5th Year Thesis | Deanna Lazo
This project is dedicated to my parents for their love and support throughout my college experience.
Table of Contents
Designing an Experience 44 - 53
Current Technology 32-43
Environmental Impact 24 -31
Market & Profitability 16 - 23
Diving In 10 - 15
Moving Forward 92 - 97
Pour 70 - 91
Sketches & Inspiration 64 - 69
Findings & Problems 54 - 63
Diving In 11
Hello and welcome to my fifth year thesis book. My name is Deanna Lazo and I thank you for taking a look at my final project of my college career. As a fifth year Industrial and Interaction Design student at Syracuse University, I was challenged with completing a senior thesis. This year-long project was to be done independently and conducted on my own. This project gave me the opportunity to merge my two worlds together: design and cosmetics. Six years ago I entered the world of makeup. Two years later I started my own business as a freelance makeup artist, which I ran out of my studio aparment during college. With my growing knowledge of design I began to question how the industry could improve, and that became the inspiration for my thesis.
The value of the beauty industry is at an all-time high, and it continues to grow exponentially. Most companies are more or less marketing the same products. However, what separates each company is its unique packaging. Packaging has taken an influential role in a consumer’s decision when purchasing a product; companies are going to great lengths to distinguish their brand identity, especially high-end brands. Nevertheless, with more and more packaging comes a point of excess waste. This waste is accumulating quickly and is polluting our environment. But who is to blame: the companies or the consumers? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to that question. While cosmetic companies are responsible for their product output, consumers must also take the initiative to properly recycle or dispose of the packaging that remains post-consumption. The question that remains is: how might we reduce waste in cosmetic packaging before, or as, products are purchased by consumers?
Market and Profitability 17
The cosmetic packaging market is valued at
$534 Billion The beauty industry is valued at
$534 Billion 18
120 Billion Units of packaging are produced annually by the global cosmetics industry
Celebrity Influence It is not new to see celebrities endorse or create their own product brand. In the beauty industry specifically, there has been a surge of familiar faces plastered across Sephora, Ulta, and other stores carrying beauty products. Among the list of celebrities are actresses such as Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, Millie Bobby Brown, Gwyneth Paltrow; musicians such as Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga; socialites like Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian-West, and Trixie Mattel. Using celebrity endorsements to attract customers stems from proving authenticity. Pamela Rutledge, a psychologist who studies media issues, states, “Authenticity in marketing is really key, because it’s a precursor of trust. And trust is what gets people to buy into the story and it’s the only thing that influences our purchase behaviors.” With the age of social media, people can have a closer look into the lives of celebrities and see who they align with. From there, consumers can make decisions on whether they relate to or admire one of these celebrities and consider buying from his or her brand. Furthermore, people have less and less trust in big corporations and would be influenced by someone they are familiar with using a product themselves rather than be marketed to. Previously, celebrities were more likely to be paid by a big corporate brand like Estée Lauder or Covergirl, but now they are venturing out to create their own brands with their name and funding behind them. This practice has become more common among celebrities, and as a result, many of them take great pride in their brands when sharing them across social platforms with their supporters.
Celebrities with makeup/skincare lines Trixie Mattel, Millie Bobby Brown, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian-West (left to right)
Beauty YouTubers Jeffree Star, Desi Perkins, Nikkie De Jager, Pony Park, Manny Gutierrez, Jackie Aina, James Charles, and Deepica Mutyala (left to right)
Social Media Influence Social media has been proven to hold some of the greatest societal power, in all aspects of life. As celebrities have welcomed their fans into their daily lives, others have done the same and created names for themselves. YouTube has become an extremely important part of the beauty industry’s ecosystem. On the beauty side of YouTube, one can find tutorials, reviews, creative content, and several other experience-related videos related to cosmetics. Beauty is far past the era of using solely highly-photoshopped images to sell products and turned to these content creators for sharing their brand with the world. Public relation (PR), packages are commonly sent to social media influencers when a company wants them to talk about their products on their social platforms, whether they pay them or not. It was reported that in 2017 there were 88 billion beauty-centered video views on YouTube, expanding on the 55 billion views as of 2016. Looking deeper into these videos, there are trends of what kind of content is the most appealing. Customers are repeatedly more interested in longer videos that take the time to show more about what can be done with products rather than what brand they come from. Knowing this, content creators are better-equipped to tailor their videos to their audiences more appropriately and can increase the traction on their uploads. According to Pixability, less than 25 percent of beauty-related YouTube videos mention a brand-name cosmetic. People today are more willing to learn what types of products they should be using and how they can better use what they already may own in contrast to whose products they should be buying.
