How to Design Cosmetics Leaflets that Make All the Difference

15 Jul 2021

When it comes to beauty products’ packaging, cosmetics leaflets are often overlooked because the limelight is taken by the exterior cartons and the tube, or primary packaging.

This small, folded piece of paper is usually forgotten, both by the brands and the customers. There are even those who wonder whether it is really necessary to include an instruction manual for a cream. The answer is evidently yes, but those grey leaflets with tiny print are not the best example to showcase their informative and branding role.

3 key points to design cosmetics leaflets that connect with the customers

What should be taken into consideration when creating a leaflet that attracts the attention of the customers, thus playing its part as a source of information? We have brought you three key points to make the most of this valuable piece of cosmetics packaging: 

1. Goodbye to the traditional black and white cosmetics leaflets

The custom of creating leaflets in black and white comes from a past when printing techniques were limited, and when the cosmetic industry mimicked certain aspects from the pharmaceutical sector, especially with non-prescription healthcare products.

However, we have increased our technical capabilities by including systems that can print in up to five colours, and which can also apply selective varnish and metallic-effect inks. Moreover, colour plays an essential role in communicating with the customers in certain beauty products, such as:

  • Hair dyes: the leaflets can be used to describe variations in the result depending on the original hair colour, so that the customers can take them as a starting point.

  • Teeth whitening products: treatments such as these must include leaflets with ample information so that the customers may use it correctly, and, of course, it is also important that they are appealing to the eye.

On the other hand, eco-design can also be applied to cosmetics leaflets, a great way to figure out a second life for them. How to avoid them being thrown directly into the bin? Among the most original solutions are turning them into a loyalty card or reusing them as wrapping paper. 

2. Say hello to inclusive designs to reach every customer

Taking an inclusive approach when designing cosmetics leaflets is clearly a way to boost their informative purpose, since this solution helps any customer understand the instructions better, regardless of their age, cognitive abilities or cultural level.

Cosmetics leaflets are accessible when the design has a clear and large print, and by using contrasting and recognisable colours that make reading easier. QR codes with a mark in relief can be included, in order to serve as a link with the audio-format instructions. In this way, blind people can identify the code’s location in the leaflet and hear about any potential warnings or allergies related to the product.

3. Leaflets as a doorway into the brand’s universe

On the one hand, including QR codes in the leaflet’s design is a way to open the door into the digital world of beauty brands, as a path to foster customer loyalty. Thus the leaflet becomes a communication channel to announce offers, special editions or new product launches. Moreover, additional material can be made available to the customers in order to help them use the product (video tutorials, websites, etc.).

On the other hand, leaflets can also be useful to reinforce the brand’s image. They have an extremely relevant role in the unboxing experience, because they can only be discovered after opening the packaging. For this very reason, many brands choose to design the leaflet with a novel approach: it is a unique opportunity for the brand and the end consumer to establish a special relationship.

‘Small but powerful’: our vision for cosmetics leaflets

At Essentra Packaging we are experts in the design and manufacture of pharmaceutical and cosmetics packaging, so we know very well the power leaflets have to communicate. In both the design phase and in production we always watch the printing details, playing with grammage and colours so that the resulting finish comes out impeccable.


In our continuous effort to increase our printing capabilities, we have recently added a leaflet press to our Newmarket site. This press can print up to 5 colors + varnish in one pass, including metallic inks and spot varnishes.

Leaflets are a fantastic tool (and an often overlooked one) to foster interaction between the customers and the brands in the beauty industry, that is why we have coined the motto ‘small but powerful’ for these essential elements in cosmetics packaging. Are you ready to give your cosmetics leaflets another chance? Take the first step in this adventure with Essentra Packaging: we are waiting for you!