Podcast: Episode 4, cosmetic development

Episode the audio episode on cosmandic development

The process for cosmandic product development

  1. Ideation
  2. La formulation
  3. Packaging development
  4. Tests: stability, compatibility, microbiological, skin and eye irritation, efficacy, drop test
  5. Regulatory records
  6. La communication

Don't hesitate to listen to the previous episode on themicellar water as well as the following on hyaluronic acid.

What are the main steps before putting a cosmandic product on the markand?

Before ending up in our bathrooms, our cosmandics had to go through several crucial stages during their development. It is important for you to know these steps so that you can evaluate your products for what they really are, for the research and the organization they required, the tests they had to pass, but also to anticipate the price of cosmandics. Land's go to the first step.


1. Ideation

podcast 4 idéation

Of course, every project starts with an idea. And this ideation phase is usually done by the New Product Development team also called NPD, it's the acronym New Product Development. For the new product to be successful, it must fit bandter into the brand's catalog, that is to say, it must correspond to the image of the brand without cannibalizing other products. already existing.

If, for example, the brand has a catalog of 4 products and it is looking to release a fifth product, it is not wise to release a second face mask focused on hydration because it will overshadow the first mask. already on the markand.

The new concept must be innovative or at least have a point of differentiation from its direct companditors on the markand, and be adapted to the brand's customers.

Generally, brands differentiate their collections according to skin types. So one could easily imagine that a brand has a collection for combination skin, a collection for dry skin, another collection for mature skin, andc. All these collections would have different active ingredients depending on the type of skin targanded. Moreover, collections aimed at mature skin are sold at a higher price than collections for oily skin because the targand customers have more resources.

Ideation is therefore the innovation or the key idea of the concept which can be centered around different characteristics.

For example, the key idea could be a new high-performance active, an amazing product form for its usefulness (an eyeshadow in the shape of a nail polish), a special packaging (a packaging with a pump that allows to mix the contents of two separate containers), a new formulation technology such as microfluidics (this science allows obtaining spheres in suspension in a liquid), a form of super ecological product such as refillable products.


2. Markand research

markand research

 To ensure the originality of this new project, it is essential to make a étude de marché, that is to say to list the similar projects sold in the same places as the new project, having the same distribution. When researching the markand, it is important to highlight companditors' concepts, their key ingredients, packaging used, resale prices. And for each companditor it is necessary to identify the points of differentiation with the new concept. There would be no interest for the consumer to find two complandely similar products on the markand.

During the companditive study, it is useful to be aware of the concepts that you admire and those that you do not adhere to at all. The companditive study can also specify the final dandails of the future concept.

The goal in this phase of ideation and markand research is to identify the idea and describe it as precisely as possible, it is therefore necessary write a product brief.


3. The product brief

This brief must contain the smallest dandails of the new concept both from a technical and markanding point of view.

It is necessary to list the ingredients to be used, the desired texture through the color, the aspect, the smell, the grip, the application and the finish but also the desired price, the launch date, the packaging to be used.


4. Formulation


Then when the brief is complete, the Product Development team shares it with the formulations for texture tests to be carried out. The formulation laboratory can be internal to the brand or external, if the brand subcontracts.

When the trainers receive the brief they will communicate the possible challenges identified thanks to their skills in chemistry. They will then order the raw materials from the distributors before being able to start the first formulas.

In terms of raw materials, only the active ingredients are described in the brief and possibly a list of ingredients to be banned (often when developing a natural cosmetic) but the functional ingredients, so those which give the textures are often chosen by the formulator for respond to the texture described in the brief.

What I call the functional ingredients are the ingredients used to obtain the texture and the robustness of the product - robustness both from the point of view of stability and conservation.

If you want to know more about certain categories of ingredients, I invite you to listen episode 3 on micellar water in which we talked about glycols, surfactants, perfume, preservatives and pH adjusters. The formulator is then involved in several difficulties: the identification of the ingredients that will allow obtaining the desired sensoriality, that is to say everything that we will perceive with our senses on this product (therefore the color by vision, perfume by smell, texture by touch) and in addition a good stability of the texture over time. The formulator must also provide good protection against microorganisms, an appropriate manufacturing process and good skin tolerance depending on the target customer.

