An explanation of cosmetic testing

Everyone who wants to make and sell cosmetics in the EU must comply with the regulation, which mandates testing for both large and small producers as well as independent companies.

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Before a product is made commercially accessible, it must be registered on the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP). In order to register, a product must, at the very least, have a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR).

Still, a lot of manufacturers will want to include more testing. This might involve efficacy and quality control testing.


For good reason, the cosmetics sector is heavily controlled. Since cosmetics are frequently applied in close proximity to the skin, they must be made of non-toxic, contaminant-free materials.

Although it’s uncommon, contamination can occur from a number of different sources. Accidental contamination or purposeful usage of materials not authorized for use in cosmetics are two possible causes. In any case, worries related to makeup garner a lot of attention and ultimately hurt businesses. Recalls of products can be expensive and seriously harm a company’s reputation.

Even when a cosmetic product “scare” turns out to be a false alarm, the harm is already done, and a brand’s reputation could be hard to repair.

Cosmetics manufacturers also need to think about how their goods will be used by customers (we’ve all seen that one individual who has been wearing the same lipstick for 10 years!) and how long a customer is likely to use a product.

Most cosmetics eventually start to decay or lose their potency. As a result, the majority of items include a small mark that indicates how long after opening a product it should be stored. The visual sign that indicates the usable life of a cosmetic product after the packaging has been opened for the first time is called the period-after-opening symbol, or PAO symbol. It is used to represent months together with a number and displays an open cosmetics pot.


The three primary domains of cosmetic product testing are stability, effectiveness, and safety.

Safety is the first and most crucial factor in cosmetic testing. Since cosmetics, like lotions and makeup, are applied directly to the skin, it is crucial that they don’t include any ingredients that might harm the skin or have negative health effects.

Testing for microbiological contaminants is done to make sure the product is clear of dangerous germs. Its origin may be tainted raw materials or unintentional contamination during the production process. Batch testing is typically used to do this, verifying a range of items prior to release. It’s frequently called sterility checks or quality control. This testing calls for counting aerobic mesophilic bacteria, yeasts, and molds as well as determining the absence of certain organisms in cosmetics and personal hygiene items.

Preservative Efficacy Testing is done in addition to the QC test to ascertain whether a product’s preservative system is operating well. Products are put through this test when they are still in the development phase.

To back up marketing claims, a product’s or performance’s effectiveness is evaluated. In essence, does a thing fulfill its intended purpose? A manufacturer cannot make a claim about a product’s ability to perform something without providing effectiveness data, since there are rules and regulations around such claims.

Ultimately, stability testing is done to find out how long a product will last on the market once it is introduced. It also establishes if a product need protection from environmental factors, such as daylight.

Many manufacturers choose to evaluate an increased temperature as low as 45°C (as opposed to 20°C in the dark control). Additional criteria can be added according on the needs or the kind of product, such as freeze/thaw, 5°C, 32°C, and ambient lighting. Tests conducted at 45°C, often known as “accelerated shelf life,” give insight into how well a product would hold up over an extended length of time at very high temperatures. A regulated method of simulating the bitterly cold nighttime temperatures that are sometimes encountered when goods are sent by air or sea or kept in an unheated warehouse is called freeze-thaw cycling.