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  • John Green

Use Private Label Cosmetics to Increase Your Profits

Updated: May 31, 2023

7-minute read



If you’re looking for ways to increase revenues think about adding private label cosmetic products to your lineup. It’s a great way to quickly broaden your product offerings, build your brand, and increase profits for very little costs.


Private label packaging refers to product manufacturers that will sell, and brand products under your brand name. There is a private labeler for just about any manufactured product you can think of.


You see private label products everywhere in retail. Store branded products found in Trader Joe's, CVS, Target, Costco, and other retailers are typically made by private labelers and branded with the store’s product name. Think Costco’s “Kirkland Signature”, or Target’s “Good & Gather”. Even Amazon has gotten into the private label game. And many of these generic labeled products are made by national brands!


Private label cosmetics (PLC) is an aspect of private label packaging that focuses on the cosmetic and beauty markets. Products from these companies will quickly fill any hole in your cosmetics line. And using PLC products is a low-cost way to quickly test your target market with new offerings without the expense of research, production, and product testing.


Private labeling is quite prevalent in cosmetics; you’d be surprised how many of your competitors are using private labeled products to augment their cosmetic and beauty product lines.


A good example is private label skincare. There are a number of companies specializing in manufacturing sunscreens and moisturizing creams, gels, cleansers, and other skin care products with very low minimum order requirements. Contract with the manufacturer, and within a few weeks you’ll have proven products branded in your name ready to go to market.


And if you think private label cosmetics are just for cosmetics manufacturers, think again!


Private Labeling for Spas and Salons


If you’re a spa, salon, or other body-care establishment, think about private labeling your own line of branded products to sell to your clients. It’s easy to do and is quite lucrative!


The salon and beauty industries are by their nature very social. You have a captive audience for an hour or two that likes to chat. Use your branded skincare and hair care products on them as you perform your services. While you do so, it gives you an opportunity to gently upsell them on your products. Many of these clients will purchase your branded products for use at home.


Not only are they paying for your branded beauty products while they’re at your salon, they are also purchasing your branded products for use at home. With a clientele that returns on a regular basis, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity!


The Benefits of Private Label Cosmetics


There are a lot of good reasons for using private label cosmetics. Chief among them is being able to quickly get up and go for very little cost.


Here are 7 reasons to consider Private Label Cosmetic Packaging:

  1. A low-cost way to add new products quickly and easily.

  2. Higher profit margins – no development or production costs.

  3. Products are already formulated – no need for development or testing.

  4. Products are branded under your name.

  5. Products are retail ready.

  6. Low-cost way to test the market.

  7. Very low minimum order requirements.



Private labeling is popular because it’s so easy to jump into the game. And it’s profitable. In fact, many of your competitors are using private labeled products against you, and why not? For very little cost and commitment, you can quickly test new markets and find out if adding new products to your lineup makes sense.


And if you’re a start-up, private labeling is a great way to go! You can be up and running quickly. Let the private labeler do your manufacturing. The cost and time savings from not having to invest in production, equipment and employees can be put into areas like sales and marketing, areas that really make a difference to your bottom line.


What’s not to like?


The Downside of Using Private Label Cosmetics


While PLC has many advantages, there are a few downsides to consider:


1) There is very little, if any, customization to the products.

2) Everybody buys the same products.


Using private labeled cosmetic products is an excellent sales strategy, and many successful businesses sell nothing but private labeled products. The quality of the products is generally very good. However, what you see is what you get – there’s little opportunity to customize beyond the private labeler’s standard product formula.


Also, if everybody is buying and selling the same product, then the only differentiation between competing companies is branding. And that may not be enough, especially in a competitive market.


So, how do you stand out? It gets down to sending the right message that resonates with your audience. And that’s where secondary box packaging comes in.


Secondary Box Packaging – The Way to Differentiate


Private labeling is an excellent way to bring new products to market for very little cost. However, everybody is in the same game. There’s a good chance you will be competing against other companies selling the same PLC product packaged in the same bottle, tube, or compact as you are. Branding will be the only differentiation, and if you’re not a known brand you have no competitive advantage. On a retail shelf everybody looks the same. As a consumer, how do you choose?


Give Consumers a Reason to Select Your Product Over the Competition.


