10 Cosmetic Formulation Ideas to Inspire Your Products


Are you eager to start making cosmetic products but lack inspiration?

The cosmetic market is expected to grow by 6.10% over the next few years. This means you'll need to create unique personal care formulas that stand out among competitors. Body lotions and hydrating serums are great, but why should people buy them from your business?

Finding examples of cosmetic formulations could inspire high-quality products. If you focus more on skin-replenishing ingredients, you might consider cream-based formulas. The same goes for aerosols and deodorants that aim to reduce body odour from sweating.

Are you interested to discover more cosmetic formula ideas? Just keep on reading. 

What Is Cosmetic Formulation?

Cosmetic formulation is the balance of ingredients and chemical compounds. You have to play with physical chemistry to achieve the right texture, colour, smell and form. It's not just about mixing ingredients but studying the chemical formulation to get the best product possible.

Some people believe that cosmetic formulas are more of an art than they are science. As you gain more experience, you'll learn how to follow chemistry principles in a manufacturing environment. A formula needs to be completely safe and reliable for customers to use.

To put it simply, the formula acts as a foundation for your product. You can tweak it during testing and add ingredients that might improve the clarity. Many professional chemists would only refer to this process as 'mixing' if it didn't involve chemicals and preservatives.

10 Cosmetic Formulation Ideas to Inspire Your Products

Why Is Cosmetic Formulation Important?

Learning what goes into products and how you can experiment with cosmetic ingredients ensures you're creating safe, functional and sustainable cosmetics. You need to understand formula safety, especially if you're new to compliance requirements and formulations.

The manufacturing process should always take the most time. Think about it like this – you're creating formulas that will sit on someone's skin. Are the ingredients too harsh? Can this be beneficial in the long term? Customers are the main focus, so will they enjoy this product?

People go to a cosmetic brand they feel like they can trust. Staying open about what cosmetic ingredients you use can hugely improve your business. For example, products designed for the skin usually contain natural components that maintain microbiological control and safety.

10 Cosmetic Formula Examples to Give You Inspiration

Researching other ideas ensures you meet customer demands and formula expectations. You can learn to formulate using unique ingredients. If you're stuck on building high-quality formulas for your cosmetic business, consider taking inspiration from the popular examples below.

  • Creams

Creams have three main components –  an emulsifier, oil phase and aqueous phase. You heat up the oil and water content separately before adding them to a hot emulsifier. Once these ingredients cool down, you can thoroughly mix them to get that cream-based texture.

There are many products to create while using cream formulas. Some of these may be eye creams, face moisturisers, skin primers and anti-ageing gel creams. For skincare brands, it's worth thinking about cream products that nourish and replenish the skin. 

  • Tablets

Capsules or tablets usually enhance the product by preserving its ingredients. There are some gels that need small beads to correct your complexion. In other cases, powder products for the skin usually have smooth 'pearls' that are covered in pigment, vitamins and illuminating dust. 

These blended solids are pressed into shape during manufacturing. You'll need precise equipment to make these products, including manual machines. Making tablets or capsules are more expensive in the cosmetic industry, so keep that in mind before choosing this formula.

10 Cosmetic Formulation Ideas to Inspire Your Products
  • Powders

As you might know already, powders are very popular in the cosmetics market. Products like baby powder use talc, silicates and starch to create a fine texture. Raw materials are blended together using special machines to retain the smoothness and shelf life of powders.

You could make face powders that set foundation or sweat-reducing formulas that mattify your skin. It's all about using active ingredients that don't weaken the cosmetic powder. Since fine textures can be dangerous, always use a professional compacting machine.

  • Gels

Gels are thick products that contain acrylic polymer, natural gum or cellulosic thickeners. These ingredients make gels dense enough to use in shaving creams and toothpaste. Many people prefer this formulation over runny formulas, which might be frustrating to use every day. 

There are gels that require force to make them smooth and thin. For example, hair gel usually needs warming up with the fingers to become a flowable paste. So, if you’re passionate about making body or hair care products, consider using gels for most of the formulations. 

  • Lotions

Lotions are essentially the 'lighter' version of cream-based formulas. This is because they're less greasy and heavy when applied to the skin. You could make face moisturisers, body lotions, hair conditioners, overnight face masks and body balms using lotion emulsions.

