Formulation System in Large Companies

Good day! I just want to ask on how the formulating is done on a big personal care/ cosmetic company. Do they use design of experiment? Or do they have any systemic way of doing the formulation for a new product?

Comments

  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    in my experience they tend to make minor modifications to existing formulas, or adapt formulas from ingredients suppliers, and generally keep the bench work to a bare minimum
    your mileage may vary
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • I assumed that some guy rushes in from stores department and shouts, "Hey guys, all this stuff is about to expire! For the sake of the Marketing God please dream up some miracle formula to get rid of it all."
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • sadly  that method is not taken advantage of at the CM I'm at. Our top priority is usually quick turnaround, in which case making small changes to a preexisting formula is common as Bill said. Even for reverse engineer or fully custom requests where DOE could save a greater amount of time, we can be limited to small sample sizes of raw materials and the time just isn't sufficient to do enough iterations.  And even Belassi's point is great, the worst thing you can do is let materials expire on your shelf, but our organizational structure (or lack of it) lets this happen far too often in my opinion.

    I'd love to know how single brand manufacturers work, I would hope they would take data collection and analysis and use it to actually improve long term. 
  • As a tiny manufacturer, in my opinion our biggest problem is that we lack the funds to do market research. Too often I develop what I think is going to be a popular product, but it turns out not to be; and sometimes, a product developed just as a fun project turns out to be the unexpected best seller.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited February 12
    in the UK at least, perhaps it's for the best that bench work is kept to a minimum
    there were at least two infamous examples of ham-fisted formulation from my previous employment in a contract manufacturer, in which the manufacture and filling of some major then-new Alberto Culver hot-fill styling products was subcontracted to us, because the sheer size of their reaction vessels combined with their R&D department's lack of attention to detail made it impossible to produce those products on their own site
    there were 12 people employed in that R&D department, none of them could figure out why their formulas went tits-up in production, and blamed their production and manufacturing departments for their failure; given that the two chemists on our site figured out the reasons within hours (one had a fundamentally unstable emulsion that separated under filling conditions, the other contained a resin that became insoluble 10 degrees below the product's filling temperature, making it gritty), it's little wonder the former were eventually made redundant
    as far as I could tell, most of them were well-spoken and politically OK, but as much use as a glass hammer when it came to anything practical - yet another triumph of British university education!
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Thank you!
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I agree. Big companies take existing formulas and tweak them a bit to fit whatever new marketing story they want to tell.  DOE is not really helpful for that. Also, there aren't very accurate tests for evaluating consumer perception of the performance of a product so DOE becomes less useful.
  • In large companies, they have a benchmark of performance against competitors before launching. In creams or in lotion, what parameters are compared against the benchmark and how is it evaluated?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @nielrobertlim - that depends on the product but for creams and lotions, maybe moisturizing (corneometer study) or a subjective panel test for feel & rub-in.  It's not really an exact science.

  • thanks!
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