Environmental impact 25
Our Environment It is no surprise that our planet is rapidly changing; the environment is constantly deteriorating and being polluted. Single-use plastics make up a large portion of our pollution, specifically that of our oceans. According to the organization Plastic Oceans, we produce over 300 million tons of plastic annually, and fifty percent of that is of the single-use variety. Eight million tons of plastic is added to our oceans each year and ends up finding itself in the stomachs of over ninety percent of seabirds alone— just imagine how that number translates to all the other species living in or near our oceans. Ultimately, these plastics can get even smaller and create more problems. As these plastics break down, they become microplastics. Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that result from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products. These microplastics can be found not only along the shoreline but also in the depths of our oceans. Plastics have the ability to be denser or lighter than seawater. Because of this, the focus has mainly been on the plastics found across shores, since they are the ones most seen. In a study conducting research on microplastics on the sea floors, analysts explained, “because of fouling by organisms and adherence of particles, positively buoyant plastics can, over a timescale of weeks to months, become negatively buoyant and sink.” It has recently been discovered that microplastics have been under-reported; this suggests that there is a surplus of microplastics unaccounted for within the oceans. In the cosmetic industry, microplastics can manifest themselves not only in the breakdown of large plastic containers but also commonly as glitter. Because glitter is so small, it easily makes its way to the food chain and into the stomachs of wildlife. These small pieces of plastic, as a result, are finding their way into every corner of our environment.
Where Does Plastic Packaging Waste End Up?
40% Microplastics have previously been found in places such as soils, rivers, lakes, and oceans. They have reached as far as the Arctic and as close as the human gut. As of November 2020, it has been reported that microplastics have made their way to the top of Mount Everest. The materials found were predominantly polyester, acrylic, nylon, and polypropylene. It is assumed by many that these microplastic fibers were subsequent of the clothing and gear worn and used by those trekking the mountain, rather than existing microplastic debris. Although these findings were from clothing and equipment, it is important to consider how far the wind can take these fibers once they are shed; if the wind can toss around these microplastics it can certainly do so with all others.
Current Technology 33
What Packaging Does
In a consumer’s experience, there can be many layers to packaging in purchasing a single item. If a customer goes into a store and purchases a tube of concealer, for instance, that will usually come in a cardboard or paper box. The tube itself will most likely have a plastic cap, possibly even an applicator brush attached to the cap, and potentially a plastic shrink-wrapped seal over the closure to ensure it has not been tampered with. Additionally, the inside of the box can have stabilizing supports that hold the tube in place. Furthermore, on the outside of the box, there can be sticker seals and more plastic films to further show it has been protected from all stages of production to shelving. Then, when the customer brings the item to the register to purchase it, they will typically receive a shopping bag and a paper receipt; sometimes tissue paper is included in bagging the item. Clearly, there are a lot of layers of various materials in buying something as small as a tube of concealer, but why? Packaging can be broken down into three main functions: logistics, marketing, and a combination of the two. The first function of cosmetic packaging has to do with logistics. This encompasses protecting products in movement in order to reduce the risk of damage, spillage, spoilage, and loss of products through theft or misplacement. Additionally, this covers the impact of good packaging on the layout, design, and productivity of a warehouse space. For instance, shapes and dimensions are important when considering how to stack and store packaged products. The second function of packaging is related to marketing. Marketing and sales have a big hand in packaging because it is the part of the product that attracts attention and draws sales; some may argue that packaging is the single-most important factor when it comes to determining a purchase in point-of-sale instances. The third function of packaging combines both logistics and marketing. This function ensures convenience not only for the consumers but the middlemen that handle these products from production all the way to stocking shelves in a store. In this case, the packaging itself can be more than just an outer box and can be pieces that help ease the use of the actual product.
