasons. Then, very quickly, skincare makers got something out of these solutions too. Today, consumers also find them worthwhile, and for many reasons:

  • efficiency guaranteed to the final push,
  • optimal use of the product, even in case of very thick formulations,
  • possibility to use little or no preservatives,
  • they allow the organic and natural trend to really make sense.

However, it seems important to begin at the beginning and to define what is an airless dispenser.

Several definitions were proposed but manufacturers usually agree to define an airless dispenser as "a non-pressurized tamper-proof dispensing system, combining a mechanical pump and a container which after being filled and closed in an air-free atmosphere, delivers the product with no air intake." They also add that the container can be used “with a piston or a pouch."

With a traditional system, when the product in the bottle is used it is replaced by an equal quantity of outdoor air. While with an airless system, when the pump is operated, the product is delivered but when the pressure on the actuator stops there is no air intake inside the container to replace the used product.

Fast-growing market

In the absence of a trade union gathering statistical data, Premium Beauty News questioned the various players on this market, which was thus estimated at approximately 500 million units per year, with annual growth rates that are simply amazing, ranging from 10% to 15%.

Korean producers are estimated to produce between 140 to 150 million units, the western ones 230 million, the Chinese 50 million units and other manufacturers 15 million... However, some participants deemed these figures under evaluated the global market that would weight 650 or 700 million units per year.

In terms of consumer countries, Europe appears as the biggest market (between 160 and 170 million units), followed by North America between 150 and 160 million, Asia around 130 million and South America with about 50 million.

Cosmetics account for most of the market (95%), then the pharmaceutical market account for 4% and food for 1%. Finally, it is estimated that 83% of the global production is composed of piston systems, while 5%%, with a pouch 10% for tubes and 2% for jars.

Numerous advantages

A success that can be explained by the numerous advantages of airless systems, which are suitable for all sorts of textures (fluid or viscous, for liquids, creams, gels or pastes) and can even deliver two incompatible or complementary products.

When it comes to the container aspect, airless can be used with a bottle, a jar, a pen or a syringe. Technically speaking airless systems offer a number of possibilities: round, square or oval shapes with sizes that can range from 15ml to 250ml. Dosages are extremely precise and can range from 0.1 ml to 3 ml.

Other advantage, an airless container never needing to be opened during its use, makes it possible, under certain circumstances, to significantly extend the period of use after opening compared to conventional products. Even when using less preservatives.

Furthermore, the excellent product restitution rate of airless packaging prevents the consumer from having a feeling of waste when he cannot use the entire product contained in the packaging he purchased.

Finally, its convenience of use in all positions, including upside down, and the smooth actuation of the metering pump offer the user a real comfort of use.

It’s not a surprise therefore that such a dynamic market attracts new comers, most of them attending the conference which also unveiled strong expectations in terms of functionalities and innovations.

To be continued...