By adding secondary packaging, you have an opportunity to stand out from the crowd, and more importantly, to define your product the way you want consumers to see it. Equally important is showing the benefits of your product over your competition. After all, the goal is to outclass your competitors by making your product appear more premium or beneficial than theirs.


How To Make Your Private Label Cosmetics Stand Out


Custom printed product boxes are the secondary packaging of choice in the cosmetics and beauty industry for good reasons. Printed boxes give you large canvases to work with to create just the right message that resonates with your audience. And by layering the box with foils, glosses, soft touches, embossing, and other effects, you tug at consumer’s emotions by appealing to their preconceived notions of what constitutes quality, luxury, beauty, and other attributes.


In short, custom product boxes dress up your compacts, bottles, jars, skin cream tubes and lipstick cases with packaging that implies your product is something more than it is. Consumers subconsciously transfer these qualities to your product.


The Story You Tell Through Your Product Packaging is Just as Important as the Product Inside.


Cosmetics manufacturers discovered decades ago that packaging that dazzles us, or hints at what we perceive as high-quality, elegant, or luxurious results in much higher sales. This packaging illusion simply amplifies what we have been conditioned to believe what quality is, and it lures us in. Cosmetics companies have found the increase in sales easily justifies the higher packaging costs. That’s why they do it.


Using your packaging to send subtle messages to your audience about quality, luxury, sexiness, and other desirable attributes is a concept known as value added packaging. It doesn’t have to cost much; we discuss value added packaging and a related idea, premium product positioning in our blog section. They are easy to read, and applying these concepts to your product packaging will supercharge your sales.


It’s More Than Retailers!


Don’t think value added packaging just applies to retail packaging! What you’re really doing is increasing your brand, and that is the real value. Whether your product is going on a retail shelf, or purchased through the internet, you are using your printed box packaging to influence how customers see you by defining and implying the qualities you want them to perceive. And in the process, you are building your brand.


Ultimately, it’s the consumer who defines your brand. What you want to do is steer them towards viewing your company and products in a positive light. Consumers seek out known brands, and it’s the successful brands that win the sales and profits game.


Contract Manufacturing – A little different twist on things


Private label cosmetics manufacturers sell you their proprietary cosmetic and beauty products branded in your name. A contract manufacturer will take your formulas and create products that are solely yours. Private label and contract manufacturing are very closely related, in fact many companies do both.


The only difference is with contract manufacturers it’s the client that controls how and what goes into their products. Other than who owns the formula, the processes are very similar. They are doing the manufacturing for you. However, once the products are produced, whether it’s through a private label or contract manufacturer, you still need packaging that attracts and differentiates you from the competition.


Private Label Cosmetics for Newbies


If you’re new to the private label cosmetics game a good source is Mana Private Label. They have been around a long time and have a wide range of quality cosmetic products from skin creams and mascaras to brow tints, lipsticks, foundations, and everything in between. If you can’t find it here it probably doesn’t exist. They have very low minimum order quantities, and their program is designed to easily walk you through the process.


Short-Run Box Packaging


The Box Co-op works very closely with cosmetic and beauty private labelers like Mana. While it’s easy to get cosmetic products in small volumes from private labelers, it’s not so easy getting cost-effective custom product boxes for these low-volume products.


We have a short-run box program that is specifically tailored to fit the low-minimum requirements of cosmetic private label manufacturers. It works particularly well for customers needing 1,000 units or less. In addition, we let you split your orders into smaller lots to accommodate products that need individual packaging that vary by shade or color.


For cosmetic private labelers we work with we keep a database of their product sizes. Simply give us the product name and we can give you costs for custom printed boxes that fit these products right over the phone.


To find out more please give us a call!


Final Thoughts


Private label cosmetics are a great way to go whether you’re an established company or just getting started. You can be up and running in no time. And what’s not to like? It doesn’t require a big investment, profit margins are great, there’s no need for new equipment or employees, low minimum order requirements, and retail-ready products branded with your name – just add sales!


If you need help creating premium brand packaging for your cosmetic products or choosing which custom packaging works best for your brand, the Box Co-op can help.

We'll assist your business in finding a custom cosmetic packaging strategy, cosmetic product package design, and a packaging solution that stands out from the competition.

Partner with Box Coop to create custom cosmetic product packaging and see the results for yourself.

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