Once upon a time, cosmetics were mostly packaged in glass containers. For some people, nothing else would do. Then, plastic was invented. Considerably cheaper, it allowed brands to save on materials and sell their products at more competitive prices. But glass packaging hasn’t disappeared. Glass is still the preferred material for perfume bottles and is also chosen by few brands to give their products a more luxurious feel.
Of course, it comes at a higher cost. Some people are happy to pay more for a beautiful bottle, while others consider it a waste of money. Plastic is just as good, right? Well, not always. Aesthetic is not the only reason why some brands decide to use glass instead. There are a few cases in which this material works better:
1. Glass isn’t dissolved by oils
Have you ever wondered why perfumes are still widely packaged in glass bottles? It’s not just because they’re prettier. Some perfume oils, aided by the solvent nature of the alcohol used in fragrances, can break down plastic, thus ruining the packaging. That’s true of essential oils as well. That’s why you only see those packaged in glass bottles too.
2. Glass is a better barrier against oxygen and light
Oxygen and light don’t get along well with antioxidants. They can degrade them, causing them to lose their effectiveness over time. Airtight plastic bottles and tubes are usually a great way to protect them from oxygen and light, but only when they are thick enough. If the container is too thin, some light and oxygen can still get inside, slowly spoiling the formula unseen. A darkly tinted glass bottle, which is nonporous and impermeable, is better able to protect delicate skincare formulas from these two enemies. What about glass jars? Avoid them. They may protect the product decently when closed, but you’ll still expose it to light and air whenever you unscrew the lid.
3. Glass doesn’t leak harmful substances
Some cosmetic ingredients, when packaged in plastic containers, may cause them to leak out plasticizers. Eventually, this will spoil the formula. Responsible brands will avoid the risk by packaging such formulations in glass containers, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you’re really concerned about it, though, paying more for products packaged in glass bottles may be worth it to put your mind at ease.
4. Glass is recyclable
Only some consumers and a handful of brands run by environmentally conscious owners care about this, but glass is a better choice for the planet. Glass is highly sustainable and easy to recycle. Unless you break the bottle, you can wash it and reuse it again and again. And if you have no use for it, you can throw it in recycling bins. It will then be taken to a glass treatment plant where it will moulded into a new product.
Of course most often than not, brands package their products in glass containers only for aesthetic reasons. In that case, you’ll be paying more just to have a pretty-looking bottle sitting on your vanity. But it’s nice to know that there are some cases where glass is better than plastic and investing in it makes more sense, isn’t it?
Do you buy beauty products packaged in glass containers?