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cosmetic formulation testing

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Testing the Formula

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Testing the Formula

Now that we went over some of the basics of cosmetic formulating and how to build the formula, let’s go over testing the formula. Cosmetic formulation testing is an important step before going to market with your final product.

Adjusting the Formula

It is rare that you will have the exact product you want on your first try. Formulating is all about tweaking your formula till you get it exactly how you want it. It takes a lot of patience. Don’t get discouraged if it is not turning out how you want, as it may just take a little tweak to get it exactly where you want it!

When making changes to the formula, it is important you only make one adjustment at a time. It can be tempting to make several changes at once, but then you will not know which adjustment produced what kind of change. It is also important to allow time for the formulation to settle. Sometimes scents can take time to evolve and waxes to firm up.

pH Testing

pH stands for “potential for hydrogen” and is the system to measure acid and alkaline. Neutral pH is 7, anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. Water has a neutral pH. The more acidic or alkaline a product is, the more it will cause irritation to the skin. Generally the pH level for body and skin care products should be between 4.5- 6.0 and for hair care products between 4.0- 6.0.

There are a couple different ways one can test for pH. There are pH strips that are easy to use. The strips will give a range instead of the exact pH. A pH meter on the other hand will give you the exact pH and is more accurate. You will likely need to adjust the pH of your product and you can do this with natural ingredients.

Sample Labeling

It is important for you to keep excellent records and label your sample with several key information. This includes the date it was made, type of product, pH, and a reference number that links to the formulation in your lab notebook to refer to for more detailed information. That way you can return to your sample over the next several months to test its stability. You should test the pH, notice the scent and how it has evolved, and if there has been any separation or discoloration.

Testing for Bacteria, Yeast and Mold

Any product that contains water will need to be tested for bacteria, yeast and mold. There are different ways  to test your product.

Plate counts test if there is bacteria, yeast and mold in your sample. It will not tell you how long your preservation system will be effective.

Challenge testing is performed at at one month or two months. Millions of bacteria, yeast and mold will be injected into the product and it will determine if your preservation system is effective.

Stability Testing will test how your product reacts to very hot and cold temperatures.

Testing and Preservation Resources

It is very important to test your product and not only for the stability of the skin or hair care product, but also for bacteria, yeast and mold, and if the preservation system is effective. At Joan Morais Naturals we provide extensive information on testing and preserving your body and hair care products naturally and effectively in our professional product making courses. For information on these courses check out the following:

Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course

Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course

Beauty Without Cruelty Part 1

Beauty Without Cruelty Part 1

This is part 1 of our 3 part series on Beauty Without Cruelty.

Hundreds of thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits, primates, mice and other animals are poisoned, blinded and killed every year for product tests for cosmetics, personal-care products, household cleaning products, etc. These product tests are not required by law, often produce inaccurate results and even if a product has blinded an animal it can still be marketed to us. Join us in not supporting companies that test on animals.

To give you an idea of how main-stream animal testing is, check out the major brands below that still test on animals.

Below is a small portion of the list of popular companies that DO test on animals

  • Acuvue
  • Almay
  • Arm & Hammer
  • Aveeno
  • Avon Products, Inc.
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Bumble and Bumble
  • Calgon
  • Christina Aguilera Perfumes
  • Clairol
  • Clean & Clear
  • Clearasil
  • Clinique
  • Clorox
  • Coach
  • Crest
  • Dial Corporation
  • DOLCE & GABBANA
  • Donna Karan
  • Downy
  • Elizabeth Arden
  • Estee Lauder
  • Febreze
  • Garnier
  • Gillette Co.
  • Glade
  • Green Works (Clorox)
  • Gucci Fragrances
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Herbal Essences
  • Ivory
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Jurlique Pure Skin Care
  • K.Y.
  • Kiehl’s
  • L’Occitane
  • La Mer
  • Lancome
  • Listerine
  • Lubriderm
  • M.A.C. Cosmetics
  • Mary Kay
  • Max Factor
  • Maybelline
  • Michael Kors
  • Missoni
  • Nair
  • Natural Instincts
  • Neutrogena
  • Olay
  • Old Spice
  • Pampers
  • Pantene
  • Pledge
  • Ponds
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Rembrandt
  • Revlon
  • Rogaine
  • Scope
  • Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Secret
  • Shout
  • Suave
  • Swiffer
  • Tide
  • Tom Ford
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Vaseline
  • Walgreens
  • Windex

Yes, this is just a small portion, there are many more, click here to view list.

Below is a portion of the list of companies that DON’T test on animals

  • 100% Pure
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Alba Botanica
  • Andalou Naturals
  • Antho
  • Aveda
  • Ayana Organics
  • Bare Escentuals
  • Blue Moon Candles
  • Bob’s Red Mill
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Carol’s Daughter
  • Crystal Body Deodorant
  • Dermalogica
  • Dr. Hauschka Skin Care
  • E.L.F. Cosmetics
  • Ecco Bella Botanicals
  • Henna Color Lab
  • Hugo Natural Products
  • jane iredale
  • Jason Natural Cosmetics
  • John Masters Organics
  • Kiss My Face
  • Kora Organics
  • Lime Crime Cosmetics
  • LUSH Cosmetics
  • Mixed Chicks
  • Murad, Inc.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Inc.
  • Physicians Formula
  • Sean John
  • Seventh Generation
  • Smashbox Cosmetics
  • Tarte Cosmetics
  • The Body Shop
  • Trader Joe’s Company
  • Urban Decay
  • Whole Foods Market, 365
  • Zuzu Cosmetics

Click here to view the full list of the companies that do not support testing on animals. Even better- the companies on the list with a V next to the company name indicates they do not use any animal by-products in their products. Just because the company does not test on animals does not mean they do not contain parts of animals in their products.

To learn the 101 on animal testing click here.

Continue Reading Series

Read Beauty Without Cruelty Part 2 – How You Can Make a Difference as a Consumer or Business HERE

Read Beauty Without Cruelty Part 3 – Hidden Animal Ingredients to Look Out For HERE