Three Critical Phases Of Formulation And Product Development - Beauty Independent (2023)

When Sarah Brown, founder of skincare brand Pai, couldn’t find a solution to her chronic urticaria, a condition that caused itchiness and hives on over 80% of her body, she created the remedy herself. “One of my main challenges was that this particular condition made me hyperreactive to all products,” said Brown. “I’d never had to think about what I put on my skin ever. I suddenly could put nothing on.”

In 2007, when Brown began her creating her product, the natural skincare market was underdeveloped and finding formulators was a difficult task. Brown was determined to make organic products that were also vegan and cruelty-free, and she tackled the formulation and product development process in her garage in West London. “I didn’t really have a business. I had six great products that I really believed in and I had formulated myself,” said Brown. To expand her line, she hired a former L’Oréal chemist who had a desire to work in the natural space.

Today, with celebrity fans like Natalie Portman and wide distribution in retailers such as Anthropologie, Free People, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Credo, the brand continues to formulate its own products in a 12,000-square-foot facility that produces upwards of 25,000 units per week. Brown shared her expertise and devotion to in-house production during Beauty Independent’s recent In Conversation webinar, the second of a five-part series on product development and commercialization sponsored by Cosmetic Solutions. She was joined Becca Anderson, director of education at Cosmetic Solutions, and Odalys Gonzalez, the manufacturer’s director of research and development.

Together, the webinar participants highlighted best practices for embarking on a formulation process, weighed the advantages and disadvantages of in-house and outsourced production, and delved into the steps and decisions beauty brands founders face. Here are key takeaways from their discussion.

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To cut down what may seem to be a daunting number of options, the formulation process starts by generating a formal product development request (PDR). Under the guidance of a formulator, the PDR is basically a wish list of dream product attributes. By establishing ideal guidelines for a brand’s future product, formulators are able to better grasp the holistic view of the item’s form, look, substance and performance. “Your formulation is your physical DNA of your brand,” said Gonzalez. “This will not only determine what you put on the market, but how the market receives your brand.”

When the PDR is finalized, each attribute is reviewed to determine whether the components are compatible with one another. This assessment helps the formulator identify potential trade-offs and efficiencies, and present them to the brand creator to accept or work on accommodations. “It’s a validation of the project,” said Gonzalez, explaining the negotiation and evaluation. “You should be able to discuss openly with your chemist what type of product you’re looking for, what type of claims you’re looking to make, what type of packaging you’re looking to use in this formula, what type of cost, and key ingredients that you want to use. You need to include on here also market regions, where do you want to sell. All of this information is essential for developing the formula quickly for the next phase of the formulation.”

Pro Tip: A PDR is more easily derived when there is a sturdy target product profile created in the market analysis phase. “The more information and the more accurate the PDR is the smoother the process will be,” said Gonzalez. “The turnaround times for submissions will be quicker.” Anderson chimed in, “Come prepared with a very robust target profile. Do your homework. We want to have a clear direction on where we’re going to live in the marketplace, what the pricing needs to be in order to make sense, and how we’re going to get there.”

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Behind formulation possibilities are decisions to be made about ingredients and ingredient sourcing. Chemists rely on product profiles to determine limitations and recommendations. This version of a draft formulation is the basis for what the professionals call a “bench formulation” or the actual, physical creation of the first rendition. Gonzalez said, “This is [what] the chemist enjoys, seeing the entire process coming together, going from a formula on a piece of paper to actual creation of a product.”

It’s Brown’s intense interest in this aspect of creation that compels her to keep Pai’s manufacturing in-house. “I passionately wanted to have oversight on how an ingredient was moving into our premises, how it was being stored, how it has been handled,” she said. “It [gives] us complete flexibility to test and learn.”

The formula may have to endure multiple iterations dependent on chemists’ opinions of the outcome. Gonzalez said, “They might do a couple more revisions within the lab until they get it perfect to meet all the requirements of that PDR.” The first viable lab sample is sent out for initial stability testing before reaching the client.

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Beyond the lab, the testing phase involves client approval. It’s time to accumulate feedback on the product from a holistic perspective. Whether adjusting the fragrance level or amending a texture, viscosity or pH level, each minute adjustment means time revising the lab.

Once the product is approved, it formally heads to formula testing to verify stability. “We want to formulate so that we know that, when we send this product out for testing, it’s going to pass with flying colors,” said Anderson. She elaborated that stability and compatibility testing are crucial in determining whether the formula is durable and a good match for the selected packaging.

Pro Tip: “Take your time to evaluate and gather all the feedback. Maybe you [should] have more than one person evaluating with your team member or family members,” said Gonzalez. She encouraged brands to gather what they like—and don’t like—about the iteration prior to review with the chemist. Gonzalez said, “The more accurate your feedback, the less time it will take for a reformulation.”

