Prepare to dive in and explore the world of lotion bar packaging!
If you’re a business owner selling handmade skincare products online, you know how important it is to have visually appealing products that represent your unique brand and stand out from the competition.
This guide will help you navigate the wide world of lotion bar packaging and make informed decisions about what will work best for YOUR business. From recipe ideas…to materials and design…to branding and labeling – this guide has you covered!
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Lotion Bar Target Market
First things first. Before we get into to the specifics of lotion bar packaging, be sure to complete your target market research to guide your reading and decision-making.
Target market homework will determine every single aspect of your lotion bar line:
- The type of lotion bars you create
- The containers you choose
- Your lotion bar label designs
- The outer packaging for a memorable unboxing experience
I urge you not skip this step.
Understanding your target market is not just key for deciding on your lotion bar packaging, but is the entire foundation for your skin care business and ongoing success.
Lotion Bar Recipes to Make and Sell Online
Once you know your target market, you need to decide which type of lotion bar will go over the best for your specific customer base.
There are several directions you can go with your product ideas:
- lotion bars in a tube meant to support muscle comfort
- rectangular lotion bars with texture meant for massage
- small circular bars meant for hand moisturizing throughout the day
If you aren’t sure which type of lotion bar to create, ask your audience (if you already have a following on a social network) or friends and family (if they are representative of your target market).
I have formulated a variety of the lotion bars mentioned above, and the following three versions have been the most popular in my handmade skin care businesses:
Warming Muscle Balm Recipe
This warming muscle balm recipe supports sore muscles, surface bruises, and menstrual cramps.
The combo of menthol crystals, essential oils, and arnica provides blood circulation and a tingling, warming effect that my customers LOVE.
For your own labeling purposes, do NOT use the word ‘relief’ as I have shown in the image above – this wording was from one of my first skin care lines before I understood the rules for FDA-compliant language.
Get the warming muscle balm recipe here.
Organic Belly Balm Recipe
Talk about a repeat customer win, belly balms for itchy skin during pregnancy are sought after the whole nine months and are great for baby shower gifts.
This organic belly balm recipe base is full of incredibly moisturizing organic butters and oils that stretching skin soaks right up.
Moisturizing Lotion Bar Recipe
You can also use the organic belly balm recipe base as inspiration to make package-free lotion bars like these molded versions above.
I simply poured the melted base into this silicone mold and popped them out after they were done hardening.
If you go this route, make sure your mold size will fit into whatever container you choose in the recommendations below (there are molds in hundreds of different sizes and shapes).
Download your free Packaging & Label Worksheets Here!
Types of Lotion Bar Containers
After deciding which type of lotion bar(s) you will be adding to your skin care line, the first visual branding decision you need to make is the type of lotion bar container to use.
Referring to your target market notes and imagining the day-to-day life of your ideal customer, what would they be the most drawn to?
Consider the following details about your customer and their actual experience using your product before settling on any of your lotion bar packaging:
- Where will they be using their lotion bar?
- When will they be applying it?
- How would it be best applied?
- Where will they be storing it when not in use?
- What price point will they be comfortable with?
- Do they have a preference (or aversion) to specific materials?
Lotion Bar Tubes
Tubes are a great way to package lotion bars, especially for formulations you don’t want to get on your hands, such as the warming muscle balm recipe.
Lotion bar tubes come in plastic twist-up options, as well as paperboard push-ups in a variety of sizes.
Plastic Twist-Up Tubes
Round twist-up tubes in a two ounce size is the most standard you’ll see for lotion bars (as well as deodorants).
Though shown in transparent here, twist-up tubes come in a variety of colors to match any business branding color palette.
The plastic works well to throw in gym bags and diaper bags without worry of breaking or melted product.
Paperboard Lotion Bar Tubes
Paperboard lotion bar tubes are an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic twist-up version.
These do very well with a sustainable target market and photograph incredibly well.
Keep in mind that, as with all paperboard products, any melted product that gets on the exterior of the packaging can leave a permanent stain on the paper.
Lotion Bar Tins, Jars, and Boxes
If you will be creating massage bars or smaller handheld lotion bars that don’t have a structured casing like the tubes above, you still need some sort of exterior packaging when selling online.
Round Aluminum Tins
Round aluminum tins are very popular with circular lotion bars, as I’m sure you’ve seen at farmers’ markets or local boutiques.
The 2 oz version shown here comes in silver and black, but there are other possibilities, such as a rose gold option, or even tins with a clear top to show off lotion bars that have decorations from the mold.
If you are looking to purchase in a large quantities, see these shallow round tins in bulk.
Shallow Plastic Jars
Plastic jars are an option that provide a different type of branding flexibility with the lid shape.
If you are going this route, consider getting plastic jars in bulk here so that you can mix-and-match your jar size with several lid and cushion pad choices.
Rectangular Soap Boxes
Soap boxes are a good option for larger lotion bar products, such as massage bars.
This is an attractive container for an eco-conscious target market and easily matched with other product containers for a consistent brand look.
These are also great for gift wrapping – consider scooping up these soap boxes in bulk for other packaging possibilities!
Download your free Packaging & Label Worksheets Here!
