Timings for Cosmetic Product Development

After adding our blog post on Cosmetic Product Development Process, so many people have asked for timings that we have decided to expand on it.

As a reminder, the process we outlined for cosmetic product development is as follows. For more detail on each stage please see our post Cosmetic Product Development Process

  1. Getting Started
  2. Understanding
  3. Materials
  4. Sampling
  5. Packaging and graphics
  6. First stage Approval
  7. Compliance & Costing
  8. Final Preparation
  9. Final Approval
  10. Cosmetic Product Safety Report
  11. Cosmetic Product Notification Portal
  12. Launch

I have matched each point in the process with more detail and suggested possible timings.

Steps 1-3

  • Getting Started …we can offer you a questionnaire that may help you think about your brand in a broader sense and give us more insight into what we need to do for you. The more you are able to do by way of defining what you require from us the quicker we can be at producing your first product samples. So this step is in your hands and shortening the development period means a product ready for you to sell sooner rather than later
  • Understanding …if you can tell us where in the market you wish your products to fit we can give advanced thoughts as to potential material costing.
  • Materials …if there are materials that you wish us to use specifically we may need to establish a supplier and obtain samples before making any product sample for you; there is a time issue here that is dependant on those suppliers

These first three points can take possibly as much as a month or 6 weeks

New fragrances take 3 weeks from briefing for example.  So this is something else to be thought of in advance.

This first stage depends on the complexity of the product and the unusual nature of any of the materials you wish us to use.

Step 4

  • Sampling starts as soon as the brief is clarified and those materials arrive and our chemists have written up the formulation. We aim to produce the first samples within a week. However sometimes, as in cooking,  they do not work the way we wish and a second week of revisions is undertaken.

So far we have used a maximum of 8 weeks and a minimum of 6 or less.

This process however continues until you are entirely happy with the product and love how it performs so this can take a few more tries

Steps 5, 6 & 7

  • Whilst the early development weeks are initially concentrated on the ‘fill’ we can work at the same time on all other elements of the eventual pack, containers, graphics, bar codes, trade mark, cartons, even initial marketing direction.
  • The Eureka moment is the one we are working towards where we have got you a product that you are in love with. At this point all the tests can start. Microbiological Testing takes 5 weeks from our sending the sample and when we have positive release we can embark on 90 days of compatibility testing. (stability we start automatically with the submission of samples)

We have added another 4 minimum or 6 maximum making our running total 12 to 14 weeks

Steps 8 & 9

  • We can now send formulations to whichever factory suits your need for costing based on filling into whatever container you have by now chosen, to be either labeled or screen printed and boxed according to your chosen style.
  • While the tests continue we can work on your marketing copy and any other elements that are still to be agreed

This next addition of another 12 weeks brings our running total up to somewhere around 24 to 26 weeks although these dates are affected if anything slips….any stage may and can take longer but the question is we have to start with a basic time scale with its explanations to be able to give our new starters an idea of what is involved.

Steps 10 & 11

  • With testing complete our Compliance team can release the final INCI ready to go to print.
  • Our Toxicologist can then undertake the full Toxicological review to complete the CPSR.
  • Our Head of Compliance can then either set your Company up on the CPNP  (Cosmetic Product Notification Portal) or add the details to your existing profile….you will to have your art work ready at this stage  so that it can be approved and  you can gain full Compliance       

We have reached the last stage that will add about 2 more weeks (obviously this depends on how quickly you are able to provide us with art work)        

In Summary

Our best case scenario with no hold ups and no delays from either side gives us 28 weeks.

I should warn that new materials often have long lead times  and new raw material suppliers can be slow at quoting prices

We may take several tries at getting exactly what you want and if your brief changes or the goal posts move for whatever reason this can also extend timings.

I cant spell out all the small things that mean this might slip outside the time scales but suffice it to say this is an outline not a hard and fast rule and we will always do everything we can to move the project forward.

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