Cosmetic skin care products have become an integral part of everyday life in modern society. The industry not only caters to the needs of millions of people but is also one of the largest and most profitable sectors worldwide. Over the past decades, the demand for skin care products has grown at an incredible pace. The forecasts speak for themselves: by 2024, it is expected that the global skin care market will reach a staggering sum of 180 billion dollars.
This rapid development in the industry has led to a trend towards quality in skin care cosmetics manufacturing. Manufacturers strive to keep up with the times and meet the demands of their audience by creating innovative formulas and introducing new product lines. However, each created product is the result of extensive work that involves several stages. We will now explain the production processes, which are usually hidden from the eyes of consumers.
Ingredients used in skin care cosmetics
The composition of a cosmetic product is a combination of active and base components, the entirety of which serves a specific function: cleansing, moisturising, nourishing, toning, or exfoliating. The information provided on the label may make various promises, but the effectiveness of the product is always determined by its composition. Understanding the action of each ingredient can be quite challenging. However, in our analysis, we will demonstrate that it is easier than it seems.
So, the components can be classified into two main categories: natural and synthetic.
Natural ingredients are derived from natural substances such as plants, minerals, oils, vitamins, and acids. Their specificity lies in their ability to have a gentle impact on the skin without the use of harmful chemical compounds. Below, we will present common natural components found in cosmetic products:
- Plant and herbal extracts: chamomile, sage, nettle, lavender.
- Naturally derived preservatives: beeswax, propolis, citric acid.
- Oils, which soften and nourish the skin: coconut oil, sea buckthorn oil, almond oil, olive oil.
- Vitamins A, E, B.
- Plant-derived hyaluronic acid.
- Allantoin for anti-aging effects.
- Fruit acids for exfoliating the upper layer of the epidermis.
Synthetic ingredients are created in laboratory conditions using chemical compounds. Working with such components is easier because they are stable during the production process and are easier to control. Synthetic substances in cosmetics are typically used in safe dosages and do not harm human skin even with daily use. Let us consider examples of some synthetic components in cosmetics:
- Silicones create an invisible protective film on the skin’s surface, improve product distribution, and fill in unevenness in skin texture.
- Emulsifiers are used to blend and stabilise incompatible components in cosmetic products.
- Fragrances are added to mimic natural scents or create unique ones.
- Preservatives prevent the growth of bacteria, mould, and yeast, thus extending the product’s shelf life.
- Moisturising agents, such as glycerin, propylene glycol, and hyaluronic acid, help retain moisture in the skin.
- UV filters protect the skin from the effects of ultraviolet radiation, preventing damage and ageing of the skin.
Both natural and synthetic components serve a specific function in the composition of a cosmetic product. They are harmless to the skin if the formula has been developed correctly and with consideration for safe dosage. The way all components interact and act as a whole is crucial for the product’s composition. When the objective of all the constituents is unified, the product successfully fulfils its purpose.
The creation of a product begins with defining its formula down to the smallest details. First and foremost, it is necessary to determine the purpose of the product, that is, to understand the problem it will solve. The main objectives of cosmetic products include cleansing, moisturising, toning, nourishing, UV protection, combating signs of ageing, acne, and other imperfections.
Next, after defining the main properties, a series of sequential processes follows, resulting in the creation of the formulation for the future product. The action plan is as follows:
- Research and analysis. Depending on the purpose of the product, it is necessary to identify which components can be useful in solving a specific task. Conduct a comprehensive analysis of how the product’s ingredients interact with different skin types and study the changes occurring in the skin layers with regular exposure to active components. Create a list of ingredients and analyse the beneficial properties of each.
- Ingredient selection. Among the selected components, only those that will be used in the formulation should be retained. It is important to choose ingredients that are compatible with each other and can work together to achieve the desired effect on the skin.
- Formulation and mixing. At this stage, the composition of the product begins to take shape. This involves determining the precise proportions of each ingredient and creating an optimal combination that ensures the stability and effectiveness of the product. Then comes the step of mixing all the components into a single sample, working with texture and ensuring uniformity of the mixture.
