I know the expression you can’t judge a book by its cover. I know that some of the best haircare products have come horrific-looking bottles and tubes – sometimes with hand-printed labels. But over the years, I’ve also developed an appreciation for tasteful, sophisticated packaging.
While some products nearly scream at you from the shelves to be noticed, there are those that attract you because of their simplicity and beauty. Their packaging creates an image that makes you want to buy them. In some cases, their design is so beautiful that you’d rather display them on your shelves rather than hidden away in the cabinet. A distinctive shape, luxurious texture or signature closure can create a powerful fashion statement.
But so many companies miss seem to the mark - even some of the largest. At the Premiere Orlando hair show earlier this month, some brands had packaging that was nearly as loud as the music that pulsated from their stages with their technicolor bottles and tubes.
Sometimes, less is more.
Brands that come to mind include Kevin Murphy’s clean, sexy, architectural slab-sided bottles and Alterna HEMP’s original sleek bottles, which came in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors that looked more like art than packaging. Verb, a company created in Austin, generated more buzz at Premiere Orlando than many of its older, larger competitors because of its simplicity.
But my favorite, by far, is Davines. Founded in Parma, Italy in 1983 by the Bollati Family, Davines Group started as a research laboratory, producing high-end hair care products for cosmetic companies worldwide. After a decade of honing their experience, they created their own salon brand in 1996.
I visited the Davines New York office last week. Walking off the elevator of the penthouse suite atop an office building in the Flatiron neighborhood, I felt like I was walking into a spa. The products lining the shelves of the lobby only add to the ambiance.
Each collection has its own look and feel. For example, the Essential Haircare line, which includes the Love curl-enhancing line, has simple, sleek tubs and bottles. The Authentic Formulas collection, has clear glass bottles and sleek silver tubes, with beautiful labels created by the creative team at it Italian headquarters.
Davines’ latest hand-wrapped hair styling line, called More Inside, uses artisanal, patterned papers inspired by vintage fabrics on its bottles, jars, and tubes. The idea is to make each "package" reminiscent of the bygone days when shopkeepers would lovingly wrap parcels up in paper before handing them to the customer.
“The packaging design was inspired by women and the desire to escape into an ‘idyllic and beautiful’ world that is free from the confinement of the ‘ideals’ of beauty,” M. Vittoria Mangiarotti, Davines’ creative director, told Beauty Packaging magazine... The products feature four different images of women all drawn by a local artist and inspired by the women of Renaissance era art. They are not idealized images, but images that can represent all women."
In addition to its beauty of the packaging, it is environmentally friendly. It is FSC certified, coming from managed forests and it using recycled materials.
And perhaps most important, It is highly functional. Printed on the back are detailed instructions and diagrams about how exactly to apply the product and where on your head to apply. This is so smart because application of a product is key to how well it will work.
Ultimately, no matter how beautiful the package, people won't repurchase something if it doesn't make their hair look good.