Believe it or not, lotions are actually very easy to formulate at home. Take your desired ingredients and put them in a double boiler over simmering water. It's also worth adding essential oils, like vanilla or ginger, to enhance your natural cosmetic formulas.

  • Aerosols

Aerosols usually focus on the packaging form rather than specific formulations. However, choosing the right propellant is key to making deodorants and hairsprays. Both the concentrate and propellant ensure the spray is strong enough to perform its duty for customers.

You could produce common hair styling products using this cosmetic ingredient. People are always in need of personal care products and daily deodorants. Just remember that your packaging is important as well when sticking with cosmetic sustainability requirements.

  • Ointments 

Ointments are thick pastes that benefit both hair and medication-related products. Most of the time they're anhydrous – a substance that contains no water content. This is because ointments need to be greasy when activated in hair care products or skin-healing balms.

Many ointments contain petrolatum, lanolin or dimethicone to keep the texture thick. Some of these cosmetic ingredients also increase shelf life. All you need to do is heat up the raw materials and mix them constantly until they are evenly distributed in a thick paste. 

  • Solutions

Solutions are simple cosmetic formulas that are commonly used in body washes, hand cleansers, fragrances and shampoos. Each soluble ingredient has strict quality-control methods to ensure the product is stable and fit for hair, skin and body formulations.

You typically need water as the main diluent while mixing in homogeneous substances. Playing around with the temperature could increase the rate at which solutions form. If you're a beginner in professional cosmetic formulation, consider trying solution cosmetics first.

  • Suspensions

Suspensions are experimental formulas that focus on 'incompatible' ingredients. They are clear products that contain gelatin beads and other noticeable particles. You may use this formulation for sunscreens, shampoos and hand washes when exploring suspending ingredients.

Carbomer and bentonite clays are the most common substances in these products. Clays help to increase the stability of your cosmetic products. One thing to remember when making this formula - the main characteristic of suspensions is that solids aren't dissolved liquids.

  • Sticks

Sticks are products that customers won't really touch. Some examples comprise lipsticks, hard foundations and under-arm deodorants. The ingredients will activate once the person rubs them on their skin. So, when using lipstick, the pigment transfers onto your lips.

You only need to pour melted materials into moulds that represent your final packaging. Long containers may be great for lipsticks and foundation sticks. Always use ingredients that are soft on the skin, as you don’t want them to harden and become brittle upon the first usage. 

10 Cosmetic Formulation Ideas to Inspire Your Products


Cosmetic formulas are very important for producing the right product. You need to know what chemicals, preservatives and compounds are good and bad for cosmetics. It's worth consulting with a cosmetic chemist beforehand to ensure you're following legal practices.

A create cosmetic formulas program could also support your knowledge in the long term. Learning about personal care science is a great way of practising formulations for your cosmetics. The best cosmetic formulas will come from consistent and passionate minds.

To find safe cosmetic ingredients, book a consultation with Australian Private Label.  This business uses custom formulations that focus on improving the customer experience. You can view APL as a research and development laboratory when searching for the best advice.


Here are some frequently asked questions regarding cosmetic formulation: 

How Do I Become a Cosmetic Formulator?

Earning a bachelor's degree in science is the minimum requirement for cosmetic formulators. You can apply for work experience as a lab technician or ask chemists about their knowledge. Completing more advanced degrees could instantly boost your chances in this industry.

What Are The 5 Main Categories Of Cosmetic Products?

Some of the main categories of cosmetic products comprise skin, sun, hair, decorative, body, and oral care. You can create formulas for any type of cosmetic product in this list. These products are usually defined as a mix of chemical compounds related to beauty clarification.

How Do I Start a Successful Cosmetic Line?

First, you need to think of what products you'd like to sell in the long term. These might be shampoos, hair masks, body lotions or concealers. It's important to create a business plan before you advance on developing products or taking care of legal requirements.

What Cosmetics Can Be Made At Home?

Many people enjoy making hair or face masks at home. This is because masks contain natural ingredients like raw honey, mashed avocado and charcoal when improving the physical appearance. You could even post the recipe for each mask on your social media platforms.