With more than a couple of decades in this field, I feel compelled to tell you that our clients sweat over the packaging of their products. I have seen so many horror stories when packaging is selected for various applications without the required testing and it never ends well, so it’s important to do some package testing.
However, many skin care entrepreneurs and brands do test their product formulations and the packaging themselves, or with the assistance of their filler or chemist. For this, we indulge them quite effectively by providing them with samples that can be tested for water and air exposure, the merciless shipping process and durability, that they can test with their unique formulation. To help our clients out and to educate them better on what to look for when they are trying to choose the packaging designs or type for their skin care product, we have some helpful information that will make package testing so much better.
The Sealing Test – Package Testing
There are three critical tests to ensure the packaging is sealed and the product will not leak or diminish the result you want your consumers to experience.
- Ensure that the packaging does not leak over time whether in an upright or in an upside down position. Make sure the package is airtight, and be aware that leakages of gases that will contribute to evaporation.
- Check the bottle and cap with the actual capping or sealing procedure to be used when in production. If the capping is to be done with an automatic capper, test with the automatic capper and note the torque required on your machine. If capping manually, ensure the trials are carried out with hand capping. If it is a tube that is being sealed, check that the tube filler has specified the actual amount of unvarnished space required for crimping/sealing so that the seal is structurally sound.
- Think about how you intend to ship/freight the finished goods. Some products will not have a problem in cartons and on pallets, but when sent via post without sufficient protection or outer packaging, it could result in the cap opening in transit, resulting in leakage.
Capacity Test – Package Testing
This test determines how much headspace or ullage is required for the product to be used effectively, even when it is exposed to different temperatures. For example shampoo products usually foam when being filled and these may require more space to allow for this in the package. When packaging powders the formulation will fluff going into the container and even when looking at filling grams to milliliters the specific gravity needs to be taken into account to get the desired capacity.
If you choose a dispenser instead of a cap, the extra space should be accounted for that will be taken up by the non visible housing of the pump or spray that sits below the neck of the bottle.. For this, sample product packaging should be filled and sealed to define the exact amount of product a packaging can hold. At this stage of testing if you have not done so before, arrange a consultation with your filler to refine all these fine points, they will have a wealth of experience to rely on to ensure that the product can be filled under normal production conditions, so that you are not later having to pay extra for choosing packaging that slows down the filling process.
Chemical Compatibility Test – Package Testing
Different formulations have different concentrations and ingredients that react differently in different temperatures or exposures under stability testing. For example, some formulations with more or less of an active ingredient may discolour or panel the bottle or tube (i.e. Suck the walls in). Your filler, or a chemist, can help you carry out accelerated tests to ensure that the packaging that you have chosen doesn’t change the colour, consistency or functionality of the product.
We are happy to assist in any way with basic advice, free resources or alternatives. In terms of specifics to your formulation, the ultimate responsibility will lie with you to determine the compatibility of the packaging in conjunction with your filler or chemist.
Printing Test – Package Testing
In the case of printed packaging you should always make sure the print adhears well to the bottle the industry standard is to test with 3M tape that is applied to the surface and pulled away. If the print is intact then it is what is normally acceptable.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or send me an email, I will be happy to have a chat.