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Depending on a brand’s budget and timeline, formulation can be selected out of a library of stock formulas or completely customized. Stock formulation allows speed to market. Claims associated with the formula are already validated. Custom formulas involve greater time for modifications and, if any new claims are being brought forth, they will have to be substantiated, particularly clinical claims. “These are things that, if you’re using it in your promotional material, you have to have the clinical data to support it,” said Anderson. “And doing those clinical trials based on your diagram seems to have an exponential effect on your time and development costs.”

“Cost of a formulation can vary immensely,” added Gonzalez. “So, take into consideration before you start, what is your budget, and how much time do you have? Obviously, the more time you have, the more custom your formulation can be, but it can also be very costly.”

Cost and time can be dependent on finding the right formulator. “Make sure that you find a formulator that’s very familiar with claims,” said Gonzalez. “Your formulator should know exactly what it is that you’re looking to claim on your product.” Whether a product is natural, vegan or making anti-aging, hydration or other claims, the key is to avoid unnecessary expense and lengthy revisions by focusing on the precise criteria generated by the brand.

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Anderson instructed brands know their cost of goods and have an understanding of their future distribution. She cautioned them to not enter the market too quickly without doing their homework. “As you start to gain traction in the marketplace, [you don’t want to] come back to square one and make that investment of time and money all over again to reformulate,” said Anderson. “Understand what these numbers need to look like for your business model and understand where you can flex in order to make it all make sense in the end.”

Pro Tip: Brands should secure a facility that can scale with their businesses. “You want to be able to reproduce that formula that you fell in love with at a larger quantity and, believe it or not, sometimes that can be a problem with certain facilities,” said Gonzalez. She urged brands to look into whether they can produce larger batches and how quickly they’re able to generate products in a restock situation. Anderson said, “Get to know the volumes of your business and that they really match the sweet spot of your manufacturer.”

On the in-house manufacturing side, Brown described equipment that can cost over $1 million to acquire and her commitment to managing a team of 63. “You don’t do this unless you’re really passionate about manufacturing,” she said. Brown is transparent about downsides. “It’s a lot of inventory to hold,” she said. “That eats up cash, and [it’s] more risk really because you’ve just got to be so mindful of preservation, control and contamination.”

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What are phases in cosmetic formulation? ›

Most formulations have Phases (Oil Phase, Water Phase, Final Phase/Cooling Phase): The “Oil Phase” includes all the oil-soluble ingredients. The “Water Phase” includes all the water- soluble ingredients.
Lotions and Creams have 3 components:
  • Water.
  • Oil.
  • Emulsifying Agent which allows them to combine.

What is formulation in product development? ›

Product formulation is the understanding of how materials behave and interact to provide enhanced properties, improved processing and delivery of an active ingredient in a convenient and useable form.

What are the factors to be considered in formulating cosmetic products? ›

Products intended to make individuals more attractive are considered cosmetics.
The following is a list of important steps for formulating skin care products with confidence.
  • Formulary Target. ...
  • Know Percentages. ...
  • Understand Ingredient Percentage Ranges. ...
  • Starting Formula. ...
  • Preservatives.
9 Apr 2018

What is the purpose of formulation in cosmetology? ›

Formulation is the meticulous balance of all ingredients in a single physical entity. In order for all ingredients to take shape into a specific physical form, there plays an invisible physical chemistry. Cosmetic formulation is more than just simple mixing of all ingredients. There must be chemistry behind them.

What are the 3 classifications of cosmetics? ›

Cosmetics are broadly categorized into four types:
  • Skin Cosmetics.
  • Hair Cosmetics.
  • Nail Cosmetics.
  • Cosmetics for hygiene purpose.

What are the three classification of cosmetic products? ›

Cosmetics are classified into "perfume and eau de cologne" including fragrance, "makeup cosmetics" including foundation creams, lipsticks and eye makeup, "skin care cosmetics" including facial cream, skin lotion, skin milk and cleansing cream, "hair care products" including hair dye, shampoo and hair treatment, and " ...

What is the formulation phase? ›

Formulation is the process of choosing the most profitable course of action for success. This is the phase for setting objectives and identifying the ways and means of achieving them.

What is the most important in formulation development? ›

Formulation development is a process of utmost importance as it involves developing an adequate preparation and form of a drug, which is both stable and acceptable to the patient.

What is formulation stage? ›

Strategy formulation refers to the process of choosing the most appropriate course of action for the realization of organizational goals and objectives and thereby achieving the organizational vision.

How do you do cosmetic formulation? ›

6 Steps to Create a Cosmetic Formula
  1. Step 1 — Define your product. Before you get started, you need to think about what you are going to make. ...
  2. Step 2 — Find a starting formula. ...
  3. Step 3 — Prepare for your batch. ...
  4. Step 4 — Making the batch. ...
  5. Step 5 — Test your batch. ...
  6. Step 6 — Revise formula and Repeat.

