The Many Challenges of Scaling Cosmetic Production

The Many Challenges of Scaling Cosmetic Production

by Michael Lorence ( and Emerson Bossi (

Scaling production from a small batch to large-scale manufacturing can present many challenges. The scaling process involves expanding volume and affects several factors like ingredient ratios, chemical interactions, and temperatures.

Understanding that scaling is a complex and tedious process is a significant part of the procedure. And to facilitate it, we have designed a series of articles to help you understand the process.

Previously, we talked about reverse engineering, concept briefs, and testing products. Now, we'll expand on how Flex Cosmetics uses these concepts with our resources and your idea to document your formula and convert it into a tangible asset shareable with a 3rd-party to help your project along.

How Flex Cosmetics Handles Scaling

Our objective is to make the scaling process as straightforward as possible, allowing you to start scaling without worries. Our service includes raw material sourcing and turnkey production without Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) needs. We want to free your business from the burden of scaling logistics and deliver a product ready to be distributed.

Currently, Flex Cosmetics is building a network of experts that includes professionals across the supply chain. This partnership includes several large-scale manufacturers. So if you need to scale up to 10.000 units, Flex Cosmetics can make the process painless and straightforward for your company while guiding you through the entirety of the process. 

What do You Need to Scale Your Production

To properly scale the production of personal care and cosmetic products, you need documentation, finalization, and logistics. Flex can facilitate all of that and more. We'll also handle the entirety of the Bill Of Materials (BOM) checklist for you, including branding, shipping materials, packaging, final component prototypes, raw materials, amongst other crucial aspects.

Then, after providing you with all the logistical information, you will have everything needed to fulfill labeling and sourcing requirements. In addition, that information will give you a better idea of the cost of goods required for your formula moving forward.

At this point, we are ready to begin producing the pilot batch. Pilot batching should never be skipped during scaling, as it mitigates risk and serves as a template for future batches. If needed, Flex can provide market samples for your project. 

How Formula Observation Can Increase Stability

After tweaking your formula for the required scale, we like to observe it under varying conditions for at least two weeks before facilitating all the raw materials for production. This process guarantees that the formula holds its form even under poor conditions. 

When the formula has successfully passed the observation phase, we'll know it's stable. If any issues happen after this point, tweaking is much easier and fixable using the raw materials you already have.

The Importance of Pilot Testing to Scaling

The pilot phase is used to perfect the manufacturing process and formula. After the pilot phase is over, we run the second round of approval by the client, as the results of this phase are a better indicator of the final product. These tests are done in a lab-controlled environment and help us establish the specs of your formula for scaling, like density, viscosity, and pH.

We can't stress enough how important the testing phase is if you want a smooth scaling process. If there are any issues with your prototype, the problem will scale to large-scale production, where the tiniest imperfection can end up ruining an entire batch.

Post Testing Procedures

The defining aspects of your formula show after we intensively test, monitor, and approve the specs. These specs can be used as the quality standard to test all future batches and the results to generate your certificate of analysis. We'll also provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) representing the range of specs defined from our initial testing.

Handling Raw Material Sourcing and BOM Checklists 

Dealing with material sourcing is a challenge of its own. Raw materials are composed of a mix of ingredients. Poor material blends can introduce contamination to the scaling process without proper control and analysis. At Flex Cosmetics, we mitigate the contamination risk by running a battery of rigorous tests for weeks and using previously approved raw materials before starting production.

Bill Of Material (BOM) checklists are hard to get right when handling logistics independently. Flex cosmetics use the results of our pilot tests to generate a detailed BOM checklist for you, eliminating the hassle and saving you time. We also use the checklist to create an inventory tracker that can be used in future batches, streamlining the reordering of materials.

How Proper Scaling Can Mitigate Risk

A carefully laid out path of development and testing is mandatory to create a smooth launch experience, as any mistakes negatively impact the entire batch. However, another issue is that the testing and documentation process is arbitrary and must meet the requirements of the R&D professional while fulfilling any brand compliance needs.

The arbitrarity of the testing in the cosmetic industry takes place because brands typically create their own set of compliance and regulatory guidelines based on 3rd-party research of established governing bodies like Cosmos, Credo, and Sephora. Once you combine these guidelines with the small amount of FDA regulation, we have a series of requirements to be fulfilled during the scaling process. 

Flex Cosmetics handles these issues by employing a proven scientific method to launch several products. If required, we can adapt our process to fit any compliance or regulatory need.

How We Facilitate Scaling for Your Business

Scaling production is a tedious and arduous process to take on alone. However, by employing Flex Cosmetics expertise, networking, and experience, we can guide your company to a smooth and successful launch by facilitating every step of the way.

We do this by testing, documenting, and transforming your formula into a shareable asset. You won't have to worry about monitoring, purchasing, production, or inventory management either. Instead, we facilitate your project to a point where it's ready to be distributed with minimal involvement, all while abiding by any customer or the FDA guidelines and regulations.

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