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How beauty products are made

Ever wonder how your favorite beauty products are actually made? From concept to development, we take a peek behind the scenes to give you the lowdown.

Step 1: Sourcing ingredients

The first step to creating an award-winning beauty product, according to Tim Schmidt, CEO of SkinPro, is to source the most compelling and effective ingredients on the planet. “We start by listening to recommendations from our cosmetic pharmacy team, who is in constant contact with cutting edge research laboratories like Lipotec and Sederma, with whom we regularly source and import our ingredients from,” he explains.


While Jeffrey James, founder of skin care line Jeffrey James Organics, can only speak for his own company, each product they produce can contain anywhere from 25 to 75 ingredients! “As an organic brand, we hand select active botanicals like geranium, herbs such as horsetail and minerals such as MSM and buy those in bulk from local organic farms here in the USA.”

Step 2: Testing in the lab

Before a beauty product ever finds its way onto shelves, there’s extensive formulation and testing to be done. “The key here is to find the correct concentrations of each ingredient,” points out Schmidt. “It’s often a very sensitive balancing act between desired formula efficacy and the potential to cause irritation. That’s why, in our testing, we are very careful to ensure that every product not only works as described and expected by our loyal customer base, but also functions as a non-irritant,” he notes.

Step 3: Cooking up the product


The actual creation process, of course, will vary depending on the type of beauty product that’s being made. Emulsions, water and oil-based type products such as creams, lotions and liquid foundations, for instance, all require cooking, informs cosmetic chemist and founder of, Ron Robinson. “In other words, they must be heated to a high enough temperature so that all the ingredients solubilize (usually while being vigorously mixed). They’re then slowly cooled down to form a smooth, uniform product.”

Other types of beauty products are called anhydrous, he adds. This means they contain no water, like your powder blush or eye shadow.

Step 4: Picking the perfect packaging

Once you’ve hammered down a formula, completed testing and are happy with the results, it’s time to turn your attention to packaging, says Schmidt. “Different products should be packaged in different tubes, jars or applicators.” The right packaging can truly make or break a product, so this step is very, very important.

Step 5: Branding the product

At this point, the marketing department will typically take over to create a brand name and image for the product. As we all know, this is crucial because after all, good branding is everything!

More must-read beauty insight

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The 8-step guide to clear skin
5 Steps to brighter skin

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