What is an airless pump bottle?

An airless pump bottle is an innovative product delivery system that maintains an isolated and air-free environment regardless of product level. Featuring an integrated plastic piston which rises with each use, the product is pushed towards the dispenser from the base of the bottle to fill the air gap that is typically left when using traditional pumps. These bottles are fast becoming an integral part of the cosmetics industry, with the airless technology market expected to show a 4.5% CAGR over the next three years. Leading experts estimate that the airless market will be worth $39 billion by 2023.


How are Airless Pump Bottles Different?

In traditional pump bottles, a tube is used to draw product up from the bottom of the container, with the weight of the solution causing the remaining product to fall and settle at the base, creating a void at the top. There are two concerns with this method. Firstly, the void at the top fills with air, exposing the product to oxygen. Secondly, pump tubes fail to perform optimally when little product remains, resulting in end users typically opening the bottle and inserting plastic scrapers or fingertips into the product.

Airless pump bottles are different. The unique design sees the bottle inserted with a diaphragm containing a plastic piston, or small plastic disc. As the pump is depressed, this disc moves upwards inside the diaphragm towards the top of the container, with the product at the top of the bottle being dispensed through the opening. This prevents creation of voids or cavities inside the bottle, and avoids oxidation and deterioration.

However, airless pump bottles are not all different. In fact, many are made from high quality polypropylene, which is the same recyclable plastic that is often used to make traditional pump bottles for the cosmetics industry. This ensures that products remain well sealed, and provides global beauty brands with easy access to an environmentally friendly product that is in high demand from consumers who are looking to make more sustainable choices when it comes to the skincare they use, and brands they buy from.


What Does an Airless Bottle do?

The primary usage of an airless pump bottle is to isolate the product and prevent exposure to the air. This is becoming increasingly important as cosmetics brands across the world utilize the benefits of retinol (Vitamin A), Vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants which are known for being oxygen-sensitive. When exposed to the air, these ingredients can suffer from oxidation, deterioration, and bacteria growth, reducing the efficacy of the product and increasing the risk of side effects for the user. Airless bottles can hold a variety of products, ranging from fluids and liquids to thicker creams and gels, and are particularly useful for high viscosity formulations that resist flow with standard pumps.

Airless technology has also become essential at a time when natural skincare solutions are on the rise. With an increasing selection of self-preserving formulas and synthetic preservatives as major beauty brands strive to minimize the use of parabens, thiazolidinones, and formaldehyde releasers, products have much shorter shelf lives. With a non-pressurized chamber and prevention of air exposure, research suggests that high quality airless pump bottles can extend average shelf life by as much as 15%.


Airless designs are also increasingly being used to facilitate the growing trend for travelling with essential skincare products. While traditional cosmetics bottles rely heavily upon the placement of product at the base of the container, airless bottles can dispense product regardless of distribution as the solution is pushed towards the pump. During travel, product can become unevenly distributed within the bottle, resulting in frustration by end users. This problem is eliminated when using airless bottle systems.

And while airless technology is still relatively new, the good news is that end users are already beginning to witness the advantages of these revolutionary bottles. Between 2009 and 2014, sales of anti-ageing creams in plastic jars and glass jars dropped by 6.8% and 4.5% respectively across the United States. During this same period, sales of creams in airless pump bottles increased by 14.2%, demonstrating a new consumer preference.


Airless Bottle Designs

‘Airless pump bottle’ has largely become an umbrella term covering a wide range of containers featuring airless technology. Beauty brands have a number of options available to them, including single airless pump bottles which provide a simple and straightforward all-in-one packaging solution, and dual chamber airless pumps which can be used for multiple products, or for products that require multiple steps to achieve the desired results. Airless bottles are, by their very nature, sophisticated in their appearance. However, brands can optimize the look and feel of their bottles through a selection of customizable options including color, size, labeling, and spray finishes.