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Overview of Cosmetic Sample Testing

Personal care is an indispensable part of everyone's routine, where cosmetic product plays a huge role. From basic hygiene to aesthetic enhancement or cosmeceuticals, cosmetics cater to everyone's healthcare needs. To meet the basic need of the people of our country, many cosmetics are manufactured as well as imported into India. And all manufactured and imported cosmetics undergo quality assurance and quality control checks before reaching the customers.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Indian Government ensures the safety and efficacy of all cosmetic products and also analyse if the products comply with the set standards. And thus, it is essentially mandatory to conduct cosmetic sample testing for every manufacturer or importer before applying for the registration of their cosmetic products. 

Cosmetic sample testing is performed as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) requirements and other criteria for imported cosmetic product registration. Moreover, such products must meet the requirements of the manufacturer, buyer and consumers. The quantity of samples of cosmetic products is enough for undergoing all cosmetic testing procedures. However, it must include the amount needed for repetition and retention. So, the final quantity is determined based on the overall tests that have been performed on the cosmetic sample product. 

Benefits of Cosmetic Sample Testing 

Following are the benefits of Cosmetic sample testing:

  • Protection of brand and reputation 
  • Validation of product quality, safety and characteristics 
  • Global Marketing
  • Customer satisfaction and trust.

Other benefits for the human body that comes after proper cosmetic sample testing are as follows:

  • Anti-ageing
  • anti-wrinkle
  • rejuvenating 
  • firming 
  • lifting 
  • smoothing 
  • moisturising, hydration 
  • skin brightening 
  • pigmentation evaluation 
  • skin lightening 
  • ski whitening 
  • dark spots decrease 
  • pore size reduction 
  • sebum regulating 
  • mattifying effect 
  • cellulite reduction 
  • anti-stretch marks 
  • redness reduction 
  • skin sensitivity evaluation
  • skin barrier improving 
  • soothing 
  • anti-irritating 
  • repairing effect 
  • cleansing 
  • anti-puffiness 
  • anti-dark circles
  • hair density increase 
  • volumising effect 
  • hair thickness increase 
  • anti-dandruff 
  • hair growth 
  • anti-hair loss 
  • hair removal evaluation 
  • split ends repairing 
  • eyelash lengthening/columnist/curling/growth-stimulating
  • teeth whitening 
  • sun protection factor determination (SPF) 
  • UVA protection 
  • Water resistance of sun protection products 
  • Self-tanning products 

Various Tests under Cosmetic Sample Testing

The followings are various tests that are conducted while ensuring that cosmetic products are safe for use:

Microbiological Test 

Cosmetic manufacturers must check that their cosmetic products are free from the growth of microorganisms. The sample of the cosmetic product is also passed through a Preservative Effectiveness Test to check the presence of bacteria, yeast and fungi. 

Stability and Toxicology Testing 

Most cosmetic sample testing labs in India test such products for their stability to gauge whether, during their shelf-life and while being in use, the product maintains its function, physical, chemical and microbiological aspects or not. 

Cosmetics toxicology tests are performed to check whether any substance of the product or its mixture is harmful to the skin or its potential uses. Its impact is tested majorly for the eye and skin of the customer. 

Performance Testing 

Cosmetic product sample testing involves testing the products with respect to their functionality, performance, usability and durability. 

Requirements Section

Requirements for Cosmetic Sample Testing 

Following are the essential requirements for conducting Cosmetic Sample Testing:

  • safety data 
  • aerobic plate count 
  • Yeast and mould count 
  • Pathogens test 
  • Various physical as well as chemical specifications of the product, including the pH, viscosity and density 
  • Organoleptic properties of the product 
  • Microbiological specifications like candida Albicans, pseudomonas aeruginosa, staphylococcus aureus, mold and yeast
  • Custom testing
  • Preservative challenge testing 
  • Stability and shelf-life testing 
  • Non-animal safety or toxicity testing 
  • Any other mandatory requirement

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Procedure of Cosmetic Sample Testing

Following is the complete process for cosmetic sample testing:

  • Determining the products containing harmful substances and checking the applicability of the appropriate quality Standard's scope of such a cosmetic product. 
  • Determining the harmonised set Standard.
  • Preparation of various tests of the cosmetic sample product. Documents are arranged for the critical components.  
  • Identification of the risks based on the essential performance in both normal as well as faulty states. Simplification of the risks identified and tested for safety in the Lab as per the quality standards.
  • The cosmetic sample selected for the testing must be the final product and meet the Standard's requirements. A test plan is prepared by the authorised Lab, and all tests must be part of the plan as per the standards. 
  • Reviewing the product properly. Checking all requirements within the standards. 
  • As per the requirements specific to the products, the test reports are reviewed for the applicability of each clause of the standards.

Checking the regulatory status of the recognised testing laboratory. After that, test reports are prepared. 

Frequently Asked Questions

All manufacturer or importer of cosmetic products must test their products to ensure that they include or do not include the following components:
  • Emulsifier 
  • Preservatives 
  • Formaldehyde 
  • Synthetic fragrances 
  • Contaminants or impurities 

Cosmetics are articles intended to be applied by the human on their human body for beautifying, cleansing, promoting attractiveness and altering the appearance without any effect on the body's structure or functions. Ingredients used in cosmetics are also falling under the meaning of cosmetics.

In sensory testing, products are described using the human senses. The properties like odour, appearance, consistency and skin feel are described. In the case of such cosmetic products, phase separations can occur in emulsions, precipitates or sediments, which are revealed during the sensory testing. Changes to the packaging material due to heat, storage, etc., are also possible under this.

The global market is full of vegan and organic cosmetic products that are gaining rapid popularity among customers. They aim to avoid pesticide residues in cosmetic products.

The APC, Aerobic plate count, determines the total number of aerobic bacteria per ml or gram of personal care or cosmetic product.

The yeast and mold count determines the total number of yeast and fungus per ml or gram of the cosmetic product.

The Preservative Effectiveness Test (PET) evaluates the effectiveness of an antimicrobial preservative in a cosmetic product. It is also called the Challenge test. It is carried out in a way that the cosmetic product is challenged with known strains of microorganisms.

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