In the past decade, we have seen the beauty and personal care industry growing at a rapid pace.
With lowered barriers to entry, anyone can easily start their own beauty brand. While this has given us some exciting and disruptive brands and products, there are concerns about product safety.
Cosmetic chemist Rita Sellars has seen numerous products on market that have not undergone basic stability testing. She advocates beauty brands big or small should take product safety more seriously for the sake of consumer health and the industry’s reputation.
“If you want consumers to invest in your brand, you have to invest in your brand,” said Sellars, who is the director and chief chemist of pH Factor, a cosmetic laboratory based in Australia.
Before any cream, lotion or cleanser hits the market, testing it for safety, quality, and efficacy is crucial to ensure the product does not harm users and protects brands from any potential legal troubles down the line.
However, a lot of these important tests that brands should be conducting are often not mandatory.
“There needs to be some type of testing requirement. The unfortunate thing is we don't actually have any mandatory tests to ensure that the product is safe for consumer use to prove that the product is safe for consumer use,” Sellars said on the Beauty Broadcast.
She highlighted that when developing a brand or product brands should look at three crucial criteria before putting their product out the market – safety, quality, and efficacy.
“Safety refers to the prevention or an unintentional contamination or spoilage of your final product. The next is quality to ensure the cosmetic incorporates a level of quality that prevents harm to the user. Finally, the efficacy, the ability to produce a desired product for its intended use. Simply, what are you claiming?
“In Australia, and it would be the same in Asia Pacific and New Zealand, it’s the responsibility of the manufacturer, or if the brands making it themselves, it's their responsibility to satisfy those criteria. They need to make sure that their product is safe and demonstrate that all these criteria have been met.”
She highlighted that it was not difficult or expensive for brands to perform the minimum testing requirements to mitigate the risk of harming the user.
“Although preservative testing is not mandatory in Australia or APAC, it is a must-have test that every beauty brand must do. But a lot of people don't understand that preservative testing is really important.
“You can get preservative efficacy testing at less than $1,000 a product. Investing in these types of testing for the safety, quality and efficacy of your product is not a big ask if you're really serious about launching your product properly.”
On the other hand, she noted that smaller manufacturers do not necessarily need a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate. She suggested they simply create their own following a general GMP system that is easily found online.
“If you're making the product yourself, just ensure that you are you're in a facility that's clean and hygienic. Make sure that you have some type of quality management system, a dedicated space to make your products, make sure there's no pets around, make sure you're sanitising everything and make sure you're recording everything down.”
To learn more about Rita’s views and advice about product testing, check out the video above.