What are the components of a formulation? ›

A formulation can be created from numerous components such as active ingredients, rheological agents, functional agents, antimicrobial agents, propylene glycols, and diluents.
  • Active Ingredient. ...
  • Rheological Agents. ...
  • Functional Agents. ...
  • Antimicrobial Agents. ...
  • Anti-freeze agents. ...
  • Surfactants and Dispersants. ...
  • Diluents.
28 Sept 2022

What is Product Development cosmetic? ›

This means you can investigate exact design & specifications and any manufacturing methods, but also gives something tangible for consumer testing, for feedback on specifics like look, feel and packaging for example, as aesthetics play a very important role in sale of Cosmetics. 6. Test Marketing.

What is the role of formulation development? ›

Formulation development is a key area of product development that can determine patentability, lifecycle and, ultimately, the success of a pharmaceutical product. Companies integrate formulation development functions and personnel into their product development cycle in many different ways.

What is formulation method? ›

Definition/Introduction. Pharmaceutical formulation is the multistep process where the active drug is mixed with all other components by considering the factors of particle size, polymorphism, pH, and solubility and becomes the final beneficial medicinal product.

Why is the formulation of a product important? ›

With the knowledge in materials processing and manufacturing, product formulation delivers effective ingredients in a functional, safe, and usable form.

What are the 3 steps of skin care? ›

Think of your skin-care routine as consisting of three main steps: Cleansing — Washing your face. Toning — Balancing the skin. Moisturizing — Hydrating and softening the skin.

What are the 3 most important skin care products? ›

Three Essential Elements in a Basic Skincare Routine
  1. Step 1: Cleanser. Choosing a cleanser that's specifically formulated for the face (rather than the body) is the first essential step in a basic skincare routine. ...
  2. Step 2: Moisturizer. ...
  3. Step 3: Sunscreen. ...
  4. 3 (or 5) simple steps to beautiful skin.

What are the 3 skin types? ›

There are basically three skin types: oily, normal and dry. Some people may have more than one skin type, which is often referred to as combination skin. Normal skin has a perfect balance of oil and moisture.

What are the main categories of skin care products? ›

Four basic categories of skin care products
  • Cleansers.
  • Moisturizers.
  • Sunscreens.
  • “Anti-aging”
22 Sept 2017

What industry classification is beauty? ›

According to the North American Industry Classification System – better known as the NAICS, beauty salons fall into category 8121 – Personal Care Services.

What are the main functions of cosmetics? ›

Cosmetics are defined as “items with mild action on the human body for the purpose of cleaning, beautifying, adding to the attractiveness, altering the appearance, or keeping or promoting the skin or hair in good condition” while functional cosmetics, even if falling under the cosmetic definition, are designated as “ ...

What are the 3 strategy formulation? ›

Here are the three levels of strategy: Corporate level: How you structure the organization and coordinate across business units. Business level: How you target and retain customers and compete with other organizations in your market. Functional level: How you plan to grow and improve the organization.

What is the first phase in strategy formulation? ›

The first step in forming a strategy is to review the information gleaned from completing the analysis. Determine what resources the business currently has that can help reach the defined goals and objectives.

How many steps are in the project formulation process? ›

These processes are formed by five phases or stages that incorporate the main activity areas; from initial debates about the idea of the engineering project, to the presentation of a complex plan that has to be managed and executed.

What is a formulation and examples? ›

Formulations are mixtures of chemical substances, designed to be used for a particular purpose. Examples of products which are formulations include pharmaceutical drugs, personal care products, paints, detergents and herbicides.

What is model formulation? ›

Model formulation is the step where our knowledge of a natural system is translated in mathematical form. It involves two steps: the construction of a conceptual model and the formulation of this conceptual model into mathematical equations.

What is formulation research and development? ›

Pharmaceutical formulation is the process of combining different chemical substances with the active drug to form the final medicinal product. It is obtained after in-depth study of physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of the drug substance.

What are the three different phases of project formulation? ›

One such division is: Preliminary project formulation. Pre-feasibility study. Feasibility study.

Is the third stage of project formulation? ›

Implementation (Execution) Phase

During the third phase, the implementation phase, the project plan is put into motion and the work of the project is performed.

What is formulation in skincare? ›

Skin care formulation is the art and science of putting ingredients together for making skincare products that enable you to design a product that is effective, safe, and allows to deliver appropriate and relevant results for a specified skin type.

What is cosmetic science and formulation design? ›

The Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design major is an interdisciplinary program involved with developing, formulating, producing, and testing cosmetics and personal care products.