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels
One of the most common issues contributing to consumers’ lack of recycling cosmetic packaging is their lack of knowledge on how to properly recycle it. Considering the vast types of packaging such as skincare, haircare, body care, and makeup, a lot of the smaller, intricate pieces cannot be recycled curbside to begin with. Typically, these pieces would have to be sent out to special recycling plants, and sometimes they are not even recyclable at all. In order to successfully recycle, a consumer would first have to check with their local recycling unit to see what they do and do not accept in their program. Even if a product is donned with a Mobius loop, it does not guarantee that your local recycling program will accept it. The main things to consider when determining whether something can be recycled are material, size, and color. When it comes to material, it cannot be mixed. Meaning, if pieces can come apart, then take them apart. This can be caps, lids, or applicator wands. Additionally, most curbside recycling programs only accept paper, glass, aluminum, and number one and number two plastics. If something measures two inches or fewer, it probably will not be recycled since it can get stuck in small places and disrupt the process. Another appearance-related attribute to be aware of when recycling is color. Consumers need to be careful with the colors of plastics and glass. When being recycled, these materials are being turned back to their original state, to the greatest extent possible; colors can make that a difficult process. The main colors to look out for are black and other darks. Sorting machines have a hard time identifying them in municipal recycling programs. It is advised that components of darker colors are saved for take-back and other recycling programs, where they can be taken care of properly. Although recycling guidelines do not end here, it is a good place to start.
What Packaging Components Can and Cannot be Recycled? Non-Recyclable
Lip Gloss Applicators
Back to MAC: Some companies are making an effort to change the way they handle their involvement with packaging post-consumption. Among these efforts are take-back programs, reusage, and closed recycling loops. Oftentimes these opportunities come with perks for the consumer, such as a return reward product or future discount. For example, MAC’s Backto-MAC program allows any customer to bring in any six makeup or skincare containers from MAC and receive a free lipstick of your choice. Not only does this keep consumers from disposing of these containers in the trash, but it also provides an incentive for doing so.
Kiehl’s: Kiehl’s is a cosmetic brand retailer that was founded in 1851. They produce products without unnecessary energy and materials. Since 2009, Kiehl’s has used the Recycle & Be Rewarded program. Return any ten full-sized containers, and you will be eligible for a Travel Collection Product at a Kiehl’s retail locations. Customers can receive one recycle count when using a Kiehl’s tote bag while shopping in a Kiehl’s retail location. They also accept deluxe samples and complimentary products to be recycled; however, these do not qualify as one of the products needed to receive a reward. Since its start, Kiehl’s has recycled over 11 million empty jars and bottles.
LUSH: Lush is another big retailer that is taking action with their packaging waste. However, they are taking it a step further and have turned it into a closed recycling loop. Typically, Lush avoids packaging when possible. For the instances that require packaging, Lush is dedicated to using 100 percent recycled plastic for bottles, pots, and lids. Lush is known for their signature black pots that house their handmade bath products. Lush encourages consumers to be a part of their closed recycling loop by having customers return five black pots and receive a free Fresh Face Mask in return. These returned pots are then sent back to the supplier where they get reground and remolded into brand new pots to be used again.
Fenty Skin: Other big-name brand cosmetic labels are tackling the packaging waste problem through the actual packaging design. After the release of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line, she debuted Fenty Skin. Fenty Skin has made a refill system for two products including the Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream and the Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer. This refill system claims to use less packaging and to be less expensive. On top of this, Fenty Skin is eliminating excess packaging where possible while using recyclable paper boxes when needed. These may be seemingly small steps for a large company to take in effort to help the environment, but it is just unfeasible for an entire rebrand of packaging when brand identity is already established.
Sephora + Pantone Color IQ
In 2012, Sephora launched Sephora + Pantone Color IQ. This system allowed makeup users to determine their perfect foundation shade. It worked by using the Color IQ device to take photos of the forehead, cheek, and neck. Then the device calibrates the three color-sensitive photos into one color composite, the best Pantone Skin Tone number. From there, a consumer could use that number on iPads t pull up all of the foundations, lip colors, and concealers that were and adequate match to his or her skin tone. This service was complimentary of Sephora and made it much easier for people to find their perfect product shades.
