27 Cosmetic Packaging Definitions You Need To Know

Whether you’re new to the cosmetic industry or have been a leading expert for the last 20+ years, there are many cosmetic packaging and plastic properties definitions you need to know. We have compiled the following definitions for you to use as a cosmetic packaging resource when ordering your packaging. Refer to this page anytime during your ordering process.

Cosmetic Packaging Definitions 

  1. Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS): This material is tough and rigid. The opaque plastic is easily altered by injection molding, extrusion and thermoforming. ABS tends to be more expensive than general or impact grades of polystyrene.
  2. Airless Bottles: Bottles that use a mechanical pump for a non-pressurized vacuum dispensing system. Airless bottles also help to extend the shelf life of the packaged product.
  3. Airless Bottle Piston: A small plastic disc which pushes the product towards the top dispensing nozzle. A small vacuum is created within the chamber when the actuator is pressed and the product inside the container is dispensed. The piston moves upwards to regulate this change in pressure. This is why there’s a small air hole in the base which allows air in through the bottom to replace the area dispensed. One of the benefits of the piston is that the product is not exposed to air until it is dispensed, which often means that cosmetic products can avoid the need for preservatives.
  4. Airless Vent: A small hole to allow air in at the bottom of the bottle to replace the area dispensed. The packaged product isn’t exposed to air until it is dispensed. 
  5. Closure: Once a product has been opened, a closure is used to seal the container for future uses. Closures can also be used in the actual dispensing of a container’s product.  
  6. Collar: The elevated rim of a container found between the shoulder and the screw-threads. See an example of a collar on an airless jar.
  7. Debossed: A stamping technique in which the graphic or text is applied from the outside and will diminish from view when looking at the product. Debossing applies the graphic or text downward from the top so that it is indented into the product. Debossing is not as commonly used as embossing, but it has a rare appearance that tends to truly cause a company’s logo to  stand out.
  8. Dip Tube: Also commonly referred to as a stem, this plastic tube of a pump or atomizer goes down into the container.
  9. Disc Cap: A two-piece dispensing closure that can typically be used to open and dispense product with one hand and one finger. 
  10. Embossed: A stamping technique that creates a raised surface in which a detailed finished can be achieved. Embossing can be useful when a graphic or text needs to truly stand out on the packaging. This technique helps to accentuate graphics on a product, which can help to really draw the consumer’s eye. 
  11. Eye Mark: This is a small rectangular printed area on the packaging, placed near the edge of the printed flexible packaging material. It is used to ensure the alignment of the printing on the front and back of the packaging, as well as to communicate to the machine where to correctly cut the product.
  12. Fine Mist Sprayer: A hand pump that when pressed, releases the contents inside the container through a strong spray. When the pump is pressurized it is able to attain the best spray effect such as a fine mist. Most often used for packaging of toner, perfume, thin liquid foundations, etc.
  13. Finish: The plastic which forms the opening of a container which is shaped to fit a specific closure. The Finish description displays the outer diameter in mm’s of a bottle or jar's neck, and a thread configuration of how the closure fits on the container. 
  14. Glossy Finish: A packaging finish characterized by shine or luster on the surface of the material. A high gloss finished product will clearly reflect light off of it. See an example of a glossy finish lip gloss tube.
  15. Hot Stamp: This is a decorating technique which uses a die that cuts metal foils from a ribbon and by heat, and embosses the die/design onto the surface of the plastic container. This method is commonly used alongside silkscreening on cosmetic containers.
  16. Lotion Pump: A pump dispenser with the ability to control output of product for the specific desired amount. This type of pump is most commonly used with lotions, liquid soaps and shampoos, cosmetic and other health and beauty products.
  17. Matte Finish: A packaging finish also often referred to as a flat finish. This look displays no gloss when observed from any angle. See an example of a matte finish airless bottle.
  18. Metallization: The procedure of coating a plastic item with a thin layer of metal in order to display a gold, silver or other metal look. This process is commonly used on closures of packaging.
  19. Output: The amount of product dispersed from the packaging container through a pump, varying between low and high output. You can view the output of every Cosmetic Packaging Now product in the product description.
  20. Overcap: This is a closure that goes over the main closure in order to protect from accidental dispensing. These secondary closures are also used to heighten the design of a package.
  21. PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol): A thermoplastic polyester that carries considerable chemical resistance, durability, and formability for manufacturing. PET uses the same monomers as the glycol modified PETG, but PETG has more powerful strength and durability, as well as offers more impact resistance and is better suited to higher temperatures. PETG is also used for techniques such as bending, die cutting and routing.
  22. PMMA (Polymethyl methacrylate): Also known as acrylic, or acrylic glass, PMMA is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. This material can also be used as a casting resin or in inks and coatings, among several other uses.
  23. Polypropylene (PP): Polypropylene is similar to polyethylene, though It is slightly more vulnerable to strong oxidizing agents. It is translucent, autoclavable, and presents the best stress-crack resistance of the polyolefin. Containers made of polypropylene are frail at ambient temperature and could potentially crack or break if dropped.
  24. Silk Screen Printing: A printing method in which the ink is forced through a design on a taut screen, made of nylon, wire, or other tough screen material, onto the container to be printed. This method is often used on closures, liners and most containers regardless of shape or size. 
  25. Soft Touch Finish: A packaging finish that displays a matted varnish rubberized coating surface. This finish is popular in cosmetic packaging because it offers added aesthetics to the finished product. The coating typically feels good to the touch, and also serves as a protection against wear and tear. It is more hygienic in comparison to conventional plastic and is able to undergo prolonged usage and stress.
  26. Stability Testing: Testing done to safeguard that a new or modified product meets the expected physical, chemical and microbiological quality standards as well as functionality and aesthetics, when stored under appropriate conditions. Since the development cycle of cosmetic products is relatively short, each manufacturer designs their own stability testing program so that it is economically reasonable and efficiently addresses the testing requirements.
  27. Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) - AKA Acrylic: Thermoplastic copolymer with favorable stiffness, which is scratch, chemical and stress-crack resistant. SAN is comparable to general purpose polystyrene except for enhanced impact resistance and barrier properties; increased rigidity and UV stability; natural straw color; transparent. See an example of our acrylic jars.
Have any other questions? Contact us today to find the best cosmetic packaging products for your business. You can order off our website with no MOQs or talk to a sales representative to get custom options.