Beyond “Just Sunscreen”: Innovative Formats in Environmental Protection

Beauty brands are getting excited about the possibilities that lay ahead with the growing demand for sun care.

Sun care’s rapid growth + the role of product format

The global sun care market was valued at $9.8 billion in 2017, and mineral sun care (zinc oxide and titanium oxide-based sunscreen products that are free-from chemical actives like oxybenzone) is at the top of the list of claims customers want to hear, according to observations by Mintel. Mix that with the growing anti-pollution trend, emerging blue light protection, and IR shields — and the prediction that the natural beauty market is projected to grow to $13.2 billion by this year — and the opportunities in environmental protection skin care seem endless.


GCI Magazine notes that this growth is due to “consumer awareness of the need for safe sun practices” as well as other category drivers, including “unique formats, ingredients and emerging testing methodol­ogies.” Consumers are looking for effective, inclusive products, clean and earth-friendly ingredients, and then something a bit more elusive: fun. After all, if cosmetics are fun and easy, why not also sun care? That’s where a unique format can help your brand stand out (assuming you already have a high-performing product).

Luxe Pack New York 2018

Where better to go to take the pulse of creative packaging trends than to Luxe Pack New York? A few key trends stood out at the May 2018 trade show, including the continued growth of “minis,” brands that stand for something, and eco-friendly packaging.

Minis and on-the-go beauty

Given the continued growth of Active Beauty, the growing demand for mins is no surprise. On-the-go consumers want products that can be tossed in a gym bag and re-upped throughout the day (think: sticks, cushion compacts, and setting powders).

The Virtuous Brand

Beyond practicality, consumers are shopping for a cause. 55% of US consumers say they “expect brands to be a force for positive change,” and 59% of US iGens and Millennials “stop buying products from a brand/retailer if they believe they are unethical,” according to May 2018 data from Mintel. Indie brands are extending their messaging canvas from media marketing (ads, videos, social media) to product packaging — and given that big brands are following in indie beauty’s footsteps more and more, larger brands are likely to start doing the same. But authenticity is key, and brands need to make sure that “on-pack messaging and support mechanisms are authentic, believable, and actionable,” says Mintel.

Green beauty

In a similar cultural ethos, eco-friendly packaging is pairing up with eco-friendly formulas. NPD Group already noted that prestige skin care brands that promote environmental awareness, wellness, and natural ingredients “have grown their sales by 13 percent in the 12 months ending August 2017, outpacing the overall market which grew by 6 percent during this time.” In packaging, this has manifested in the growth of natural, eco-friendly materials like glass. The clean lines, minimalism, and reusability of glass suits the essentialist clean beauty aesthetic of many niche luxury brands, so we can expect others to follow suit.

How to capitalize on format and packaging trends

Innovations in textures, formats, and packaging are taking off — and if you think sun care products are limited to a traditional format, think again. Aesthetics no longer have to take a back seat, since new technologies allow products to take a variety of new shapes. (Literally.) So there’s no need to compromise when it comes to the total package of a sun care product.


Looking for ideas? Check out like K-beauty and formats like cushion compacts. Take a peek at prestige skin care and explore luxury serums. Or turn to color cosmetics and see what’s happening with the newest packaging for primers, CC creams, and powders. Dip your toe in the “gastronomia” trend with food-textured applications, like this new ice-cream-textured face cream that melts when it touches the skin. Get creative! If you dream it, you can build it.