What is cosmetic formulation science? ›

The Advanced Diploma in Cosmetic Formulation Science is the first in South Africa and first to be located within a Division of Dermatology in the world. This is a deliberate choice that aims to reduce the divide between scientists who develop and dermatologists who treat the many adverse effects of cosmetic products.

What is formulation of plan? ›

Plan formulation is an iterative process that establishes planning objectives, evaluates management measures that address these objectives, develops potential alternatives that meet the objectives, screens out plans based on comparison criteria, and identifies plans for implementation.

What is formulation in design? ›

Formulation design and development involves a combination of various components and optimization of process parameters. Excipients are considered as the vital component of the quality drug product, and it is mandatory to ensure that product development should not result in any incompatibility.

What are the 4 types of product development processes? ›

The 4 stages of product development are as follows – R&D, Growth, Maturation, and Decline. These may be difficult to map out correctly, but over time when you scale a product you can get a better idea about the stage, it's in.

What are the steps in product development process? ›

New product development is the process of bringing an original product idea to market. Although it differs by industry, it can essentially be broken down into six stages: ideation, research, planning, prototyping, sourcing, and costing.

What are the 5 stages of product development? ›

Five phases guide the new product development process for small businesses: idea generation, screening, concept development, product development and, finally, commercialization.

What happens in a formulation? ›

Formulation is the process in which a variety of different substances are combined in precise proportions to create a specific product. The proportions of the various substances mixed together in the formulation recipe are determined in the formulation development process.

What is formulation of development proposal? ›

What is meant by formulation of development proposal? Ans:- A draft of complete program prepared to achieve certain objectives with in a fixed period with the appropriate use of available resources is meant by formulation of development proposal.

What is formulation management? ›

What Is Strategy Formulation? Strategy formulation is the process of using available knowledge to document the intended direction of a business and the actionable steps to reach its goals. This process is used for resource allocation, prioritization, organization-wide alignment, and validation of business goals.

What are the 5 P's of formulation? ›

The 5Ps highlight an approach that incorporates Presenting, Predisposing, Precipitating, Perpetuating, and Protective factors to a consumer's presentation.

What is principle formulation? ›

1. Formulations must be cosmetically appealing and delight the consumer. 2. When beginning a project, put together a formulation strategy outlining the various approaches you are considering along with a technical rationale.

Which of the following is an example of a formulated product? ›

Formulated products are extremely diverse and include cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, processed foods, detergents and paints.

What are the 5 main categories of cosmetic products? ›

Specifically, there are seven categories of cosmetics and personal care products - oral care, skin care, sun care, hair care, decorative cosmetics, body care and perfumes.

What are the various formulations of cosmetics? ›

Skin-care creams, powders, lotions, lipsticks, nail polishes, eye and face makeup, deodorants, baby products, hair colourants and sprays etc.

What are the 5 steps of skincare? ›

Easy 5 Step Self-Care Skin Routine
  • Cleanse. Always start your regimen by cleansing your face for a clean canvas. ...
  • Tone. Toners usually act as a second cleansing method for any dirt that your cleanser wasn't able to wash off initially. ...
  • Use Serums. ...
  • Moisturise. ...
  • Protect.

What are top 5 beauty categories? ›

When you are shopping for yourself or those lucky recipients on your list, focus on the seven beauty categories.
  • Skin care. Shopping for skin care is always fun, and with so many incredible brands, it's hard to choose what to put in your cart. ...
  • Body care. ...
  • Makeup. ...
  • Hair care. ...
  • Nail care. ...
  • Fragrance. ...
  • Tools, devices, accessories.
14 Dec 2020

What are the categories of beauty products? ›

– cleansing products (lotions, powders, shampoos), – conditioning products (lotions, creams, oils), – hairdressing products (lotions, lacquers, brilliantines). – Shaving products (creams, foams, lotions, etc.).

What are the 3 methods of preparing cosmetic powders? ›

Hence, mixture of substances is used in the formulation of powders to impart desired properties to the skin. Depending on the type of skin to be powdered, the face powders are classified into 3 types. They are light type, medium type and heavy type.

What are the three formula components of a cream? ›


To create them, a formulator needs three formula components including an oil phase, an aqueous phase and an emulsifier.

What is the formulation stage? ›

Formulation is the process of choosing the most profitable course of action for success. This is the phase for setting objectives and identifying the ways and means of achieving them.

What is formulation concept? ›

Formulation is a term used in various senses in various applications, both the material and the abstract or formal. Its fundamental meaning is the putting together of components in appropriate relationships or structures, according to a formula.

What are the 4 steps to skincare? ›

The Core Four includes a cleanser, an exfoliant, a moisturizer, and a SPF. Cleansing is the most basic aspect of skincare, everyone should do it daily – from the guy with perfect skin, to the MAC makeup artist.


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