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Dow Diamond Finalist: Flexible SUP for New Redken Salon Product from ProAmpac

L’Oréal replaces two rigid containers with one flexible pouch for its Redken Flash Lift hair lightening solution to increase sustainability and ease of use, and decommoditize the product space.

L’Oreal’s Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside pouch
L’Oreal’s Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside pouch

For its Flash Lift hair lightening solution, comprising a powder bleach, liquid bonder, and liquid developing solution, Redken did away with two of three rigid containers, replacing them with one flexible pouch that reduces the packaging’s environmental footprint, offers greater convenience to colorists, and de-commoditizes the product space. The pouch, designed to provide the needed barrier for the new Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside premixed bleach and bonder product and “a big wow factor and unique appeal,” according to Andrew Boden, Development for Redken, L’Oréal, resulted in Diamond Award Finalist status for flexible packaging supplier ProAmpac.

In August/September 2017, Redken approached ProAmpac to help them design a package that would better represent the brand and offer greater user convenience. With the previous product, the bleach was packaged in a plastic bag closed with a tin tie and placed in a rigid tub. “The packaging was useful because of the very wide opening for scooping,” explains Boden. “The plastic bag was needed because the bleach itself is very sensitive to moisture, so it protected the product during use. Our experience showed that stylists did not often seal the lid back on the tub, so the bag was helpful to maximize the useful life of the product.”

Redken developed the new Flash Lift Bonder Inside powder formula to improve both bonding and cosmetic benefits, such as improved elasticity, touchable smoothness, and visible shine, as well as processing time. Reads Redken’s Dow entry form, “The new bonder is a reformulated product that has fewer steps to prepare than other, similar products, so it was important to provide packaging that also had more built-in functionality.”

Other initiatives driving the redesigned packaging included a desire by Redken to improve the environmental footprint of its packaging, create a format that would take up a smaller footprint on a stylist’s limited bench space, and be easier for mobile stylists to travel with. “We also wanted to de-commoditize the space with a premium packaging element,” says Bowden.

He adds that Redken explored many packaging options. Wanting to get away from the tub, the brand looked at shaker-style packs, twist-dose rigid packaging, rigid bottles with pour spouts, alternate dosing add-ons for the existing tub, and a completely new format—a flexible stand-up pouch. “Ultimately the pouch won out due to its improved environmental impact and the overall unique packaging wow factor,” Bowden says.

At ProAmpac’s DASL (Design and Sample Lab), the pouch supplier created illustrations and prototypes to help Redken visualize the potential solution. According to Bowden, among Redken’s requirements for the pouch, very strict barrier properties were at the forefront, due to the hydroscopic nature of the powder. That, he says, was the only real driver toward shelf life, along with a strong seal on the spout cap. “Other requirements were an internal geometry to facilitate powder pouring and pouches that could hold 500 grams and 907 grams and pass our intense distribution testing, as these are frequently loose-packed and shipped with many other heavy items,” he adds.

Once the general pouch design was agreed upon, a cross-sectional team from Redken and ProAmpac gathered at injection molder Technimark’s Innovation Center for a day-long ideation session to test six to eight potential pouch designs with three different spouts and fitments. The goal was to develop a dosing cap and fitment that would allow for easy pouring and measuring of the product in one step. Among the innovations resulting from the session were a curved, high-density polyethylene spout that prevents powder fumes during pouring and helps guide product into the cap, which doubles as a measuring cup. In addition, a cross pattern within the pour spout helps break up clumps of agglomerated product.

The final package design is a bottom-gusseted, stand-up pouch with a square shape that slants diagonally on the left-hand side, where the cap is positioned. Of the pouch construction, ProAmpac Vice President of Global Application and Innovation Development Sal Pellingra says it is an adhesive lamination of PET/foil/nylon/polyethylene. He adds, “The foil really created the barrier to ensure no moisture gets into the pouch, and the nylon helped us pass the drop test. Then, the sealant was designed to seal hermetically to that larger fitment and to seal the pouch hermetically at the top for filling.”

The film is printed on a 10-color flexo press at ProAmpac’s Rochester, NY, facility, where the pouch is also converted. Metallic inks add visual appeal to the package, which offers much larger billboard space than the previous tub with label.

As for sustainability, the elimination of two rigid tubs, along with the plastic bag and tin tie, greatly improves the environmental footprint of the packaging, as does the improved product-to-package ratio the flexible pouch provides. Another advantage is the reduced space required for shipping of the product and for the package in the landfill. The sustainability of the package was proven out with L’Oréal’s highly sophisticated sustainability tool, Google L’Oréal SPOT. Says Bowden, “We have a public commitment that all new or renovated products will have an improved environmental impact versus our category average or the previous product it replaces.”

The one drawback to the new pouch was an increase in strict packaging costs “due largely to the upfront tooling investments needed for a brand new, unique package and the expensive, multilayer pouch material needed for the barrier properties,” says Boden. However, Redken was able to recoup some of the costs through increased automation, as the format was better optimized for production versus the old tub.

Given the excitement around the new Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside product in the stand-up pouch, Redken did a limited pre-sale in October 2018, with a full rollout in December 2018. “The response from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Boden. “The decision to move to an improved package with a formula that delivers ensured we made meaningful changes to use and sustainability while meeting consumers’ high expectations.”

Judges’ Criteria

In evaluating entries, jurors considered excellence based on the following criteria:

Technological Advancement

• New and/or clever use of materials

• New technology integration and/or rapid technology development/prototyping

• Creative configuration and/or assembly

• Increased production and/or distribution efficiency

Responsible Packaging

• Responsible use of materials

• Clean and efficient energy consumption

• Reduction in product and package waste

• Benefits the greater good

Enhanced User Experience

• Fulfills a user need and/or provides an enhanced experience

• Aids product merchandising and motivates purchase

• Enables greater product accessibility

• Establishes a preferred price/value equation

The 2019 Packaging Innovation Awards represent the packaging industry’s longest running, independently judged competition. They honor innovations in packaging design, materials, technology, processes, and service across the entire packaging value chain. Inaugurated in 1986 by DuPont, the program’s tradition of excellence is now proudly continued by Dow.

Calls for entry began in January 2019, with judging beginning in May and winners ultimately announced on Sept. 17, 2019. Packaging World editors were granted early audience with award finalists, prior to their announcement, in order to provide timely reports on winning innovations.

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