Hey – we’ve all made a recipe. Maybe it was our great auntie’s Thanksgiving stuffing or a favorite chocolate lava cake recipe. So, how difficult could concocting a facial cream be? Well, ask any formulation chemist that went to school for four years to master the craft and they might tell you that whipping up a facial wash in the kitchen sink just might be a recipe… for disaster! The fine art of formulation takes a lot of chemistry, keen math skills, access to thousands of wholesale ingredients, and a lot of trial and error. And unless you have the time, money, equipment, and education, this might be a job best left to the experts.

Engaging with a formulation chemist is the sure-fire way to develop your own unique, professional, and reproducible private label skin care products. Here’s how the process works and what you can expect when developing your custom formulations.

What Are Cosmetic Formulations?

Custom formulations are unique products that a laboratory does not currently make and stock. Many custom products are based on a favorite or trending product that is currently in the marketplace…with a twist. Perhaps you have always envisioned a product line incorporating a specific botanical extract (like Blue Lotus Flower) or you’ve wanted to address a skin care concern (like hyperpigmentation) in a unique way. Then, custom formulation might be a good way for you to realize your dream of having one-of-a-kind products to offer (in an often, crowded marketplace).

How to Formulate Skin Care Products

We begin this program with a free assessment by our chemist. She determines if your proposed project is feasible and if we stock all ingredients. If we do not stock every ingredient, we can either purchase it on your behalf with the entire quantity being utilized during the first production run, or you can purchase it and have it shipped to us. Taking this into consideration, we will give you a price range for the cost of the product per unit (or for bulk if this is your preference). We will include the cost of any packaging and/or labels that you may want us to supply.

If the proposal is agreeable to you, we initiate the program with the payment of the program fee.

The Product Development Questionnaire

In order to transfer your unique product ideas to the chemist, you will be asked the following questions so that we can make your products just as you have envisioned them!

  • Description of desired product
  • Do you have a full formula? (including percentages, mixing instructions, etc.)
  • Do you have an ingredient list of a similar product?
  • Do you have a sample of this product you can ship to Trilogy Laboratories?
  • What are your “must-have” ingredients?
  • Do you have a list of restricted ingredients?
  • Description of feel/texture
  • Desired fragrance (if unsure, checkout our fragrance list!):
  • Desired appearance

Know Your Percentages

Let’s talk percentages! You will be asked by some clients what the percentage of some ingredients are. You will need to educate them about percentages, what they mean (or don’t mean) and when to discuss them in marketing collateral (or not!)

Most of the time when it comes to active products, it is not just the percentage of one ingredient but a synergistic blend of a few that make them create a visible change to the skin. That is why you usually do not see percentages on the label – because each percentage may sound “low” but yet they are still “strong” effectively improving the skin!

Our formulation chemist can help you achieve the skin improvement results you desire by incorporating in the correct percentages of active ingredients. This isn’t “guess work” but is based on clinical data that the chemist has so that your products can deliver the results you and your clients anticipate.

Understanding Ingredient Percentages

There are a few products where you will want to “advertise” the percentage of an ingredient. 20% Vitamin C Serum, 5% or 10% Glycolic Acid are a couple of examples. Otherwise – this is tricky business because for most ingredients, “higher” does not mean “better”. And often, it is a blend of several different ingredients that deliver the visible improvement in skin. Nobody wants to see 0.04% to 0.1% retinol on the front of a label – it sounds so low! But actually, these are moderate amounts of retinol. Most people are not formulation chemists and will not be able to interpret the percentages… and that is why you will be working with a formulation chemist when you develop your products at Trilogy Laboratories. Also, giving out percentages is sharing proprietary information.

Test Your Formulas

When the chemist has made your product, you will receive a sample to try. This is your opportunity to experience it first-hand and decide if there is anything that needs to be adjusted. Normally, we are able to produce your desired product within the first trial but our program includes up to three trial samples.

How Much Does It Cost to Make Custom Skin Care Products?

Generally speaking, hiring an independent chemist to create a custom skin care product can cost from $3,000-$20,000. Keep in mind that there are multiple steps in the development including, formulating, revisions to the formulation, stability testing and microbial/preservative testing. Other specialty testing can also be performed if you are looking for specific verbiage to put on your label.

At Trilogy, we have several options for custom products including customizing some of our bases, which is less costly, than a full custom formulation. Our custom formulation fees are on the lower end of the general range as we have an inhouse chemist. Contact us for more information on pricing.

Our basic Custom Formulation program includes the provision of an Export Document (otherwise known as the range code) which declares the ranges of ingredient percentages included in the formula. This document suffices for all country registrations.

How Long Does It Take to Launch a Custom Skin Care Line?

For custom formulations, there is about a 20-week total lead time (after the product is developed, there is a 12 week stability testing period).

Can I Make and Sell My Own Beauty Products?

In some states, it may be possible to make and sell your own skin care products (without a manufacturing license). But considering what it would require to produce a successful and stable product without the proper resources and education, the project would most likely result in a lot of wasted time and money. You can still make and sell your own unique beauty products, but it is a much better idea to partner with a company like Trilogy Laboratories who has a licensed facility, proper equipment, and the experts that can easily turn your custom formulation dream into a reality.

Interested in Formulating Your Own Skin Care Products? Trilogy Laboratories Has You Covered!

Find out today if Trilogy Laboratories can help launch your custom formulations by sending us your ideas and allowing our chemist to give you a free assessment. Submit your project ideas to customerservice@trilogylaboratories.com.

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