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Revlon's spin on foundation bottles

Becoming beautiful can be a messy job, even with sleek, stylish applicators and accessories. Applying makeup for some people can range from time-consuming through stressful to wasteful. New York City-based Revlon Consumer Products Corp. is applying a high level of package innovation to help women of all skin tones turn applying foundation to their faces into a more beautiful and beautifying experience.

Rather than let conusmers seek an approximation or separate products that blended at home achieve a close match to skin tones, Revlon is using, since its January rollout, a single package that elevates dual-dispensing to a new level.

The system chosen for the foundation series is named Versadial™ from Versadial, Inc. ( and two related firms, Jarden Plastics ( and Yorker Packaging Div. (

Each of the six packages in the Revlon Custom Creations™ collection holds two shades of liquid foundation, separated in a pair of ½-oz polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, provided by Revlon, and molded to mate vertically. The two foundation products combine in the selected shade and dispense through the Versadial structure.

The matter of combining all package elements into a unit that speaks clearly and convincingly to the individual consumer is the first priority of John Butcher, Revlon's senior vp, new product support and engineering. From the outset, he tells PD, “Revlon was interested in allowing our consumer to customize a product to suit her own, unique needs and skin tone.”

Approached by the supplier with its patented variable dispensing system and suggestions for its application in the area of liquid foundation, Revlon saw its potential. Starting in early 2007, the two companies joined in using the basic packaging technology with customization, Butcher explains, “to suit Revlon's automated filling lines.”

Revlon's contributions to the structure, along with the bottles, are a silver-toned acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) basecup to connect and align them, and a full-wraparound transparent film label. Each cup has orienting cavitation in its base. The label identifies the shade range with copy and an open numeric code to aid selection by the consumer.

Versadial's external-component contributions include the clarified polypropylene (PP) friction-fitiing overcap that protects but doesn't conceal the 40-mm silver-toned PP single-nozzle dispenser cap it molds with a ¾-in. skirt that centers on a shade-range guide oriented to the main display panel. Copy immediately beneath the guide instructs the consumer to “adjust dial to customize shade.”

In fact, the consumer turns the dispenser head, which has an arrow printed directly under the nozzle, until the desired shade is selected.

Fine-tuning the shade

What enables fine-tuning to the exact shade is a pair of volumetric pump pistons whose actions are determined by a horizontal PP actuator disc as pressure is applied to the finger trigger. The pistons press down with one of the five pre-selected settings required for the entire shade range—there are 11 in all.

The disc angle determines the product flow from each bottle through greater or lesser piston pressure.

As pressure is removed from the actuator, stainless-steel springs return the pistons to their home positions. The springs sit on a PP dual cylinder with centered product flow aperture above a dual PP base and PE connector, both sandwiched between pairs of rubber valves.

The balance of the codispensing structure is more conventional, leading down to short PP tubes holding stainless-steel balls and springs and PP dip tubes to start product flow as the pistons are activated. Delivery is at a 0.25-mL volume/stroke.

A firm connection

Revlon's Butcher explains the customization rationale symbolized most obviously by the basecup. “The two bottles needed to be firmly connected and perfectly aligned in order to enable precise filling both bottles simultaneously,” he notes, as well as “to accurately position and apply the wraparound label.

“As a further enhancement, the stability afforded by the basecup assembly allowed the incorporation of a drain-back profile to the bases of the bottles, giving improved product evacuation,” proving beauty can also be practical, he says.

All involved in the program seem especially pleased that the package, from approval to shelf, reportedly needed less than a year in development.

Versadial chief executive officer Geoff Donaldson says, “We first met with Revlon at the end of 2006, but started our major effort last spring. There was a real intensity to the program,” he says.

With its January target debut, Revlon Custom Creations is getting an optimal sendoff, with introductory materials including full-page print ads in publications for women featuring actress Jessica Alba and the selling line, “This shade is mine. Go get your own.” Other advantages cited for the $13.99 seller are a lightweight formula with SPF 15 for all-day wear.

Butcher says, “It is still in early in the marketplace, but there has already been a great deal of interest from our consumers. And our retail customers have been both excited and supportive as we launch Custom Creations.”

For Revlon, that's as beautiful as it gets.

More information is available:
Versadial, 212/986-0886.
Jarden Plastics, 888/291-5757.
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