Article by: Perry Romanowski

If you want to be a cosmetic chemist and make cosmetic products, there is certain essential equipment that you’ll need to get.

Here is a list of the basic equipment for setting up a cosmetic lab. lab-mixer

Basic cosmetic Lab equipment

1. Weighing equipment. To make proper measurements of the raw materials, you’ll need a good balance. Be sure to get one that can measure up to at least 500g.

Other weighing equipment that helps includes disposable pipettes (for measuring liquids) and weigh boats (for measuring solids).

2. Containers. The most common container you’ll use to make a cosmetic formula is a beaker. You’ll need a variety of sizes because you’ll be making different sized batches. Be sure to have a number of 500mL, 800mL, 1000mL, 1500ml and 2000mL beakers. You really want 400g to be the minimum size batch you make.

3. Mixers. In college, you most frequently used a magnetic stirrer to mix your creations. These are rarely used in a cosmetic lab. For mixing, you’ll want an industrial type mixer, something like the Lightnin mixer. It is like a single blade hand mixer with a variable speed control. Quite handy.

4. Controlling Temperature. Most cosmetic formulas require heating and cooling so a good hot plate is a must.

Sometimes you can air cool batches but for things like emulsions, you’ll want to have a water bath for cooling it down quickly. This could simply be a tub you fill with cold water and ice.

5. Testing equipment. After you’ve finished a cosmetic formulation, you’ll need to test it to ensure that it meets specifications. For this, you’ll want to have a pH meter and a viscometer (for measuring rheology).

Of course no cosmetic lab would be complete without a good stock of cosmetic raw materials. Which of these you have will depend on the type of formulas you make. Everyone will want to have a supply of deionized water. Most will also want to have a stock of common preservatives, acids, bases, and dye solutions.

Fortunately, if you work for a company they’ll have this stuff for you. They’ll also have more specific equipment for the types of formulas you’ll mostly be working on. However, if you are setting up your own lab or helping your company get into the field of cosmetic science, be sure to stock your lab with the proper equipment.

What equipment do you use for cosmetic formulations? Leave your comment below.


  1. Ellie Davis

    Thank you for pointing out that the most common container you’ll see to mix solutions is a beaker. Laboratories seem to always need the newest and best equipment. Hopefully, they look to find the right machine and the best company to get it from.

  2. Kylie Mo.

    My name is Kylie and i was really thinking of starting my own cosmetics factory, i really need to know what machines i MUST have in there.

      1. MMO


    1. Tariq Mahmood

      Please contact me if you need advisory services ; +923332322200 Dr. Tariq

  3. timothy

    looking. for experienced cosmetic chemist to hire. please help contacts

  4. Angie B.

    Hi Perry, I’m looking to add another mixer to my lab and the one you have pictures looks do-able. Any pointers as to what the make and model and who I can purchase this from? Thanks again for all the great info!


  5. Yemisratch

    Hi perry, the post didn’t mention anything about the air needing to be filtered. It may not be an equipment per se, but even for home set ups, don’t we need to filter the air in order to minimize contamination?

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Hello – I’m not sure what air you are talking about. If you are working in a dusty environment then you should use an air filter. But the vast majority of spaces that I’m referring to will have clean air already.

    2. Tewodros mela

      Nice to meet you here ,that would be managed using preservatives/biocides, and hence no need to filter the air which is costly and not convenient for most of us

  6. Geraldine

    Thanks for the knowledge u have imparted to me

  7. Maxine

    Please can you tell me where I can buy tube crimping equipment
    also can you recommend where to buy the lightening stirrer please

  8. sunasara mahendihasan

    dear sir,
    in our cosmetic industry we use instrument like balace weight,viscometer,ph meter,refrectometer,sttirer for mixxing,identify the b.p & m.p for sample instrument and in microbiology lab we use oven for heating , remove antibactarial instrument….so i request to u give me name of other instrumement use in cosmetic industry ,because i am fresher and now days i join industry for training and also give me website and other material for my knowledge about sop design , gcp ,gmp ,formulation ,document control ,stability of product and package compabilty testing ,FDA ,QSR AND ENTIRE life cycle of product and process improvement techniques……..sir i m waiting for ur reply …….because in future i will make successful and knowledgeble chemist

    1. Perry Romanowski

      It sounds like you have all the proper equipment.

  9. Bernardo

    Great post with very useful information. We are in the process of setting up a Cosmetic Lab with quality Equipment for our Fast growing cosmetic and essential oil company. We really need help with this and are certainly willing to pay for a consultant or advisor on this, any information or contacts would be extremely helpful to us.

  10. Gisselle

    Hi is the equipment necessary for cosmetic lab same for ecocert natural cosmetic line?

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Yes, pretty much.

  11. kems

    Please can u list out the materials i need for production of Aerosols and cosmetics

    1. Perry Romanowski

      For cosmetics we’ve listed it in the post above. Aersols require specialized filling equipment which isn’t readily available to small labs.

  12. Daniela Lima


    I would like to know where I can find the lab mixer to buy on the second hand.


    1. Perry Romanowski

      Ebay is usually a good source. Check through our forum as someone has asked this question before.

  13. Mildred

    Im dealing in sales and distribution of laboratory testing equipment if you need anything please cobtact me.

    1. Pat

      How do I contact you?

    2. jess

      We ned a ph tester and viscosity tester couldyou please advise where we could get one.

