What is a Shrink Sleeve Label? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

Looking for a versatile and cost-effective labeling option for your product? Since its first introduction in the 1960s, shrink sleeve labels have become an increasingly popular labeling choice across a wide range of industries. Today, companies such as Inovar, are leading the nation in using innovative technology to create top-quality shrink sleeve labels.

Even if you’ve never heard of shrink sleeves, there’s a very good chance you’ve come across them in your everyday life. Learn more about this type of label, their potential applications, and the advantages this type of labeling has to offer. From there, you can get a better feel for whether this product label may be right for your product.

What Are Shrink Sleeves?

Shrink sleeves are a specific type of product label that is essentially heat-wrapped around an entire product, such as a bottle or can. These labels completely and seamlessly conform to the shape of the product or container. Most often, shrink sleeve labels are made of a polyester or plastic film material.

Types of Shrink Sleeves

At Inovar, we’re proud to offer a wide range of shrink sleeve label options to suit your needs. Some examples include:

  • Full-body shrink sleeves – the label wraps around the full product, which may or may not include the cap (depending on client specifications).
  • Neck-band sleeves (also known as tamper-evident sleeves) – perforated neck-bands go over the lid of a product for added protection.
  • Partial-body sleeves (also known as belly bands) – the label wraps around a portion of the product, but not the entire thing.
  • Multi-pack sleeves – body- or belly-band sleeves that wrap around more than one product to group them for sale.

How Shrink Sleeves Are Applied

Special machines are used to apply shrink sleeves to a wide range of products. This typically entails placing the sleeve over the product and then using a heat-shrinking process and steam tunnels to conform the label smoothly to the product itself.

At Inovar, we have access to state-of-the-art distortion software that allows us to design and apply shrink sleeves to any container shape, regardless of how complex it may be.

Common Uses for Shrink Sleeves

While the applications for shrink sleeves are essentially endless, there are a few industries where we tend to see the heaviest use of this type of labeling.

Food and Beverage

From condiments and snacks to beverages and more, many food and beverage distributors are now using shrink sleeve labels on their products. They enjoy the ability to implement a 360-degree design while also enjoying the tamper-resistant functionality of these labels.

Pet Care

The pet care industry is also embracing the use of shrink sleeves; you’ll often see this type of labeling used on pet products like food containers, snack packages, and pet shampoos/conditioners. Pet care companies enjoy that shrink sleeve labels provide tamper-resistance and easy branding while also conforming to the shape of any bottle or container.


More nutraceutical companies are also using shrink sleeve label technology to create eye-catching package designs on things like vitamin/supplement packages, protein powder containers, and the like.

Home and Personal Care

Shrink sleeve labels are frequently used on home and personal care products, including cosmetics that need to be sealed with a tamper-evident label while retaining an eye-catching and appealing aesthetic. On some cosmetic products, such as pressed powders, shrink sleeve labels can also help to reduce unwanted movement or shifting of the product itself.


Auto fuel additives, cleaners, and sealants can all benefit from tamper-evident packaging and a 360-degree label design. This type of labeling also allows for measurement windows to be easily accommodated, which is an important feature in the packaging of many automotive products.

Benefits of Using Shrink Sleeves

Is shrink sleeve labeling right for your product? Consider a few of the key advantages of using this type of label.

360-Degree Coverage

Because shrink sleeves can wrap around an entire product, this gives you the opportunity to expand your labeling real estate and implement a truly eye-catching package design that can increase sales.

Tamper-Evident Sealing

Perforated neck-band sleeves and other shrink sleeve labeling can provide your product with tamper-evident protection, which gives your customers added confidence and peace of mind with their purchase.

Excellent Durability

Shrink sleeve labels are made of durable materials like polyester and plastic film, which can easily stand up to temperature extremes, high humidity, and other harsh conditions without affecting the appearance of your product. And because graphics are typically printed on the inside of the sleeve itself, there’s no worry about abrasion or ink run.


Because no adhesive is used to apply a shrink sleeve label, these labels can be easily removed and recycled by your customers. This makes it easier for your organization to do its part in cutting down on waste.

Choose a Shrink Sleeve Label Specialist

Our team at Inovar has already helped many brands incorporate shrink sleeve labeling into their product design and packaging. Contact us today at (800) 285-2235 to find out more about what we have to offer—or to request a quote for our shrink sleeve services. From design to application, we can handle every aspect of the process while working with you every step of the way!

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