Estée Lauder Service
In the United Kingdom, Estée Lauder created a new service for color matching with their foundation. First a customer needs to book a consultation in advance, but once there the Custom Match technology scans and analyses your skin. Small amounts of pigment are then dispensed and mixed together for your own personal skin shade. Initially, the shade is mixed in a tester bottle to ensure satisfaction before a full-sized 20mL bottle is made. Their iMatch tool essentially uses the same technology as the Sephora + Pantone Color IQ to calculate shades. The difference with this service is that it is only used for one product and it is mixed and poured on-the-spot. Ultimately, this process will give customers an even more precise shade match with their foundation.
Designing an experience 45
Ikea Showrooms For many brands and companies, branded experiences are a great way to immerse a consumer into their realm. These experiences are all around us from a food truck to a pop-up shop. These experiences are designed to be limitededition with a lasting impact. One of the largest retailers that adopts this idea into their store design is IKEA. IKEA lays out just about every product available for purchase at their showroom-esque stores. While they show their products interacting in real-time, they also give suggestions for how someone can style an area with a multitude of their products. To some, IKEA stores may seem overwhelming, but in practice they are perfected to maintain customer traffic. Their floor plans include directory signs in a maze-like layout that shows consumers many products in a short walk. As a result, people end up spending more time browsing and end up purchasing more products than necessarily needed. They even encourage spending more time with the availability of onsite childcare areas, for parents needing to shop without the distraction of paying attention to their children. Upon reaching showroom areas, consumers can browse all of their inventory in its glory and test it out for themselves. This is a great way for people to experience a product before they buy it and have more trust in what they are purchasing.
Another creative shopping experience is that of Build-a-Bear Workshop. Build-a-Bear bases their entire store around the customer experience. Their model is extremely personalized and allows customers, mostly young children, to go through all the steps of designing their own stuffed animal, making a wish, and bringing it to live with a heart. Plus, each animal gets its very own birth certificate as it comes to life. The best part is that the creator can make their stuffed animal however they like with clothing, speech boxes, and names. But the experience does not end there; since each animal has a barcode inside to identify it, a lost animal can be returned to Build-a-Bear and they will reunite it with its owner from their database. The shopping experience they create not only happens in store, but is taken with the people that make these bears once they leave.
Kylie Cosmetics The beauty industry is no stranger to these immersive shopping experiences. Kylie Cosmetics, by Kylie Jenner, has stirred up a lot of buzz with her temporary shopping experiences. The Kylie Truck made its debut in 2017 on the streets of Los Angeles and allowed customers to shop her sought-after beauty products right on the side of the road. Because it was such a rare sighting, people flocked to it and stopped traffic as it attracted a lot of attention. This limited-time experience gave several people the bragging rights of seeing it in person. This truck created an on-the-go shopping experience that was met with photo opportunities and an in-person look at her collection, since at the time her products were not available for purchase in-store. A big part of the Kylie Cosmetics brand is limited-time experiences. So like the Kylie truck, there are more situations where she creates a buzz. For example, for each of Jenner’s birthdays she launches a full collection of products that are exclusive to those launches until she decides to make them permanent parts of her repertoire. She has created miniature collections for a multitude of occasions including collaborations with her friends and family, holiday specials, and seasonal collections. This creates a sense of urgency when customers are deciding whether they want to buy a product, almost always resulting in the customer purchasing the previously in-question product.
STarbucks Borrow a Cup
Starbucks has built a large empire founded on coffee, and coffee cups. Starbucks serves six billion of their iconic cups annually, and nearly all of them end up in the trash. Starbucks cups alone account for one-percent of all singleuse cups globallly. To combat this, Starbucks began piloting a reuseable cup program with drop stations. It starts with a $1 deposit for the cup and ends with the reusable cups being sanitized before put back into circulation. Although Starbucks cups can be recycled in the right circumstances, they still can only be used once. The Borrow a Cup program, as it has been called, is currently in trial in five stores accross the Seattle area. They hope for these trials to prove successful so they can implement this system into more, and eventually all, of their stores worldwide.
