Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Few questions for the chemists

  • Few questions for the chemists

    Posted by love on March 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I have a few questions that I need help with.
    First, does anyone recommend a good testing lab for sunscreen products? I’d like to find out the SPF value on two of my products, but I’m not sure I want to go through the FDA and get them registered. More for my companies knowing.

    Second, I made a few creams and face washes and after a month of use I sent them to get tested for bacteria. They came back with 1 colony unit, which was normal staph. Is the goal of formulating to have absolutely no bacteria through the life of the product. Is this achievable? Or is it normal to have some bacteria in a product as long as it’s not multiplying?

    My third question is, I found this cream on the web ingredients are:
    Organic Lavender Water, Organic Blue Chamomile Water, Organic Kukui Nut Oil, Organic Morocco Argan Seed Oil, Organic Avocado Seed Oil, Organic Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Organic Golden Jojoba Oil, Organic Co2 Extractions of Tamarind Seed, Tamanu Nut, Raspberry Seed, Calendula, Sea Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, and Red Radish Root Extract.
    How the heck does this cream stay together??? The formulator also says that the ingredients are never heated above 96 degrees. The picture of the cream looks so smooth and creamy. I have no idea how it stays together with out emulsifiers?

    Anonymous replied 10 years, 3 months ago 6 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • OldPerry

    March 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

    My best guess on the third question…the formulator is using an emulsifier that they just don’t list.  The ingredient list you have given does not follow FDA labeling guidelines.  If the formulator is willing to ignore labeling rules it’s really not unreasonable to think that they just don’t list ingredients like emulsifiers, preservatives, and adjustment ingredients that would make the product look less “natural”.  

  • love

    March 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    HI Perry, thanks for your feedback. How can you tell that the above ingredient list does not follow FDA labeling guidelines? Also above the ingredient list the formulator list that the product does not contain any waxes, alcohols or toxins. So I’m perplexed unless they are lying???

  • MakingSkincare

    March 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Yes as Perry says, looks like they aren’t listing all their ingredients eg emulsifier, preservative

  • Bobzchemist

    March 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm
    1) There is not a single correct INCI name in the entire list.

    2) The use of the word “organic” is expressly prohibited in FDA-compliant ingredient lists

    3) The use of the phrase “CO2 Extractions of” is prohibited in FDA-compliant ingredient lists

    4) The use of the style “Extractions of:” and then a list of plants is prohibited in FDA-compliant ingredient lists

    Given all these violations taken together, it’s obvious to me that whoever is advertising this couldn’t care less about complying with FDA regulations. So, why should you believe him when he claims that the ingredients are never heated above 96 degrees, or the product does not contain any waxes, alcohols or toxins?
  • Bobzchemist

    March 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    As for question 1, try AMA labs. You could run a quick 5-person panel to get an idea of what a full SPF test would net you.

    For question 2, did you do a plate count or a challenge test?
  • chemicalmatt

    March 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    SPF testing is expensive, but here goes: in the Eastern U.S. try Essex Testing; in the Midwest try Advanced Testing Laboratory; in the Western U.S. try Bioscreen Testing Services.


    One (1) cfu is absolutely nothing to worry about.  Usually that would be annotated as <10 cfu/ml, which is well within acceptable control limits.


    Perry & Making are correct in their assessment. Given the high profile given the naturals, this formulator conveniently left out the unnatural ingredients.  This is a common scam within the “natural cosmetics” industry.  And, they likely did process this at 35 - 40C by using an associative thickener to hold it all together, e.g. Seppigel 305 or what not. Listing all that neat almost-edible stuff would be undermined by also listing “Acrylamide” too.  There oughta’ be a law! Oh wait, there already IS one. 

  • OldPerry

    March 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    There oughta’ be a law! Oh wait, there already IS one. “

    This is what I always tell people who think there should be more strict cosmetic regulations.  The regulations clearly state that it is illegal to sell unsafe cosmetics.  What kind of regulations could you possibly have that are more strict than requiring companies only sell safe cosmetics?
  • love

    March 27, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Thank you all! That was all so helpful, just what I was looking for.

  • Microformulation

    April 4, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Great discussion! I see these Ingredient lists abused in the smaller Markets. You couldn’t guess how many times I have to delete out the “Organic” this and “wildcrafted” that in the ingredient deck before I can even begin to start breaking it down. Keep the INCI names only in the listings! You have all the rest of the label for marketing!

    Many people are reluctant to disclose their ingredient lists despite what the law requires. They feel that it just makes their product easier to copy. Firstly, with some extra work someone can replicate the performance of your product. That is what we do. Secondly it is the law and if we can’t do things right, don’t do them at all.

    Perry makes a great point. We have workable Cosmetic Regulations. We just have to learn them and follow them.

  • Anonymous

    April 4, 2014 at 11:35 am

    For your 2nd question, as far as I know, we have never reported 1 colony, depends on the dilution, all the test result will be reported <10 or in your case10cfu if it is 10-1 dilution on your product. Sometimes, even no growth, we might still can find pathogenic bugs in the enrichment.  

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