Top 7 Steps to Create Cosmetic Formulas


Did you know that cosmetic ingredients are highly regulated by Government agencies?

Formulating is very important for getting cosmetic products right. Sustainable and safe ingredients ensure everyone can trust your brand, especially when you're trying to branch out in the industry. To create cosmetic formulas, you have to study high-quality formulations. 

There isn't one narrow road you should follow during this process. It all depends on your materials, cosmetics, budget, and ingredient selection. If you want to discover how to create cosmetic formulas using 7 simple steps, just keep on reading.

Top 7 Steps to Create Cosmetic Formulas

What Is a Cosmetic Formula? 

A cosmetic formula is the balance of all cosmetic ingredients and how they operate. Each ingredient needs to serve a purpose that relates to your product branding. For example, hydroquinone brightens the skin, which can be used in most hydrating foundations.

Companies take miraculous care during the manufacturing stage. All the ingredients should be tested and 100% reliable for potential customers. The more confidence you have in the product formula, the more likely it will serve a great purpose in the cosmetic industry.

Why Are Cosmetic Formulas Important?

Cosmetic formulas represent the kind of ingredients people will be putting on their bodies. You need a safe formulation that does exactly what your brand promotes. So, if you create nourishing shampoos, it's very important to avoid harmful toxins and chemicals.

A global study found that 59% of customers believe their cosmetics to be dangerous. This is because they aren't clear on what goes into the cosmetic formulas. To change this, you can detail the whole formulation process on a website to present only sustainable ingredients.

The same study shows that people are also exposed to over 230 harmful ingredients every day. Both children and teenagers use cosmetics with untested chemicals as well. Finding the best cosmetic formulation means you're protecting customers' long-term health.

7 Easy Steps to Making Your Own Cosmetic Formulas

You can only create cosmetic formulas when thinking outside the box and having fun with unique ingredients. The starting process doesn't need to be complicated or scary. Take your time when building a cosmetic formulation to ensure all the recipes are high-quality. 

Top 7 Steps to Create Cosmetic Formulas

Here are 7 steps you can follow to create cosmetic formulas: 

  • Think About Your Product 

Now, what functions will your products have?

This is a question you need to consider before starting any cosmetic formula. Each product serves a purpose when being sold to potential customers. For example, companies that promote oil-reducing cosmetics will need to focus on mattifying ingredients. 

You can also think about aesthetics like colour, texture and form. Does it need to be a thick paste? Are you looking for a water-based solution? Always note down key characteristics of your cosmetic line to ensure the formula meets your manufacturing expectations.

During this first stage, you could find sample products from competitors. It's important to study their key features when it comes to formulation and physical qualities.

  • Find The Starting Cosmetic Ingredients 

A starting formula won't ever be the finished product. This is just the first step of mixing together cosmetic ingredients and finding out what works. You could find a 'create cosmetic formulas program' or some science-based books that provide formularies and material suppliers.

If you work at a big company, they should have an archive of professional formulators. The starting formula doesn't need to be extraordinary right away. Beginner recipes, especially in small businesses, are the foundation for making your own formulas in the future. 

You can also read more on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). They have a number of laws covering ingredient safety and risks associated with chemicals. Since they heavily regulate cosmetic products, it's very important to find reliable starting formulas.

On their official website, you'll discover a list of banned and restricted chemicals. Keeping these in mind beforehand ensures your planning process is straightforward. You won't have to keep changing cosmetic ingredients or searching for more professional formulators.

  • Prepare The First Batch 

Preparation is key to making your own products safely. Cosmetic formulations shouldn't be a rushed process that only focuses on early or quick sales. Think about how to formulate professionally in terms of ingredient specifications, batch numbers and initial testing facilities.

How much do you want to make exactly? What are you looking to test? Grab a spreadsheet and write this information down before putting on your goggles. You'll need to know the number of ingredients required and necessary add-ons like regulatory references.

  • Make The Cosmetic Formulation 

Making the first batch won't be easy or perfect.