Findings & Problems 55
Self-serve machines played a big role in my inspiration for my thesis. The beauty of these machines is that they offer multiple flavor options and even a swirl of two complimentary flavors. Customers can easily try multiple options in one experience. The whole system is rooted on customer decisions and letting them have it all. From the frozen yogurt machines to the toppings bar, this food service successfully encourages customer participation. The self-serve system is an interesting take on creating a relationship between a product and a consumer. Full customization eliminates the pressure of having to choose between limited options. There is potential in self-serve systems to not only build a relationship, but to have made-toorder products.
Coca-Cola created an innovative way to share their extensive collection of beverages with consumers. The Coca-Cola Freestyle machine not only enhances operations and delights guests, but it also increases fountain incidence. Their chic machine draws a lot of attention in restaurant facilities everywhere. Each beverage and flavor option is connected to the dispenser for convenient and timely service. Plus, Coca-Cola now offers an app that can communicate with the Freestyle machine. In the app, users can browse and save their favorite combinations for future reference. This system has proven successful for frequent and returning customers. The added benefit of using an app to store drink data is something I knew I had to explore. In many instances I can picture this concept making a difference for consumers and products they purchase repeatedly.
For as log as I can remember, going to Lowe’s and Home Depot has always been exciting. My favorite areas of the stores are the paint sections. First off, the color swatches are just so aesthetically pleasing and fun to play with. But once you decide on a shade, that’s when the magic happens. The glorious paint machines are absolutely mesmirizing to watch. When the staff puts the base-paint can down to add pigment, it brings the color to life. Like paint colors, cosmetic shades also are comprised of a base formula and a combination of pigments. If paint can use a ready-made system, then there is definitley an opportunity to apply it to the makeup industry, even with the added hurdle of shelf lives.
After discussing with people about their experiences surrounding makeup and packaging, I learned a lot about what habits they have adopted. And based on my other reasearch, these are the inferences I made. The questions I asked included: • What do you do with your makeup packaging when it is exmpy? • What do you do with your makeup packaging when a product expires? • Do you ever return your products? • Do you keep any packaging? Why or why not? • What are your biggest problems with makeup packaging? • Do you shop with the environment in mind? Some probelms I discovered: • It is common for consumers to not know what to do with product packaging when they finish the product • Bleach was being poured on returned/trashed/ damaged cosmetics to deter people from dumpster diving • Flashy packaging with glitters and dyes are usually non-recyclable • Companies are judged very harshly if they do not have a diverse and inclusive shade range
Excess Products You may end up with containers you don’t know what to do with.
Concern Maybe you’re already worried about our environment.
Guilt Is that bottle too pretty to see go to waste?
Cost Increase As resources deplete and become more costly, so does the market price.
Excess Products Not enough raw materials can mean your favorite products cease to exist.
Sketches & Inspiration 65
a New way to Buy FOundation I designed Pour to be a reuseable system for buying liquid foundation makeup. The Pour system begins with a “starter kit,” which is essentially just the bottle and stopper. The packaging for the starter kit is made out of a layered cardboard base and a cardboard sleeve. This was intended to reduce the amount of nonrecyclable/non-biodegradeable materials in the packaging and also be straight to the point. Foundation bottles typically have metal or plastic caps, pumps, doe-foot applicators, or other types of closeures. So, I decided to make the stopper for my bottle out of rubber with an attached rubber wand for scooping out product. I found inspiration from wine bottles, as corks have been effective ways for sealing bottles, reusable or not. The bottle itself is composed of highdensity polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE is a diswasher safe plastic that also is less likely to crack or break. In addition, this material is already very common in cosmetic packaging and has the benefit of being easily recyclable. This choice came about after deciding on incorporating a bottle-return system. Similar to the Starbucks Borrow-A-Cup program, the Pour system would allow customers to purchase a bottle that eventually ends up in a closed system rotation. Consumers can choose to clean the bottles themselves before getting a new pour, or they can return it at their partnering Pour retailer and recieve a clean one in exchange.
