Women spend over $420 billion on cosmetics and beauty products a year. With the amount of money being spent, it’s important to be sure all those products are not only safe for their skin short term, but will not lead to adverse health effects in the future. Which is why stability testing is required on all cosmetic/beauty products before they hit the market and why cosmetic producers are required to have a cosmetic dossier available for all of their products.
So what is stability testing? In laymen’s terms it is simply an experiment where the creator of the formula creates a batch of each formula and puts individual samples of the formula in different environmental conditions for predetermined and specific periods of time. Those conditions will vary in light and temperature levels to mimic what could or will happen to the cosmetic formula during the product’s life cycle.
At each selected time interval the samples are evaluated for multiple chemical, physical and performance characteristics to view how they’ve changed. When or if those changes fall within the minimal range according to quality standards, meaning the formula passes the stability testing. Once it passes the testing it is then approved for sale and shipped to the market place.
Every cosmetic is subject to three forms of stability testing. The microbiological testing that evaluates the degree of possible contamination with yeast, bacteria and mold. The packaging stability testing evaluates the impact of the product packaging on the product contained inside and the chemical and physical testing evaluates the fragrance/odor, color, texture, pH value, etc.
Chemical/physical stability testing predicts how the cosmetic will resist or react to things like varying temperatures (extreme) and light and how the raw materials used react with each other.
Stability testing is also used to ensure that a new or modified cosmetic formula will meet the projected physical, microbiological and chemical standards of quality. In other words, anytime a change is made to a product’s formula or experiences any changes in its manufacturing procedure, it has to go through another round of cosmetic stability testing.
Whenever any new raw materials are used to change things like the fragrance or color in a formula, the formula has to be subjected to a new stability test to make sure the change doesn’t bring about any unacceptable or unexpected changes. Most cosmetic manufacturers will also do new stability test when they acquire a new raw material supplier.
A cosmetic dossier simply put, is a file for a product’s information that contains a required set of contents. The cosmetic dossier contains detailed information about the products technical descriptions. All cosmetic producers must have this dossier available to all government authorities within 48 hours of the dossier being requested.
It includes all the labeling and packaging information, the single ingredients information (the raw materials) which consists of the product additives and relevant contaminant information. Other required information include the product’s safety report, the product’s stability data and all health-related side-effects that could be experienced from using the cosmetic product.