Some might compare it to cooking – measuring out ingredients, mixing them, changing the temperature and keeping an eye on the outcome. During this process, it's important to note down observations that could help you change the cosmetic formula in the future.

For example, you might notice that xanthan gum doesn't work in your hair shampoos. This thickener could change the texture entirely or make it go clumpy when paired with other materials. Small things like this are crucial to improving prototypes and ideas. 

Another example could be that ascorbic acid dampens the smell of your product. You might want to add less of this ingredient or remove it completely next time. To enhance cosmetic formulas and make them stand out, always note down these important refinements.

Top 7 Steps to Create Cosmetic Formulas
  • Test Your Cosmetic Product 

Physical, chemical and microbiological testing is required for cosmetic formulas. You need to judge whether the product is safe. Taking the right steps like measuring pH levels, water weight, chemical balance and viscosity will ensure you’re meeting high-standard specification tests. 

Completing tests regularly is important to know before building a cosmetic brand. Of course, the formula might look great, but it may not perform the way you want it to. Plenty of personal care science degrees will tell you that testing shows the most business success.

Performance tests should be next on your list of priorities. Does the product achieve its primary goals? Are there any flaws you could fix? Some companies place the formula in different temperatures while others wait 6-8 weeks to see how it physically changes.

  • Gather Opinions

There's no harm in gathering opinions from other professional formulators. Give the sample to a few colleagues and ask for their honest thoughts about appearance, texture and smell. People with an outside perspective might notice flaws that slipped through the testing stages. 

You could also give people several prototypes to choose from. Make this a forced choice so they don't take your opinions into consideration. The more feedback you get for each cosmetic formulation, the more likely you'll produce products that are safe and sustainable. 

  • Complete Any Necessary Changes 

Finally, the time has come to make changes and finalise your product.

Making small adjustments can hugely impact how your cosmetic turns out. These might be adding more water, removing certain ingredients, using preservatives or trying a different testing method. You could even scrap the recipe entirely to explore other unique ideas. 

Keep repeating this step until you feel satisfied with the outcome. It might take a few tries and endless nights, but it's worth it when building your own cosmetic line. Do you think the formula meets expectations? Is there any way you can change aspects like colour and smell? 

Just remember that cosmetic formulations aren't straightforward ideas. Getting more experience in factories or science labs could increase your industry knowledge. You'll discover styles, formulas, ingredients and cosmetic services that suit your imaginative creations.


Brainstorming and preparation are the most important steps when creating your own cosmetic formulas. You need to think about product characteristics and potential benefits. After all, customers are the ones who will judge whether the cosmetic is suitable enough.

Take some time to research competitors and their key selling points. It might help to find an interesting program on the best Australian trends for cosmetic formulas. Find out more about required formulations, hired formulators, training modules and successful cosmetic companies.

Remember – to create cosmetic formulas, put safety and reliability above everything else. There's nothing worse than buying an expensive product, only for it to do nothing. Customers need to trust your brand in terms of cosmetic expectations and honesty about formulations.


Here are some frequently asked questions regarding cosmetic formulas:

What to Study to Formulate Cosmetics?

You should ideally have degrees in chemistry, personal care science, biology, pharmaceutical science or chemical engineering. These subjects will teach you more about generating formulas. It might also help to gain experience in a cosmetic factory or science-based lab. 

How Do You Formulate Skincare Products? 

There are certain steps to take when creating your own skincare formulas, including: 

  • Determine your target audience
  • Learn about sustainable ingredients
  • Calculate your budget 
  • Focus on the company’s mission 
  • Research natural preservatives 
  • Think about manufacturing times 

How Do I Make My Own Cosmetics Line?

Building your cosmetics line will take time and dedication. Choose your niche, like hydrating make-up products, and build your way up from there. Always research competitors to see what they're doing, as you want to stick out among the evolving cosmetic industry.

What Are the Main Ingredients in Cosmetics?

Some of the main ingredients comprise water, preservatives, thickeners, added colours, fragrances and emulsifiers. These can either be natural or artificial, depending on the chemical compounds. Many companies opt for natural ingredients to maintain sustainability factors.