Labeling Your Lotion Bars to Sell
Lotion Bar Labeling Requirements (for Selling Online)
Selling lotion bars online versus in person may have different labeling requirements depending on where you live.
For some geographical locations, a manufacturing address and contact information is required to appear on the label when selling your products in a brick-and-mortar or in-person event..
Alternately, when selling online, a website URL may take the place of this information, assuming that the website has an address and contact information available.
Other labeling requirements vary based on location and government regulations; this information is your responsibility to obtain and follow.
Makers in the United States can refer to the FDA Cosmetics Labeling Guide.
Marie Gale also has an easy-to-follow book called Soap and Cosmetic Labeling (How to Follow the Rules and Regs Explained in Plain English).
Lotion Bar Label Design
Once you know the rules and regulations for your specific location, you can take the next step and move on to designing your labels!
If you haven’t already decided on visual branding details for your skin care business, make sure you have those set in stone before you start designing:
- Color Palette Guide for Skin Care Businesses
- How to Choose the Right Fonts for Your Skin Care Business
When you have your business branding basics, the easiest online graphic design tool to use is Canva (which is currently free to use for the basic elements).
You can also get a month of Canva Pro free here to access the entire library of images, the resize feature, and background remover.
Lotion Bar Label Templates
If designing labels is not something you want to tackle on your own, you have plenty of options for assistance.
If you want complete hands-off label design, consider freelance design services from Fiverr.
Another option is using lotion bar label templates, available individually and in bundles.
The use of templates is not just for novice designers – they can also save tons of time for seasoned entrepreneurs by avoiding that ‘blank canvas syndrome’.
Templates work by giving you a start of the design with editing rights to all of the different variables: colors, fonts, placements, graphic imports, etc.
Here is an example of a neon lotion bar label template that kept the original template design closely intact but changed the color palette and fonts:
Individual Lotion Bar Tube Templates
Individual Round Lotion Bar Templates
Bundled Skin Care Label Templates
If you know that you’ll be expanding your line beyond lotion bars, consider getting a label template bundle that includes many sizes and product types (better value long-term).
Download your free Packaging & Label Worksheets Here!
Lotion Bar Safety Seals
Regardless of where you sell (online vs in-person), you need to seal your products with a tamper-evident closure for proper professional safety and customer trust.
One option is to safety-seal your lotion bars and tins with the addition of shrink wrap.
Shrink wrap is a unique kind of plastic that fits over your product packaging and morphs to the size of the container with the help of a craft heat gun.
Tip: Have the exact size of your tube or tins on hand before purchasing (shrink wrap comes in a large variety of sizes).
If you want to keep more of a small-batch, handmade look, consider the use of extra details such as washi tape.
You can use this to connect your lotion bar top to the tube (or the same idea with tins and jars), and then place your label over it.
Combining washi tape with shrink wrap is another idea to add branding details as well as a professional, safe product.
In the example below, I added washi tape to the edges of my aluminum tins first, and then added a label on top to keep them in place:
Lotion Bar Unboxing Ideas
One of this most FUN parts of selling online is the opportunity to provide an ‘unboxing experience.’
Give them a WOW.
This is the difference between customers leaving a review or not, recommending your lotion bars to a friend or family member, and even sharing your products on their social media handles.
This is your chance to really make yourself and your brand memorable and shareable with your skin care packaging!
These organza favor bags are great for everyday packaging or for use in bulk orders – an affordable, fast way to add a bit of flair to your lotion bars.
If you create favors for weddings or showers, you can easily wrap lotion bars in small parchment rounds, secure the paper with a label, and present it in these colorful bags.
Cotton Muslin Bags
Cotton muslin bags are the perfect unboxing detail for the sustainable crowd.
These are beautiful additions to any product line, and can also be stamped with a business logo or graphic that goes with your branding.
Not just for lotion bar packaging – use across your entire range of products.
Jewelry Boxes for Tins
Square jewelry boxes (3.5″ x 3.5″) hold a 2 ounce aluminum tin perfectly.
These are great for gift-wrapping options, favor boxes, or simply an added touch for luxury lines.
Extra points for adding your logo with a sticker or stamp (more info on those below).
Getting a business branding stamp with your logo is an amazing investment.
Use it to stamp gift boxes, cotton muslin bags, the outside of your shipping boxes, thank you notes, and other paper promo products.
I have purchased several business branding stamps from West and Sage on Etsy and LOVE them (and the shop owner, Kelly – she’s super fast and personable).
If an inked stamp doesn’t match your branding, you can also add personalization to your boxes with a branded logo sticker.
I purchase these in bulk and use them on my exterior packaging, as well as include extras for my customer paperclipped to their thank you note.
Think beyond your logo with this…add a trendy graphic, quote, or inspirational saying with your URL on the side.
Get Feedback on Your Lotion Bar Packaging
Wondering how you can improve your lotion bar packaging?
Wanting feedback on a label design or unboxing choice before purchasing?
Need help generating ideas for a unique target market?
Ask for input and share feedback in our private Facebook group, DIY Skin Biz Community – connect with other makers in our industry!
Grow Your Skin Care Business!
Browse through the resources below to boost your handmade business visibility and profitability!