Several tests will be done and sent to the Product Development teams, so that they can try the product and give their feedback.

Thus, formulators will take feedback into account to improve the product. The goal here is to match the idea, there is no perfect universal texture, the texture must match the concept that is unique to it. If my concept is a rich cream for skin that feels tight in winter, I'm not going to appreciate it if the formulation teams submit me a light cream that penetrates quickly and leaves no greasy film on the skin, even if this cream has a revolutionary texture in terms of absorption.


5. Le packaging

In parallel with the formula development, the packaging must be developed. The first steps are similar with an ideation phase, brief writing, market research. The brief is communicated to packaging suppliers to source the packaging and given to a designer to create the design. You also have to think about the desired paper, the feeling of touch, the feeling you want to create in the consumer when he opens the product for the first time.


6. The tests

After the texture is validated, the product seems stable, the test phase can begin.

The product is sent to a microbiological laboratory for a test called challenge test or PET.

This test consists of inoculating the product with microorganisms, injecting a certain quantity of bacteria into the product and measuring the quantity of these for 28 days. The aim being that the bacteria initially incorporated do not survive in the product thanks to the preservative system used.

Bacteria only grow in an aqueous medium. This means that a product without water, which is called a anhydrous product such as an oil or a lip balm have much less risk of contamination than a cream, an aqueous serum or a shampoo.

It is very important to make sure that the product is resistant to microbiological contamination because if the product is contaminated and you apply it to your skin, it can unbalance your skin microflora and cause skin problems such as boils, or impetigo. On top of that, bacteria can degrade the product and release foul odor, product staining, etc.

Then and depending on the area of use, tests must be planned to ensure that the product does not cause sensitization. If the product is applied near the eye, it is necessary to plan a test ofeye irritation to ensure that the product does not irritate the eye. There are several methods for evaluating the irritant potential of the eye, including methods using laboratory models, therefore not on volunteers.

Clarification animal testing is banned in Europe, so the absence of animal testing should not be the main marketing argument of a cosmetic brand because in any case not all brands sold in Europe have carried out animal testing - listen to the episode on animal testing in cosmetics if you want to know more.

It is also necessary to provide a test called patch test carried out on the skin of a panel of voluntary and paid people. A test patch is when the product to be tested is applied to the skin and covered with a plastic film which is left on for 48 hours. Covering the product will increase its penetration into the skin and therefore increase the risk of irritation. Thus, it is ensured that the formula is not irritating or sensitizing for the skin.

Then, it is possible to test the product for its effectiveness. These tests are not mandatory. It depends on the product claims and available ingredient literature. There are lots of different tests of different effectiveness depending on what you are testing: moisturizing, exfoliating, cleansing capacity, etc...


7. The DIP (Product Information File)

The product is almost finalized. The formula is tested, the packaging is ready. We must now make sure that we are in good standing

Depending on the country in which the product is distributed, it must comply with different regulations. Take for example the example of a product that is sold in France, it is subject to European regulation 1223/2009 and therefore it is mandatory to register the product on the CPNP portal, it is a declaration to be made on the internet. And you have to form a product information file that includes all the information about the product, from its formulation to the tests that have been done on it, as well as the claims.


8. Others

Last but crucial steps, good communication and good marketing around the new product launch.



Before marketing, a cosmetic must be imagined and described in the product brief, it must be formulated in the laboratory, it must be tested to ensure the effectiveness of its preservative system, its good skin and eye tolerance if the product is applied near the eye, it must be declared and registered on the CPNP portal and must be the subject of the writing of a product information file and of course it must be produced.

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A chemist in the cosmetics industry for more than 5 years and a graduate of the Natural Raw Materials in Cosmetics Master's degree from ISIPCA, Julie is an expert in the development of natural cosmetic products.