Smooth package gives CoverGirl an efficiency edge

Lisa Pierce in Cosmetic Packaging on August 10, 2015

A finessed structural design for the new UltraSmooth foundation blister package elevates the consumer experience, delivers key production advantages and performs in existing retail displays.


When CoverGirl developed its UltraSmooth foundation makeup, it needed a package that aptly communicated the product’s promise of a smooth, unblemished look. After multiple design iterations, packaging engineers at Procter & Gamble and blister manufacturer Placon created a two-piece package with no hard edges but plenty of consumer, manufacturing and retail benefits.

[In June 2015, the New York Post reported that Coty Inc. is buying the CoverGirl brand, but development of UltraSmooth and its packaging took place at P&G.]

UltraSmooth’s introduction in 2014 marked the first time a mass-merchandise foundation was sold in a clear thermoformed package and with an applicator pad. The easy-open and reclosable blister holds the flexible silicone applicator pad and a flat-profile tube with 25 milliliters (0.84 fluid oz) of makeup. UltraSmooth retails for about $14 and is available in 12 shades.


Consumer-facing features

CoverGirl’s UltraSmooth foundation—specially formulated with optical concealers and sister-brand Olay’s skin-smoothing serum to tame fine facial hair for a smooth, uniform look—won a 2014 Breakthrough Award from Allure magazine.

According to Dave Wilson, P&G’s principal scientist/engineer for global package development, Delivery Systems and Devices, it was important for the package to reflect the product’s “smooth” promise, which is why the front of the blister has no harsh or sharp lines.

“The smooth rounded front panel conveys the product equity and performance attributes better than a sharp corner of a carton,” Wilson says. He points out another benefit of the blister format: “The clear clamshell offers more product visibility and ability to see the shade than a folding paper or clear carton.”

The recyclable blisters are made of Placon’s EcoStar amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET) recycled extruded rollstock. Clear pressure-sensitive labels on the front panel let consumers see as much of the foundation color as possible without removing the tube.  Silver hot-foil stamping on the labels, as well as on the tube, add a touch of luxury to the design along with shelf impact.

The two blister pieces simply snap closed and aren’t sealed with glue or welded with heat, which also lowered the cost of the package. When asked about possible pilfering in the store, Wilson replies, “The seal flange has the appearance to the consumer of being an RF-type [radio-frequency welded] permanent seal. As such, consumers typically do not realize it can be opened easily at point of purchase and do not attempt.”

Yet easy-open is a consumer convenience feature specifically designed into the package. Tabs at the bottom of the back piece bend back easily so they can be gripped and pulled apart.

Additionally, the package is reclosable. “Once purchased, the resealable secondary pack can be used as an organizer over the life of the product to hold the applicator and tube together as a kit,” Wilson says.


NEXT: Manufacturing efficiencies

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Being a longtime CG/Olay consumer, I'm pretty disappointed in this new packaging. Had I not read the article, I would've assumed the clamshell was welded and would not buy the product simply because of the difficulty in getting those damn things opened. Personally, I don't think this elevates the product in the consumer's eye. It does solidify the fact that it's just another needlessly over-packaged consumer good. Booooo P&G...bad move.