- Testing. The effectiveness of a cosmetic product can only be guaranteed if the formulation has been thoroughly tested and validated. If necessary, the formulation can be improved by adjusting the proportions of ingredients or adding new components.
The production stage involves numerous mechanisms and technologies that are utilised for the perfect blending of all components, ensuring homogeneity and easy penetration of the product into the layers of the skin. It should be emphasised that adherence to safety and sanitation standards during the production process is of utmost importance, as it guarantees the safety and reliability of the product.
Three main technologies are involved in the production:
- Emulsification: The composition often includes components that do not naturally mix, such as oils and water. To prevent the separation of these constituents, emulsifiers are added to the mixing substances, which maintain the uniformity of the mixture.
- Mixing: When all the ingredients can combine with each other, they are blended into a single entity. Special mixers are used for this purpose, capable of working with different viscosity levels. During the main process, the product mass may be heated or cooled, depending on the desired final form of the product.
- Filling: This stage involves transferring the finished cosmetic product into specially prepared packaging. The process includes sealing or crimping the packaging and ensuring its tightness.
At each stage of working with these technologies, the cosmetic product undergoes testing to ensure that the production conditions are not compromised and that the product successfully withstands all manipulations.
Before a cosmetic product is packaged and prepared for sale, it undergoes meticulous quality and effectiveness evaluations. Standards may vary from country to country, but the main aspects of analysis remain identical everywhere: shelf life, levels of harmful compounds, presence of microorganisms in product batches, pH, viscosity, and specific gravity.
The primary certification system is Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This standard primarily regulates production and laboratory testing parameters. Numerous examinations take place during testing, which are listed below.
- Internal audit: An evaluation of the company’s activities conducted once or twice a year. The manufacturer of cosmetic products must comply with the requirements of regulatory bodies and legislation that establish safety and quality standards. If any of the GMP rules are violated, the certificate is not provided.
- Documentation: All production procedures, as well as ingredients and testing, must be documented in accordance with the standards of a specific country. Batch numbers of finished products must also be indicated.
- Equipment: The order, cleanliness, and functionality of the skin care cosmetics manufacturing process are the three main aspects of analysis. Verification is conducted to ensure compliance with requirements for disinfection, technological processes, calibration according to SOP norms, and other parameters.
- Personnel: All employees are required to have appropriate education, experience, and skills for working with the equipment. Standards of behaviour in the production area, appearance, and cleanliness are equally important.
- Laboratory control: Rigorous selection and verification of raw materials and ingredients used in the production process. Product samples are carefully examined through chemical composition analysis and assessment of compliance with specifications.
The main objective of these procedures is to protect the interests and safety of consumers. Only a flawless product that successfully completes all testing stages can obtain the GMP certificate.
Packaging and labelling
Packaging and labelling are the final stages of cosmetic product manufacturing. The prepared mixture is placed in special containers that ensure its preservation and airtightness. Different types of packaging are used depending on the product’s consistency, such as glass bottles, jars, and tubes.
Another function of packaging is to inform and attract the attention of consumers. Properly chosen packaging establishes a dialogue with the buyer, showcases the product’s advantages, and its uniqueness. For this purpose, a distinctive style is needed, including a memorable colour palette, fonts, symbolism, and a unique feature.
Product labelling is an important component of packaging, containing information about the product, its composition, instructions for use, expiration date, and other warnings. It also involves working with the logo, brand name, and other design elements that help consumers recognize and remember the product. The information printed on the label should be clear, truthful, and not open to misinterpretation. In such cases, consumers can make informed decisions regarding the purchase of a specific cosmetic product.
The production of skin care cosmetics is a whole science that involves a wide range of technologies, processes, and mechanisms. Each stage of production, from recipe development to packaging and quality control, is crucial in creating products that not only meet the needs and expectations of consumers but also address specific skin concerns. Furthermore, the industry constantly strives for perfection and the creation of products that make our skin healthy, well-groomed, and radiant. Innovative products continually emerge on the horizon, allowing us to take care of our skin in the best possible way.