Many times we are asked the question whether it makes more sense for a brand to package their own tubes, bottles or jars, or use the services of a contract packaging company instead.  In today’s fast paced and extremely competitive consumer goods industry, a professional looking package and speed to market are more important than ever.

For example purposes, let’s assume you are a new cosmetics brand.  You market a natural skin care product using high quality sustainably sourced organic ingredients.  The cosmetics formulation and product batching was done using the services of a personal care contract manufacturing company or private label cosmetics manufacturer.  You choose a plastic jar for initial launch of your product because it’s easy to fill yourself and put a cap on by hand.  A bottle was also an option you considered because again it’s easy to fill yourself, label and cap.  However, bottles tend to leave unused product trapped at the bottom which goes against your sustainable packaging marketing message.  Launching a new natural product, you are unsure if it will sell well, after all, new indie cosmetic brands are born daily, the packaging choice and marketing message must resonate well with your consumer base.

Tubes, Bottles or Jars?

Fast forward a few months, good news, your indie brand is beginning to sell well and consumer reviews are pouring in.  However, your customers are asking for a more portable package with ease of use and no mess application.  Since your product is a natural, organic based cosmetic skin cream, you want to limit the use of preservatives, but this presents a challenge.  Each time the user opens the jar, the product is fully exposed to oxygen, light and bacteria particles floating in the air.  To make matters worse, your customer must dip their fingers into the jar each time they wish to apply the lotion.  As we all know, hands, fingers and fingernails are a harbor of bacteria.  Furthermore, the jar requires a person to use both hands for opening and closing.  So what’s the answer to these problems?  Well a squeeze tube sounds great!  Tubes are portable, enable one-handed use; they protect the contents of your natural lotion from the outside world, no dipping of dirty fingers for application, less mess and little to no wasted product.  In addition, the tubes provide for an excellent range of graphic options.  You can choose labels or surface printing with photo realistic graphics.

Okay, so a tube it is.  You are excited to launch this new package option but now there is a problem; the tube needs to be sealed closed!  The jar was easy to package yourself, you simply filled and put a lid on by hand.  The plastic tube now requires another machine to seal.  So you jump on Google and start searching for a low cost tube sealer.  There are various low cost options but none give a professional looking seal.  Your product needs to stand out on the shelf and compete with other indie cosmetic products, the tube seal must look good.  A batch code is also required to be stamped into the seal.  Complicating matters further, you choose a multi-layer laminate tube due to its high barrier protection properties.  This requires a professional quality tube sealing machine using hot-air sealing technology, just like the major cosmetic brands use, but can you compete?  Well let’s consider the options:

What’s the cost to buy a hot-air tube sealer?

For decades a professional hot-air tube seal was only attainable using a large fully automated tube filling and sealing machine.  These machines are expensive, starting at $50,000 and going well into the 6 digits price range.  Today there are new machines which utilize hot air sealing in a compact, table-top format.  Pricing starts around $15,000.  These machines will produce the same professional tube seal quality found on much larger machines costing 10x as much.  They are lightweight, portable and can be used with a normal 110v wall outlet, perfect for packaging tubes yourself.  Take a look here to see how these machines work :

Maybe you do not have the time or desire to fill and seal tubes.  The thought of setting up and maintaining specialized packaging equipment gives you nightmares.  After all, your time is best spent marketing your cosmetic brand.  As you know the indie cosmetics market is hugely competitive, with new personal care products launching daily.  Your product must compete against all sorts of private label manufacturers creating new skincare products.  Promoting your products online and through social media is taking up most your time.  Maybe it’s best to consider using the services of a copacker to fill and seal these tubes.  Once again, Google is your friend and you begin searching, but there are so many options, what company to call first?  The co packer filling choices are daunting!  Nobody lists their contract filling prices online and you don’t have the time to call dozens of packaging companies for filling quotes.  Luckily you found this article and it provides a good starting point.

What’s the cost for contract filling and packaging?

Assuming you provide the empty tubes, the product in drums or totes, and the bulk pack-out shipper boxes, filling & sealing a typical cosmetic cream or lotion will cost anywhere from $0.15 thru $1 per unit depending on quantity.  In addition there may be required tooling costs depending on the tube shape and size.

Of course this is just a rough estimate as each particular packaging job will vary based on the specific tube and filling product.  Hopefully it provides a good starting point for deciding whether to package yourself or outsource your filling needs.  Having been in the packaging industry for decades, we can help you source any contract packaging services, please visit:

We hope to see your new independent brand grow and welcome the opportunity to take your packaging to the next level.  Thanks for reading, please contact us with any questions, we are happy to help!