Skincare Packaging: Jar, Dropper, Spray, Tube, Pump, Airless Pump: What’s the Difference?

I have been wanting to talk about the difference in skincare packaging for quite some time. I think skincare packaging serves one purpose. To hold the skincare product in some sort of container for dispensing, seems obvious. Now most companies go towards aesthetically pleasing and even very luxe packaging. This can be glass containers or fancy jars. I feel a luxe jar, while nice to look at, is a waste of your money. You’re paying so much extra for that luxe jar or container, not the product inside. For me, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Now, I do agree that a plastic tube for a $100 product is hard to sell. You feel that for that kind of money you should be getting a luxe package that looks nice on your shelf. So why care if your skincare product has a luxe package or not? Besides the added cost of a luxe container, there are pluses and minuses to every type of skincare package.

The most common skincare package-The Jar. A weighty glass jar always feels luxe. However, it’s the worst of all the types of skincare packaging. Every time you open the jar you expose all the ingredients to air. Air can degrade some ingredients over time, making them less effective over time. Not to mention you stick your potentially dirty fingers into the jar scooping out product every time. How many of us really do use the spatula that comes with it? If it even comes with a spatula. Plus, introducing even good bacteria from your finger into the jar can break down and degrade the ingredients as well. So while the most luxe looking and most common package is a jar, it’s the worst for the products longevity, ingredient stability and ultimately it’s effectiveness. I used to use a plastic spatula all the time, but honestly I’m too lazy to remember to do it all the time.

Next the dropper. Droppers are good for any fairly liquid product. They are great because you never contaminate the product because you drop it into your hand, never touching the product. You do expose it to a small amount of air, which is it’s minus. However, nothing like a jar. Another con, you can only get a liquid product in this type of package, and they rarely look as luxe as a jar. If you’re clumsy like me you can also knock this type of package over-spilling the contents on the counter. I’ve done this. It sucks when it’s an expensive product.

A spray bottle is great for toners or really watery liquid products. They are good because you never touch and contaminate the product. You also don’t expose the product to air everyday, so it doesn’t break down fast. So good for the products overall effectiveness. Cons are you can only put really watery products into this type of package.

The tube. The most versatile of all the packaging. You can put liquid to cream textures in them. You never have to worry about contaminating the product since you only squeeze out a small amount every time. You don’t expose the product to air so it doesn’t degrade. The tube is a great package for all purposes. The con is it’s not luxe in any way. It’s very hard for companies to sell a $100 product in a plastic tube to a consumer as “worth it” versus putting it in a luxe pretty jar.

The pump. Just as good as the tube for all the same reasons. It can also be a more luxe style package, you can have pretty glass pumps. The con, you usually end up with 10% or so left of product in the bottom, unable to pump it out. I have to turn my pumps upside down and sometimes even open them to get the last parts out. That’s a pumps con.

The Airless Pump. No air gets into this style pump making it the most effective package style for preserving a products ingredients and integrity. Airless pumps are always plastic so they can be sealed properly. They rarely look luxe, but are effective. An airless pump should pump all the product out because of the pressure, so you don’t have the same issues as a regular pump that you can open. Cons, you can’t open one to double check you got all the product out and they are rarely luxe looking. They’re functional and practical.

Overall, the pumps, tubes and sprays are the most functional. While they’re not as pretty to look at as a weighty luxe glass jar, they will keep your expensive skincare product at it’s peak effectiveness so you get what you paid for. I prefer all my skincare to be in an airless pump, pump or tube. They’re the most effective and while not luxe, serve their purpose well. Don’t fall for the luxe jar, it doesn’t mean your cream is any better at what it does. It’s just in a pretty package with a higher price tag. Now, it is hard to put a thick cream in any other type of package besides a jar, except for a squeeze tube. Hopefully this helps explain the difference between packaging types and why I’m always dissing a jar style package.

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