Article by: Perry Romanowski
When I first started in the cosmetic formulation business, there was no such thing as formulation software. I did my cosmetic formulations using a lined notebook and a calculator. It was tedious and slow, but it certainly made formulas more memorable.
In the later 1990’s Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets became available and I quickly switched over to using this as my preferred formulation creation method. It had the advantage of being quicker, neater, and more accurate. This gave way to the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which was a little easier to integrate with the software package our company was using. I optimized my formulation spreadsheet and you can get a free copy here.
To tell you the truth, this was all I ever needed for doing my formulation work. It works. It’s easy to use, it’s easy to change, it’s easy to read and it’s free. Using a spreadsheet like this has a number of advantages. But there are a number of disadvantages such as…
1. Harder to update
2. Harder to search
3. Difficult to see formulation patterns
4. Harder to integrate with company computer systems
5. Harder to optimize formulas
For these and other reasons, a number of companies have come out with formulation software meant to make life easier for cosmetic chemists. Do they really? I don’t know. Only you can tell by trying the software out. However, to try out the formulation software you have to know which ones there are. So, here is a list of all the cosmetic formulation software packages that I could find. You may want to try them out because a number of them have free trial packages. If you are disappointed with the way you are currently creating and tracking formulas, these might be a good option.
Formulation software solutions for cosmetic chemists
Creativity Formulation Software
This is a popular choice among people who use formulation software products. You have to pay a licensing fee to use it full-time but they do have a fully functional free 30-day trial version. I’m not sure you can learn a lot in 30 days of using it but it may be worth checking out. Whether it’s worth paying the fee is another matter.
Here’s another popular choice. It allows you to do formulation creation, costing, and maintain a database of raw materials. Best of all you can get a free version of the software for a single user. This one is well worth trying out if your test driving formulation software options.
Mar-Kov Recipe Manager
This is a complete formulation and cosmetic production software solution. You can create formulas, do formulation costing, and print out batch sheets. There are even collaboration tools for you to work with other cosmetic formulators. Costs range from $9 to $49 a month. You can also get a free 30-day trial of the software. If you can find more benefit from the software than the $120+ a year it will cost, it might be worth using.
This product is much the same as the others but it also helps you in creating your up-to-date product LOIs which is nice. It was also designed specifically for cosmetic & perfumer formulators rather than being adapted from some other industry. In this way, it might feel more “friendly” than some of the other options. However, the program graphics look like they haven’t been updated in a while so the software may feel dated.
This is a complete product lifecycle management software package so it may be a little more than most cosmetic chemists need. But if you’re looking for that kind of thing for you entire corporation, this one may be worth a try.
This cosmetic formulation software package is packed full of functionality which not only will help you create your formulas but it will also help with project management and regulatory issues. If these are your main concern it’s certainly worth giving this software a chance. It seems a little bloated for the typical cosmetic chemist however.
This software has a database incorporated into it which allows you to look up pricing information from various vendors, IP information, ingredient regulations and more. It’s nice to have all this information in one place but it can also be a bit distracting.
Formulating for Efficiency
This formulation software is different than all the other ones profiled. It was created to help skin care formulators optimize the effectiveness of their formulations. It’s like working with a virtual consultant to help improve your formulas. Originally it was the brainchild of Johann Wiechers who passed away but it has continued to be developed by his partners. You can learn more about the software and how to use it in the Allured course Formula Optimization taught by Dr. Steven Abbott.
So, there you have it. All the cosmetic formulation software options that are worth testing. Like I said, I’ve used spreadsheets almost exclusively because they have met all my needs but I may not be representative of all cosmetic formulators or all cosmetic companies. If you are looking for a new solution and spreadsheets just aren’t working, try one of these.
And if you work for one of these companies and want to talk to us further about the software and benefits to cosmetic chemists, just use our “contact us” button to contact us.