Quality control of cosmetic products

Quality control in the cosmetics industry is a vital process that aims to ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness of these hygiene and beauty products. This step in production must meet the strict standards and regulations in place.

What is quality control of cosmetic products ?

Quality control of cosmetic products encompasses all procedures designed to guarantee the quality, safety and effectiveness of products used for hygiene and beauty. This stage of cosmetics production must adhere scrupulously to current standards and regulations.

This process usually takes place in a specialized laboratory, which is responsible for conducting thorough tests on raw materials, end products, packaging and labels. These analyses verify the composition, stability, tolerance, safety and effectiveness of cosmetics, while ensuring compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). These represent a set of guidelines to maintain hygiene and traceability of products.

For a cosmetic product to be marketed, quality control of the products is imperative and can be carried out by the manufacturer, the marketing manager or a certified third party organization.

This entire quality control process must be documented in a detailed technical file, including all relevant data on the product, from its design to its validation and suitability to standards.

In short, the quality control of cosmetic products represents a comprehensive and meticulous approach, aimed at ensuring reliable and effective products for the satisfaction and safety of consumers.

Why is it important to control the quality of cosmetic products ?

Quality control plays an important role in the cosmetics sector for various reasons. First, it ensures compliance with regulatory standards that govern markets globally.

In addition, cosmetic products must adhere to the quality and safety criteria established, for example, by ISO 22716. This standard specifies the guidelines for the manufacture of cosmetic products. The existence of a detailed technical file is imperative for each product, listing all the data concerning its production, evaluation, and compliance with the regulations in place.

Quality control also makes it possible to check the safety and conformity of ingredients used in cosmetics. This involves ensuring that raw materials, end products, packaging and labels are free of hazardous substances or microorganisms that can affect the health of users. This process involves various tests and analyses, such as those of pH, viscosity, density, stability, tolerance, efficacy and composition.

In addition, by guaranteeing quality and safety, quality control strengthens consumer confidence in the products purchased. Buyers, increasingly concerned about these aspects, tend to favor products that meet their requirements. Thus, ensuring compliance with quality and safety standards is essential to meet the promises made to consumers.

Who is quality control for cosmetic products ?

Quality control of cosmetic products is essential for all participants in the cosmetics industry, including manufacturers, distributors, subcontractors, and exporters. This approach concerns a variety of cosmetic products, which they present in solid, liquid, pasty, aerosol form, either as medical devices or biocides.

Compliance with quality and safety standards through quality control is a regulatory duty for players putting cosmetic products on the market. They must not only ensure the conformity of their products, but also maintain a comprehensive technical file. In addition, they are required to report their activity and products on the European CPNP portal and to report any serious adverse effects resulting from the use of their products.

In addition to these obligations, quality control offers a significant competitive advantage. It plays a necessary role in strengthening the brand and thus distinguishes itself from the competition. Ensuring the quality and safety of cosmetic products reinforces the satisfaction and loyalty of customers, who are increasingly vigilant and well informed on these aspects. In addition, quality control promotes the export of cosmetic products to new markets by obtaining certifications of conformity with Good Manufacturing Practices.

Which bodies offer quality control of cosmetic products ?

The quality control of cosmetic products encompasses a plurality of actors, adapting to the type of product, the market destination and the claimed degree of quality. The structures involved fall into three main categories : public bodies, private bodies, and certification bodies.

Public bodies

Public bodies include national authorities responsible for monitoring the compliance of cosmetic products and establishments in their territory. In France, this role is mainly played by the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) and the Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé (ANSM).

Their role extends to the verification of the conformity of cosmetics with the standards and regulations in force, and the application of sanctions in case of non-compliance. Their authority gives them the right to carry out checks, investigations, levies and to seize and withdraw non-compliant products from the market.

Private bodies

Private bodies, consisting of independent laboratories, provide quality control services at the request of industry players. These service providers perform various analyses on raw materials, finished products, packaging and labelling. Their accreditation must be validated by the French Accreditation Committee (COFRAC) or an equivalent body within the EU.

They are also required to comply with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), which is an international guarantee of the quality and reliability of test results. These entities include Qualit'EnR or Ecocert Environnement.

Certification bodies

Certification bodies, on the other hand, grant certificates attesting to compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) on request of companies. These GMPs, framed by the ISO 22716 standard, establish the protocols to be followed to guarantee hygiene and traceability of cosmetic products.

Their accreditation must be recognised by COFRAC or a similar body in an EU member country. They must also adhere to ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO/IEC 17065, which detail the audit and certification criteria for quality management systems. These organizations, which can be both private and public, help strengthen the brand image of producers and facilitate the export of products internationally.

What are the different stages of quality control of cosmetic products ?

Quality control of cosmetic products is a complete process that extends from the receipt of raw materials to the distribution of finished products. The process includes the following steps :

Raw materials control

The objective of this phase is to ensure the quality and conformity of the raw materials, verifying their origin, purity, composition, stability, safety and traceability. All raw materials must meet the standards set by the manufacturer and current regulations. Non-compliant items are either refused or placed in quarantine.