The Pour Machine
Storage The base formula and pigment oxides are stored inside and connected to the spout for dispensing
Bluetooth The color matching device links and communicates to the Pour machine by using bluetooth
Touch Screen Users work the Pour system by interacting with the digital touch screen and simple interfaces
Label Printer When the user has completed using the Pour system, a sticker label with a barcode, ingredients list, and personalized naming is printed
Custom Color Matching
After discovering that the technology used for the Sephora + Pantone Color IQ was being implemented by cosmetic brands independently, I thought it would be perfect to incorporate into the Pour System. Typically there is a store representative that administers the color matching with these tools, however, it is simple enough for a consumer to use with a brief prompt. Since these color matching tools are offered with bluetooth, there is an opportunity to link it to the Pour machine. Therefore, these two devices can exist independently, but next to each other, in a store. By using this technology, the ongoing issue of lack of extensive shade ranges can be avoided.
With an interactive method of obtaining makeup, the consumer can develop a closer connection with their product and the retail brand. Taking note of experiences such as Build-A-Bear, I wanted to instill a similar feeling of connection into the Pour system. Buying makeup is typically a semi-passive experience. With Pour, consumers will be able to get a clolser look into what it takes to make their go-to foundation products. The Pour machine will dispense the foundation base formula and pigments right before their eyes. From there, they just shake it up! Adding some interaction into the action of buying cosmetic products will create an excitement that typically might come from flashy packaging. SInce the Pour system eliminates the need for excess display packaging, it makes up for the curb appeal by creating a personalized, self-serve experience.
At the end of the Pour process, the user is prompted to name the swatch for a printed label. Users will also be told to bring this label with them to checkout to use the barcode for purchase. Maintaining the standard checkout process was an important choice for me because when dealing with money, the consumer is entitled to having a safe and secure monetary exchange. The label includes the shade/swatch number, pour title, ingredients list, and the name of the creator.
For the Retailers
I designed the Pour system with the intention of implementing it into existing brands, rather than connecting it to its own line of cosmetics. The goal was not to compete with existing makeup companies, but instead to change the way people buy their favorite products. There are small brands that make a efforts to reduce waste, but consumers have a trust in their go-to products that seems to override being an environmentally conscious shopper. Plus, the competition of largely-established brands can make it difficult for them to gain a presence in the beauty community. There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of makeup lines in existence, and I believe that the opportunity lies within them. This system is made for cosmetic companies that have their own designated stores, makeup counters, or even pop-ups. A selling point for the Pour machine is the option to change the color of the outer shell. Brands can easily add a touch of their aesthetic to the Pour machine to make it more cohesive in their stores by customizing the shell color.
FINO SANS BOLD
FUTURA PT BOOK
AaBbCc AaBbCc FINO SANS REGULAR
FUTURA PT DEMI
Moving Forward 93
Other Things I Considered
With developing the Pour system, I had many other things that should be considered. For starters, with using the compatible color matcher, there needs to be a sanitary wipe station accompanying it. This would be to instill hygiene on and around the Pour system. Another thought was that the online counter-part of the Pour system would be needed for those interested in purchasing online. I suggest modeling it off of the shade quiz from Il Makiage. Their quiz lets consumers evaluate their undertones and compare groups of shades to pick an adequate match from the comfort of their home. Furthermore, I think there even may be an opportunity to eliminate the secondary packaging completely. In this instance the customer would pay a one-time fee for using the service/bottle and then still pay the assigned amount each time they fill. The biggest consideration I had with the Pour system was applying it to other products such as skin care, concealer, and other viscous cosmetic products. With many products being made similarly, the main few differences would include base formulas and containers.
Conclusion & Reflection
Throughout my thesis I learned so much about the makeup industry. For someone who is involved in the beauty community, I did not initially think I would discover as much as I did. I feel that this project has opened my eyes to applying seemingly-niche systems to other industries. Because of this, I have become a more informed and broad designer. I am very passionate about the cosmetic industry and it certainly meant a lot to contribute to its evolution. I believe that the Pour system can be a starting point for a new revolution in the way we buy skincare and makeup products.
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