Founded by CEO Kyle Jiang in 2018 with a commitment to keep sustainability at the core of every skincare product it creates, the Junoco brand embodies the “skinmalism” trend of “less is more,” identified several years ago in the beauty products industry. Junoco’s products contain minimal, clean ingredients and promote a simple skincare routine. This approach extends to the company’s packaging as well, particularly its recently released refillable/reusable packaging system, which features easy-to-use, interchangeable refill pods that allow the consumer to reuse a single jar for different products.
According to Jiang, the impetus for the packaging came in 2021 with a stream of 200+ emails and Instagram comments from customers requesting a refill option for one of the company’s bestselling products, Clean 10 Cleansing Balm. “Once we established that refills were in high demand, we took into consideration user convenience and experience, and conducted several questionnaires and polls with consumers on their experiences using our competitors’ refills,” he says. “After we finalized a list of what consumers wanted and did not want, we began our design of the interchangeable refill pod system.”
|Read this related article on Myro’s refillable/reusable body wash packaging system, with concentrates packed in an aluminum tube.
Jiang notes that the project required multiple manufacturers working to address crucial obstacles to reusable packaging: hygiene, durability, and user experience. “Our founding team worked together with our in-house designers to come up with the concept of this packaging,” he says. “We explored samples globally, from Europe to Asia, seeking a cutting-edge design.”
Many of the designs the team explored relied on existing molds and lacked innovation. Recognizing the preferences of the new generation of consumers, Junoco aimed to create a distinctive system to drive repeat purchases. “Our goal was not just a single, intriguing refillable pod, but a groundbreaking approach by creating a system enabling interchangeable pods within the same container,” says Jiang.
Reusable packaging system is finalized
The resulting packaging system, manufactured by a proprietary packaging supplier in Shanghai, China, consists of a reusable and durable acrylonitrile styrene (AS) jar and refill pods made from polypropylene. The real “twist” though is a lock/unlock mechanism made up of a movable ring around the top of the jar that, when matched with raised guides on the refill, is used to secure the pod in the package. According to Jiang, Junoco tested more than 50 lock/unlock prototypes and materials before selecting the final design, which it subsequently tested 1,000 times for durability.
The mechanism involves what Jiang describes as a simple twist-and-release action. “Users can securely lock the pod in place by twisting it into the container, ensuring a tight seal to maintain hygiene,” he explains. “To refill, users smoothly twist the mechanism in the opposite direction, allowing for effortless removal and replacement.”
|Read this related story to learn how U.K.’s Proverb developed a refillable plastic deodorant case, along with and refill sticks packaged in paper.
Jar is carefully crafted to emulate jade
Jiang says Junoco used AS for the jar due to the material’s long-lasting nature as well as for its aesthetic properties, which allowed the team to create a sophisticated look for the product, renamed Jade 10 Cleansing Balm. “The surface texture was carefully crafted to emulate the look and feel of smooth and polished jade, enhancing both the visual and tactile aspects of the product,” he explains. “Additionally, subtle marbling patterns were introduced to evoke the natural variations and transparency found in jade, capturing the essence of jade that aligns with our mission of providing transparency in the products we are creating. The clear elements we created on our refillable jar allow glimpses of the jade-inspired hues, resulting in a captivating and elegant visual experience while creating a harmonious fusion.”
In the case of the refill pod, Junoco chose PP due to its sustainability and functionality. This includes its ability to be recycled, which aligns with Junoco’s sustainability goals, as well as its durability, which makes it suitable for packaging that requires resistance to wear, tear, and impact. The pod also offers a light weight that contributes to a reduction in transportation costs and emissions, and heat-sealability, which Jiang says is “crucial for maintaining product freshness and preventing contamination.”
Junoco is using the refillable/reusable packaging for its Jade 10 Cleansing Balm, as well as its 0 Mark Body Butter and Buffing Butter. Each refill comes with a product sticker that the consumer can adhere to the reusable jar to identify the product within. Says Jiang, it’s the interchangeability of the system that allows for greater sustainability versus other refillable packaging systems using designated packaging for each product, which “only moderately lessens the issue of packaging waste,” he notes.
Junoco launched its new packaging on Nov. 1, 2023, with much online excitement from consumers both before and after the introduction. Junoco sells the new products in reusable packaging, along with the rest of its skincare offerings, Direct-to-Consumer on its website, www.junoco.com. The cleansing balm in 2.87-oz reusable packaging is available for $23, with refills priced at $14.99; 3-oz 0 Mark Body Butter in reusable packaging is $18, while refills are $10.99 apiece; and 3-oz Buffing Butter is available for $16, with refills retailing for $8. PW