Packaging Cosmetic Samples: What To Consider

Published On: May 25, 2017

Cosmetic samples are a mainstay of promoting a beauty product, but what role does the sampler packaging play in inspiring a consumer to make a retail purchase? Women consider cosmetics to be a necessity, rather than a luxury, and sampling new products allows them to test a product before committing to buy. The reaction to the sample product packaging is a key factor in creating a positive first impression.

Brand Recognition

In sampler packaging design, it is vital that the company consider every aspect of consumer response as thoroughly as they do to the packaging design for the entire line. Cosmetic sales are heavily driven by consumer response to packaging design, color, texture, and finish. All these factors have an influence on consumer perception of the quality of the product within.

The sampler packaging should be representative of the brand and be memorable, whether the sample is picked up in a retail location, at a promotional event, or through the mail or beauty sample box subscription. Without a clear representation of the brand, even the best product will be simply forgotten. Taking advantage of the consumer’s first contact and creating a delightful first impression drives retail sales. The finishes and techniques used in producing the sample packaging should support the overall brand, while standing out as being unique, interesting, and appealing.


When planning sampler design packaging, structure naturally plays a critical role. Folding configurations such as the “iron cross” create interest, an emotional connection, and a tactile response to the sample at first contact. As with any retail sample, the structure – whether a folded envelope, a windowed package, or small folding carton – must be correctly engineered to withstand the stresses of the lifecycle of sample products. Fragile cosmetic samples in slender glass tubes require protection throughout all phases of distribution, from the moment it ships until it lands in consumer hands. Single-time use samples must be attractive, easy to access, practical, and hold a sufficient quantity to be a pleasure for the consumer to open and try. They should, of course, also be safe and in full compliance with government regulations.

Cosmetics Samples and Social Media

Women consistently read and share information about cosmetics and beauty products on social media. Response to sample products shared on reviews, blogs, and tweets has a massive influence on retail sales. New products, when presented with extraordinary design features, are discussed and shared through social media on beauty blogs, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms. Your packaging design is a critical first phase in creating shares and positive reviews – and these matter now, more than ever.

The Millennial Market

Research conducted by TABS Analytics reveals that women ages 18 to 34 are the largest cosmetic buying segment, often purchasing more than 10 different types of products each year, and make up 47 percent of heavy cosmetic buyers. How products perform and the various methods of application – e.g. contouring, sculpting, and highlighting – are high interest topics for this demographic. Your sampler packaging can be designed to connect with and appeal to this burgeoning market.

At JohnsByrne, our packaging specialists collaborate with your company to develop sample packaging designs that align with the most current market trends, and stand out as unique, tempting, and designed to inspire retail purchases.


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