One might imagine cosmetic product development as a lengthy process involving cosmetic chemists who would test one iteration of a formula after another until they figure out the perfect ratios. Of course, there is some element of truth to this image. However, nowadays, the formulation of cosmetic products largely takes place on a computer or is assisted by cosmetic software. Thanks to these powerful solutions, the industry is able to bring out new products faster than ever and to revolutionize the market on a constant basis. Here is how the process happens, from product development to manufacturing.

Cosmetic Software as Part of the R&D Process

The initial stage of cosmetic product development involves the research and development team, who will start by brainstorming ideas and laying down some specifications for the end product. This could include decisions as to the category of the product, its scent, color, texture, clarity, and even packaging design. At this stage, we are still far from beginning to consider the formulation of the cosmetic product, and yet, cosmetic software can already come into play. Based on these specifications, it can provide feasibility simulations taking into account such concerns as cost and manufacturing constraints.

Choosing a Starting Formula

Very few cosmetic product development teams still create formulas from scratch, for several reasons, the main ones being that most cosmetic manufacturers already have tried and true formulas to rely on. They use these as a base to build upon, developing new products they know will match their brand identity and please their existing customers.

Once again, cosmetic software offers invaluable help at this stage. It not only gives manufacturers the possibility to keep an exhaustive database of their previous formulas but provides a history of every change ever made to them. Complete with detailed ingredient lists, this computerized solution allows users to apply theoretical modifications to any product all while ensuring compliance.

Creating Prototypes

Once the base formula has been selected, the chemists rely on cosmetic software to develop a different version. The use of raw materials is governed by strict regulations to avoid dangerous thresholds of allergenic ingredients (for instance) ever being reached. The program keeps track of every change made to the formula and warns the technician whenever non-compliance is observed, offering corrective measures. Several options are tested out until a satisfactory version is found.

Cosmetic software also ensures the product’s INCI and PIF are kept updated just as the changes are made so the documents can be edited automatically as soon as the new formula is approved.

Packaging, Labeling, Commercializing

Each one of these steps is strictly regulated and the specifications can vary greatly from one country (or even state) to another. Fortunately, cosmetic software can be used to generate all the documentation required, including labeling information, regardless of where the product is to be distributed. What makes this solution so compelling is the fact that the software is updated in real time, ensuring any change in guidelines can be implemented just as it is enforced. This also provides manufacturers with the means to think ahead and to future-proof their products by applying new standards before they even come into effect.

There is a lot more to cosmetic product development than one might imagine and most of the processes the industry has come to rely on are fully centralized and automatized. This allows research and development teams to dedicate more of their time to dreaming up utterly novel products in a context where innovation is key. Supported by powerful tools, they can focus on creating new shades, new scents, new textures, and even completely revolutionary products to surprise both the market and the consumers.