Cost Effective Testing Lab in UK

braveheartbraveheart Member
edited January 2015 in Starting a cosmetic line
Would anyone be kind to suggest a cost effective testing lab in the UK?
All the ones I've seen are seemingly expensive.

Or what price should I be thinking is reasonable?
Thanks in advance.


  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    what kind of testing do you want?
    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
  • Microbiological testing & stability testing.
    Then get a toxicological report.
    I think that is all I need to get my product ready for sale.
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    edited January 2015
    braveheart, you could try tel 01243 783487
    Jane Barber (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members):
  • I think the most cost effective is buying tools to operate ur tests if u want do it regulary.
  • @MakingSkincare, thanks.

    @nasrins, I agree, but what would I need to make this mini lab, pls?
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited January 2015
    if you want challenge tests or TVCs, MelBec Microbiology, based in Lancashire ( charge reasonable rates and have a prompt turnaround time

    for safety assessments, Edmund Fowles at has the relevant expertise, and takes a common sense approach (many of the big-name companies can be very anal and pedantic)

    @nasrins, @braveheart, a micro lab is a huge investment to make, particularly for a small company; not only is the equipment incredibly expensive, but you also need to be able to isolate it totally from the rest of the site, and recruit qualified staff to run it

    I work for a small manufacturer based in a pre-WW2 industrial unit with 22 permanent staff, and we send all our TVC and challenge samples to external labs, simply because the time, effort and money required to run an adequately functional micro lab on site would would far exceed the cost of sending the samples to to be processed by a dedicated ISO 17025 accredited laboratory
    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
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited January 2015

    There are some things you can do on your own with a new formulation to have a good idea of stability & preservative efficacy before you send samples out the the lab for testing.

    (1) Freeze/Thaw & Stability Testing:  For this you will need a small incubator or oven that heats up to a steady 113F (45C), a freezer set to -4C, a viscometer and a pH meter.  The testing protocols are well established and you can readily find them on the internet.  Simply follow the testing protocols.

    (2)  Micobiology Testing:  You can purchase from Schulke & Mayr Mikrocount Combi Agar Dip Slides.  Very easy to use.  Test your sample upon completion of the batch and again after 14 and 28 days of storage in the packaging that the product will be sold in.  Hold the sample at room termperature.  I also use the product in the packaging, as a consumer would, for 28 days, and micro test that sample at the beginning, midpoint and end of the 28 day period.

    If you get a "pass" after the above in-house testing, you can be pretty comfortable that your product will pass on a Preservative Challenge Test at the lab.

    It is a very inexpensive approach.  Does not eliminate the need to send samples out to the lab, but at $300 to $500 per for Preservative Challenge Testing, could save you money in the long run.  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student

    Bang on money, I am using the S&M dip slides and I am pretty much satisfied. Especially it gives me enough confidence to despatch sample to Intertek/SGS when I have a requirement of third party certification for certain exports. 
  •  for stability tests: oven(really important part)/refrigerator/  pHmeter(even u can use litmus paper if u really want to save money)/ brookfield viscometer( I think it isnt necessary except in special condition)/
  • @Bill_Toge..... Thanks, I will also check them out.

    @MarkBroussard.... Wow! Fantastic, I guess using those slides will definitely save me a lot of money!

    @nasrins..... thanks for the tips, will use them, too!
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited January 2015
    @nasrins I wouldn't use Litmus papers. A calibrated STABILITY Incubator is needed and you do need to do viscosities. These are all required if you want to do  credible stability test.

    The pH meter has the sensitivity to identify small creeps in pH and the accuracy is at the level one would need for a validated test.

    Changes in viscosity are CRUCIAL in identifying stability issues in emulsions.

    A Stability Incubator is calibrated in RH and temperature. Mine is done by an outside provider who also does all the calibrations on my scales.

    Informal tests are helpful but hardly at the level of confidence one would need. When in doubt send it out for third party validation. Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • @Bill_Toge do you know whether a chemist is required to write out a toxicology report? Or can data from a microbiology test be used 

    FYI here's a decent lab: Oxford Biosciences offers cosmetic product challenge testing for £150 per product.  The tests are commonly referred to as Microbial Challenge Test (Challenge) and Preservative Efficacy Test (PET) but they are the same test.
  • @MarkBroussard (and others):
    I might be misreading, but is it correct that if the product tests bug-free at 28 days, in all likelihood it will remain as such for three years?  (I am assuming these mikrocount slides must be very sensitive.). Thank you.
  • I've used Melbec, Oxford Biosciences and MSL (microbiological services limited) here in the UK for work and all have been fine. 
    You've links for two of the three above, and here's MSL's:
    They've all been affable and professional, so I've tried staying in touch where possible.
Sign In or Register to comment.