How laser coding is making its mark on the cosmetics industry


In the world of cosmetics, the packaging is an integral part of the product. High-end items, such as luxury moisturizers, perfumes and makeup, are defined not only by their content, but by the look, feel and quality of the materials that contain them. Cosmetic packaging and containers often need to protect valuable substances and present an attractive, high-quality appearance, as well as ensuring product traceability and authenticity. If they don’t, they can present significant risks to cosmetic brands. At Markem-Imaje, we take advantage of laser coding solutions to offer simpler answers to these types of challenges.


The versatility and security of laser marking make it ideal for a sector in which containers usually include glass, hard or painted plastics, or bare or painted metal. A combination of several laser wavelengths (based on CO 2 , fiber and UV laser technology) allows successful marking on all packaging materials and acquiring the desired effect, be it a fine line marking of the batch number and the expiration date, a QR code or a decorative image (logo).

The CO 2 laser has an inherent thick marking line and is often used to mark high volume, fast moving lines. UV has the finest line and, in addition to the basic contrast marking of production data, is often used for decorative and precise printing. The UV and fiber lasers are ideal for hard plastics and bare metals such as aluminum or shiny alloys, while the UV laser is ideal for decorative marking on glass, such as logos and graphics. CO 2 is very suitable for painted metals and for simple markings on glass and hard or painted plastics.

Cosmetic products may be packaged in secondary packaging, such as a cardboard box, which is then wrapped in clear cellophane. For coding on this type of cardboard, the CO2 laser is most popular, although fiber laser can be used if the cardboard is painted. A key difference between CO 2 and fiber coding is that while fiber can pass through clear cellophane and mark cardboard, a CO 2 laser would have to mark directly onto cardboard.

Thanks to its suitability for a wide range of substrates and applications, laser coding is simplifying the cosmetics packaging conundrum. Laser is very effective and more aesthetically appealing than other coding technologies. This is vital in an industry where the appearance of the packaging is critical to the identity of the product.

Fighting counterfeiters

High value, high profile and easy to transport. These are the attributes that make cosmetics of all kinds a major target for counterfeiters. Trends such as “dupes” or fakes being openly advertised on TikTok are helping to drive the continued rise of fakes on the market. This presents significant harm to brands and their customers.

But what if cosmetic packaging could function as an essential component of a diversion detection and anti-counterfeiting program, improving brand safety? We are helping cosmetics companies achieve this. We do this by combining laser coding that offers a 1D or 2D code with brand protection through Markem-Imaje’s CoLOS software that facilitates product verification and traceability, helping to ensure product compliance and easily integrates with the rest of our best. own class equipment, as well as third-party information systems, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning Systems) and hardware.

This keeps products authentic, secure and connected, from the factory to the customer. While counterfeiters add barcodes to products, our technology leverages the QR or barcode already on the product packaging, turning the laser-printed mark into a unique electronic fingerprint that is difficult to duplicate. This gives cosmetics companies end-to-end visibility and detailed insights into each specific product as it moves through the supply chain.
The laser is versatile enough to adapt to the changing shape of cosmetic products and their changing size. We’ve noticed a trend in the industry where companies are branding not only the packaging, but also the products themselves.

Our laser coding solutions allow companies to mark directly on some products, especially in industries such as cosmetics. Using UV laser coding allows us to make very small scale prints directly on products, for example a very small barcode or a small QR code. This type of coding can be done on almost any part of the cosmetic product.

Whatever the scale required, adding markings directly on products, where appropriate, as well as on packaging, adds another layer of security. In addition to being valuable for customer peace of mind, it is also very beneficial for internal monitoring.

Better insights into the value chain

Accurate knowledge of the supply chain is enormously valuable. This knowledge is another way cosmetics companies benefit from our combination of laser coding and brand protection. Companies can track the value chain more accurately and easily. This allows them to better understand where they sell, how they sell, who the customer is, where they are located, which market channel is performing best, and other key insights.
Build customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is key for luxury cosmetics brands. Our laser printing and brand management solutions help companies foster that important customer relationship.
Cosmetics consumers can have peace of mind knowing that the product they have purchased is authentic and of high quality. Backed by our brand protection package, laser marking also helps strengthen relationships with customers by allowing them to go online and use the product code to easily find information, for example, about the composition of the cosmetic and even offers. related to your new purchase. It’s a powerful way to turn the supply chain into a customer loyalty asset.

Reduce environmental impact

A big benefit of our laser coding approach for our customers is that instead of applying a one-size-fits-all approach, we create a custom solution for each product. We invite manufacturers with a new or complex product design to outline their particular goals for a specific product and then create samples for them using different laser printers. This ensures that we find exactly the right laser coder for that particular product, no matter how complex the design.
The mark of success
These are interesting times for high-end cosmetics brands. In today’s turbulent economic climate, the “lipstick effect” means consumers are turning to affordable luxury to treat themselves. Customer demand is expected to increase and brands will continue to innovate in response. However, along with these opportunities, manufacturers are under great pressure. Counterfeiting continues to present a major problem. Markets remain competitive. However, by taking advantage of laser coding, leading cosmetics brands can remain trusted and top of mind in their industry.
Markem-Imaje will participate in the Cosmopack fair from March 21 to 23 in Bologna.