Formulation –

An art or a science?

Entrepreneurs who wish to enter the cosmetic industry often have great ideas for a cosmetic product. They are the artists who use their creative skill to imagine a product which will satisfy an unfulfilled market need.

However, these artists need a cosmetic formulator/chemist to use scientific methods, observations and experiments to transform their imagination into a practical product suitable for market. Thus, formulation is both an art and a science where the entrepreneur and formulator/chemist come together in a partnership to create new and exciting products.


Steps in Formulation Process

1. Product Idea

A cosmetic product always starts with an idea for a cosmetic product which is borne out of the daily observations of the entrepreneur. It could be a product the entrepreneur sees in the market which can be enhanced or it could be a completely new product idea.

2. Cosmetic Formulator/Chemist contact

The entrepreneur then reaches out to a cosmetic formulator/chemist. The formulator asks the entrepreneur to fill a standard “Product Development Profile” for that imagined product. Writing down into the product development profile helps to crystallize the thoughts into concrete workable ideas. After going through the product development profile, the formulator has a call with the entrepreneur to clarify product ideas and set actionable goals for product development.  

3. Raw Material Research/Order

Once the call is done, the formulator goes to work. The formulator first researches different ingredients/raw materials available in the market for their suitability towards the product. Once the raw materials are shortlisted, the formulator orders them from the raw material suppliers and other online sources. 

4. Lab Experiments

Once all the raw materials are received, the formulator starts formulating the cosmetic product in the lab. The formulator will do various trials and experiments combining ingredients in different quantities and using different procedures. It will take lots of small batches for the formulator to arrive at a product that satisfies all client requirements. 

5. Product Testing

Once the product is formulated, it moves to the testing stage. In this stage, the formulator will keep the product under adverse heat (50 degrees Celsius) and adverse cold (4 degrees Celsius) conditions for a week to ensure the product remains stable in such conditions. During this time, the formulator will also monitor other product characteristics such as color, texture, viscosity and pH. 

6. Client Review/Feedback

Once the product complies with the required testing, a final batch is prepared and the prototype samples are shipped off to the supplier. The supplier reviews the formulated product and provides comments for enhancement. The formulator reformulates again as per above process. 

7. Formula/Process Instruction Release

Once the client is satisfied, the formulator provides the formula and process instructions so that the client can get it manufactured from a contract manufacturer of their choice. The formulator can also help the client to find contract manufacturers based on the client volume requirements. 



Cosmetic formulators/ chemists are specialized industry professionals and finding the right formulator/chemist is the key to developing a great product. You can see Antrim’s expertise and get in touch with us for your formulation needs.