      1. Perry Romanowski

        You can get one on

    3. Lovell Odili Agwaramgbo

      How can I get your catalog of equipment? I need a list with prices for my proposal with October 15 due date. Can you help (basic testing instruments (moisture content, color, oil, content, thermal stability test, viscosity test, etc. suggest more basic, pH (pH meter)

    4. Bobbie Grammer

      How can you be contacted

  14. Melanie B.

    our hair product test salon is looking for an [acrylic] “divider” to section off a 1/2 live head for hair spray testing.
    could you help me as to where this piece of equipment may be available?
    Thanks in advance!

  15. Pingback:Making Cosmetics the scientific way

  16. Nayana

    very informative post.we are trying to set up lab in mumbai (India) or we can outsourcing a lab .question is which will be preferable & economic

    1. Perry

      If you have enough volume of work, setting up your own lab would cost you less. However, in the beginning outsourcing your lab will be more economical. I would suggest starting with that.

      1. nayana

        thank you

  17. yazan

    Hi Perry,
    thank you for this greating information .
    I am doing my internship in cosmetic production in germany now .
    and I will do my graduation project in the same industry after 2 months , but actually I am looking for a topics that i will starting to do my graduation project .
    could you please help me and give me some suggestions topics in this field ….

    Best Regards,
    Yazan Al-Massri

    1. Bob

      Please post this question in the forum.

  18. Mohamed Bhyat

    Dear Perry,
    We are setting up an aerosol and chemical Manufacturing plant in South Africa, Pretoria, and would your advise on how toset up a full scale labe, that will be used for both industrial and cosmetic chemicals,

    1. Timothy

      Hi Mohamed

      I am also doing the same thing as you are maybe we can meet and share ideas. I am also in Pretoria and my contact is 0715543236.

    2. Bob


      You could try asking this question on the forum, but questions like these, where someone is asking for a detailed answer that, under most conditions, would require the services of a paid consultant, are only rarely, if ever, answered at a level that would help you avoid having to pay a consultant.

  19. Timothy Rukuni

    hi Perry

    I am starting a skin care manufacturing business and I am on the verge of setting up a plant. can you advice me on the production equipment required and reliable suppliers of the full plant. Can you also advice on required laboratory tests.

    1. Bob


      You could try asking this question on the forum, but questions like these, where someone is asking for a detailed answer that, under most conditions, would require the services of a paid consultant, are only rarely, if ever, answered at a level that would help you avoid having to pay a consultant.

  20. Angus

    If you are looking for cheaper alternatives to Brookfield viscometers, then you can try the chinese trade site alibaba.
    It has numerous producers of Viscometers.

    Perry is correct, Brookfield is the mark of quality, but as ever, this is usually associated with a high price. ($5000-$10000).
    This is outside the range of most home grown cosmetic startups. That money can be better spent elsewhere.
    Chinese suppliers will quote approx $1000-$2000 for a viscometer with a good specification. (import taxes and shipping on top of this). If you are only producing a small number of products and limited testing, you can also get this completed at an external lab with Brookfield equipment.

    everything is relative, if you work for a mid to large enterprise, high grade equipment is essential. On the other hand , a mom and pop small business will require a lot more flexibility.

    On hot plates, one way to remove some of the need for this is using cold processing emulsifiers. There are several on the market now that provide good results. (many formula using standard emulsifiers need to be heated to 60-80C to allow full emulsification – you then don’t need to worry so much about cooling)

    Likewise with Mixers, you can easily pay over $1000 for an industrial one, but you have other options. I use a bamix mixer from the food industry. German engineering, high quality, excellent motor and under $200.

    pH meter absolute essential, but lower costs than above, but again the same principles of cost versus quality.

    hope this helps.

  21. Pranil

    Dear Perry,
    which simple & easy method to measure viscosity for cream, lotion & styling gel.
    Brookfield viscometer is very costly,can you suggest on this.


    1. Perry

      @Pranil – The Brookfield viscometer is the best. I’m not familiar with any other less expensive, effective option.

      1. Alex Byarugaba

        Use a flow cup you can then convert the flow cup results in seconds to Brookfield or other viscosity unit for comparison. Flow cup cost less than $10 depending on the number of the cup.

  22. Ingrid

    Hi Perry, will there be any changes in the formulation if we are going to do a scale up from lab scale to factory or manufacturing scale? Anything that we should take note of during the formulation before we send it for scaling up?

    1. Perry

      Yes, there will be changes needed (depending on the formula of course). You should do a knockout experiment before you send it to scale up

      1. Emily

        Regarding scaling up and the concept of a knockout experiment, it would be greatly appreciated if we could expand on this idea. I had a formula perfected and duplicated perfectly on smaller scales – then scaling up to large batches it did not come out. I realize there are a variety of factors that could be at play. Is there any place that you have discussed this issue further or any suggested reading? Thanks!

        1. Perry

          Hello Emily. No this is not something we have previously discussed but it’s an excellent question. To get the most input, I would suggest you post the question in the cosmetic science forum.

        2. Bimsmide

          Timely information.

  23. Perry

    @Elaine – That is the intent. The focus is not going to be on starting your own lab but ideally you’ll learn enough in the class to be able to.

  24. Eliane Treadwell

    This is great information! In your online class will you be shedding more information on this and information about how to start a lab?

  25. Jill Jones

    Very informative post, Perry. Thanks! Still working on the cooling equipment here, but for now the ice bath works well enough. Do you have a suggestion as to which of the Lightnin mixers would be best for batches of 5 – 10 gallons?

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