Cosmetic Package Testing Example

Cosmetic products are those necessities that we use to make ourselves more appealing. They include a staggering array of package types which have a specialized function because of the demanding in-use requirements; in fact, the in-use environment often represents a far greater series of hazards to the package system then the distribution environment.

It is estimated that packaging represents 80 to 90% of the actual cost for most cosmetic products. In addition, the extraordinarily heavy emphasis on marketing for these products demands that the package itself be the primary communicator of a quality image as well as brand identity.

The packaging for such products will focus on the motivation, containment, brand identification, dispensing, and utility functions of the package to deal with the hazards present during distribution, storage, and especially in-use environments. Since the product itself is often not seen by the customer prior to purchase, the package bears the responsibility of displaying the highest quality product image possible. Package testing for these types of container systems would include the following:

Package Functions Hazards & Sources Typical Test Procedures Typical Specs Westpak Capabilities
Protection from impacts Impact related damage from manual handling during storage, transportation, stocking, and in-use. Package freefall drop tests ASTM D 5276 (8) drop testers
Identification and motivation: protection from vibration induced scuffing Label or container surfaces can become scuffed from transportation vibration resulting in illegible or unappealing package appearance Random vibration tests, Scuff resistance tests ASTM D4278

ASTM D4169

ASTM F2497
More than (12) different vibration test systems, (4) scuff test systems
Protection from temperature and humidity extremes Temperature and humidity extremes in storage, distribution, and in-use High temperature and humidity extremes:
Low temperature extremes
ASTM D4332 More than (60) different temperature & humidity test chambers
Utility: ability to stack the packages for better space utilization Top load compression from storage and from stacking in vehicles Compression test to failure;
Compression test, max load and release

ISTA procedure 2 and similar
(4) complete container compression test systems
Utility: the ability to resist pressure differentials from high altitude shipment Lower atmospheric pressure of higher altitudes, above 5000 feet by truck or in aircraft, can expand any closed system Expansion and over-pressurization of sealed containers or compartments, cracking of package components, etc. ASTM D6653 (4) complete vacuum test chambers
Containment: resisting stress cracking from product interaction and top load Product interaction can cause stress cracking of polymeric containers in the presence of heat, top load, or pressure Top-load stress crack resistance testing ASTM D1693
ASTM E1681
ASTM D1975
ASTM D5571
Top-load fixturing that can accommodate a wide variety of containers
Containment and convenience: cap torque retention on bottles and jars, important for fragrance retention The caps on many polymeric bottles can lose retention torque through temperature cycling, vibration, and other distribution hazards. Cap removal torque studies following temperature cycling and vibration ASTM D4278
ASTM D4332
ASTM D3810
Complete facilities for cap retention studies at all lab sites
Utility and Dispensing spray pattern studies The spray patterns of pump and trigger sprayers can be affected by heat, product exposure, vibration and other hazards Spray pattern evaluation run before and after heat/cold cycling, vibration, and shelf life tests can address this issue ASTM D4041
Various other procedures
All Westpak locations have the capability to run this analysis
Test Procedure Example

By subjecting your product/package system to above suggested test procedures, or others, you will quickly determine the ability of the primary, secondary, and tertiary package systems to perform their intended functions in the anticipated environments. Minor adjustments, major changes, supplier qualifications, material changes, or reevaluations can normally be accomplished at this point, prior to disappointing your customer with poor product quality upon delivery.

Remember: no one's job in the Corporation is finished until your customer has a quality product and a satisfied look. This very simple but very important concept is what we call quality delivered.

Quality Brands demand quality packaging.

When considering package testing such as suggested above, consider that your package system will always be tested. The distribution environment will make sure of that. The only question to be answered is "who sees the results first, you or your customer?" A brief and cost effective package system evaluation prior to initial shipment is a good policy regardless of your product.