Using ingredients from food suppliers in cosmetics

Hi everyone, nice to e-meet you! I'm new to the forum but I've been reading it for a while now and I've learnt a lot. 

My question is about the use of ingredients from food suppliers in cosmetics. I'm currently designing a facial mist and I'm interested in including freeze dried coconut water in the formula. I can get 125g of organic powder from a food supplier for under 20 dollars, whereas the non organic variety from a cosmetic supplier is over 60 dollars for the same quantity. I'm currently formulating from home and I've found cosmetic materials suppliers to be largely unwilling to work with me as I'm not in a position to place large orders yet. So my question is: is it possible to use the more easily accessible and economical ingredients from food suppliers or do raw materials have to be "cosmetic grade"?

thanks for your help!

Comments

  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    edited February 2017
    There is no specific reason why you cannot use food ingredients in cosmetic formulations. In fact many many materials (e.g emulsifiers) are used equally in both markets.

    The thing to watch out for is to ensure that the food ingredient you are buying is the same material as is used in cosmetic products and doesn't just happen to have the same, or a similar, name. Check the specification sheet for the product to ensure compliance.

    Regarding suppliers of cosmetic ingredients in small quantities, there are numerous firms set up purely to do this. Looking among the pages here, as you say you have, will identify them.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    The only reason not to do this is if you're formulating for commercial sale. Food-grade-only suppliers aren't typically set up to provide the needed documentation.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Thank you both for your help - much appreciated. I will check what documentation is available from the supplier. 
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    Please don't misunderstand - if you are formulating to make a prototype, or for your own personal use, then by all means use food materials.

    Once you start specifying materials for commercial cGMP production, though, you're going to need, at the very least, a COA and micro testing results. Food suppliers don't usually supply these. Some haven't ever even heard of them, since they're not required for food manufacturing.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • I see, that's useful to know. I am still in the early stages but I am looking to sell my products in future. I've been trying to work out what documentation is needed for the PIF file in the EU and for gmp compliance...in terms of the COA and micro testing results, should these be obtained from the supplier on a sample or is a fresh COA / micro test required for each batch of raw material purchased from a supplier? Thank you.
  • A fresh COA / micro test for each batch of raw material purchased from a supplier would tend to be very expensive and erode any savings made by purchasing from a food ingredients supplier. We face the same challenges with extra virgin olive oil we purchase from a food ingredients supplier.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • Hi Mike, how have you managed to get around that problem?
  • Hi @g03harte09, we add to our CoA file a document provided by the supplier called a "Certifiacte of Health." This is issued by their Chamber of Commerce & Industry to certify that the product is manufactured in licensed premises, contain no harmful substances, and is fit for human consumption. Nowhere near your usual CoA but will have to do. To-date, have not been challenged. Besides, the every batch of the final cosmetic product is lab tested as required.


    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • Thanks for that @mikethair . I recently asked my trading standards office what documentation is required for gmp in my jurisdiction, and not even they knew! So I will explore whether this is an option for me. 
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    On point, one of my clients wanted to use a Food grade product recently. Yesterday the micro results on their product came back. 460 cfu/ml. Probably not a good idea.

    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com 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.
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