In-process monitoring

During this stage, the monitoring focuses on the smooth running of the production, controlling the physico-chemical aspects such as pH, viscosity, density, color, and smell. It also implies the respect of Good Manufacturing Practices, essential to guarantee the safety and hygiene of products and personnel. Anomalies are either corrected or reported.

End-product testing

This step aims to confirm the quality and conformity of the finished products before they are launched on the market. It includes verification of the composition, stability, tolerance, efficacy, packaging and labelling of products. Products that do not meet manufacturer specifications and regulations are rejected or quarantined.

Control of distributed products

This last step ensures the follow-up of cosmetic products after their marketing. It includes monitoring the conservation, transportation, stock management, and use of products. This also includes managing consumer complaints, suggestions and reports. Defective or expired products are then withdrawn from the market or recalled.

How much does a quality control of cosmetics cost ?

The cost of a quality control for cosmetic products varies according to several criteria, including the type of product, the amount of testing and analysis required, the entity performing the control, and the target market. A fixed price is therefore not applicable, but a cost estimate can be defined according to these variables.

The nature of the cosmetic product plays a significant role in the cost of quality control. Regulatory requirements differ and therefore affect the number of tests required. For example, a solid product like a soap will require less testing than a liquid product like a shampoo, which must be evaluated for its stability, viscosity, pH, among other aspects. Similarly, a classic product such as a lipstick will be less expensive to test than an innovative product or medical device, which requires a thorough check of its effectiveness and safety.

The volume of tests and analyses to be performed is also a determining factor for the cost. The more tests, the more costly the process, taking into account the time and resources required. This number will vary depending on the product and the specific requirements of the target market, as standards and regulations differ from country to country.

Choosing the entity that will perform the quality control is also crucial. Three main options exist : public bodies, responsible for control at national level without charge but with possible sanctions in case of non-compliance; private laboratories, offering control services at varying costs according to their reputation; and certification bodies, issuing certificates of conformity with Good Manufacturing Practices, also at rates varying according to the type and volume of certificates required.

In summary, the cost of quality control for cosmetic products depends greatly on the type of product, the number of tests, the choice of control body, and the market. Although it is complex to set a precise amount without considering these elements, estimates suggest that the average cost varies between 500 and 5000 euros per product, based on a study by AnyBrand Cosmetic and taking into account the factors mentioned.

How long does it take to get quality control of cosmetic products ?

The time required for a quality control of cosmetic products is influenced by many factors, including the type of product, the volume of tests and analyses required, the body in charge of the control, as well as the target market. Although there is no standard duration, an estimate can still be made on the basis of these elements.

The type of product is decisive in this period, in particular because of the regulatory specificities. For example, a solid cosmetic product such as a soap will be quicker to control than a liquid product such as a shampoo, because of the stability, viscosity and pH analyses necessary for the latter.

Innovative products, such as medical devices, also require longer inspection times due to additional effectiveness and safety checks, compared to traditional products like lipsticks.

The number of tests and analyses also plays a critical role, increasing the duration of the control according to their quantity. This requirement depends on the type of product and the intended market, as regulatory standards may vary significantly from region to region.

The selection of the control body is another determining factor. There are three main types of bodies : public bodies, which check the conformity of products without a fixed period, private bodies, offering quality control services on a contractual basis and certification bodies, that issue certificates of conformity according to specific criteria. The deadline therefore varies according to the nature of the chosen organization and the level of certification required.

In summary, the time to complete a quality control on cosmetic products depends on a complex combination of factors. It is difficult to assign an exact duration, but evaluations suggest a range of 15 days to 6 months, depending on the product, the number of tests, the control body and the target market.

According to an AnyBrand Cosmetic study, the average time for quality control varies between 15 days and 6 months, depending on these different factors.

Renewal of quality control of cosmetic products : Is it necessary ?

The quality control of cosmetic products represents a continuous commitment, essential to adapt to constant changes in formulation, manufacturing, packaging, labelling and regulations. It is not just a one-time procedure, but a cycle of regular audits to maintain the quality, safety and effectiveness of products at every stage of their life.

Several factors determine the need for and frequency of this quality control, including the type of product, the target market and the entity responsible for the control. There is no single frequency applicable to all cosmetic products; it varies according to the specificities associated with each of these factors.

The type of product plays a crucial role in the renewal of quality control. Solid products such as soaps may require fewer checks than liquid products such as shampoos, which require stability, viscosity and pH tests. Similarly, conventional products, such as lipstick, require fewer renewals than innovations such as cosmetic medical devices, which must be carefully controlled for their effectiveness and safety.

Similarly, the target market influences the frequency of quality control, defining the specific standards and regulations to be met. To sell in Europe, for example, it is imperative to comply with Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009, requiring a particular set of tests and analyses. This regulation also highlights the importance of keeping the technical record of the product up to date and reporting any serious adverse reactions.

The choice of the quality control body is also decisive. Whether public bodies, private entities or certification bodies, each offers different modalities in terms of renewal frequency, varying according to the level of confidence and recognition desired.

The renewal of the quality control of cosmetic products depends on various elements such as the type of product, the target market and the control body. Although it is complex to establish a single standard, a study by AnyBrand Cosmetic suggests a renewal frequency varying between 6 months and 3 years, depending on these criteria.