How are cosmetics manufactured?

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choosing a skincare manufacturer

Whether you’re starting a new cosmetics brand or looking to expand your existing range by introducing a new cosmetics product, when you partner with a cosmetics manufacturer, they will assume responsibility for taking your product concept and turning it into a market-ready product as efficiently as possible. 

But how does that process happen?

It’s only natural to want to understand what happens behind the scenes when your cosmetics products are being manufactured. In this article, we’ll take a look at each of the key steps involved with manufacturing a cosmetic product so you have an idea of how your product will get from initial concept to shelf-ready.

The Cosmetics Manufacturing Process

The Cosmetics Manufacturing Process

The cosmetics manufacturing process comprises four key stages:

  • formulation development
  • packaging procurement, and
  • production and labelling
  • shipping.

Read on to understand what’s involved in each of these stages.

Formulation development

The cosmetics manufacturing process starts by developing the product formulation. This can be done in a couple of different ways. 

In most cases, your contract manufacturer will be able to offer you the option to choose from a catalogue of sample cosmetic product formulations that fit your criteria which have already been developed by their expert beauty product developers. If you find a formulation you are happy with, you can apply your own branding to that product and sell it as your own. This approach is known as private labelling manufacturing and it offers several benefits including less involvement required in the product development phase and the ability to get your products to market sooner.

In some cases, a cosmetics brand may have something more specific in mind and will instead opt to develop a brand-new formulation from scratch. 

Once you have settled on a cosmetic formulation, you will be advised on any next steps required, such as if any testing is needed.

Packaging procurement

You will also need to source suitable packaging for your products. Cosmetics products are renowned for using luxurious packaging and your choice of packaging materials and design will play a key role in how consumers view your product, so it’s important to pay careful consideration to this element of the manufacturing process.

Most cosmetics brands choose to manage this independently, however, if you wish, your manufacturer may offer a turn-key service in which they will source the product packaging on your behalf.

Production and labelling

The next step in the process is where all the magic happens—your manufacturer will move your cosmetic product to production.

The way your cosmetics are manufactured can vary slightly depending on the individual product and the ingredients it contains, but it will generally follow this process:

  1. Using a mixing vessel, the bulk of the ingredients are mixed together in phases to create an emulsion
  2. The emulsion will continue to be mixed at a certain temperature for a specified amount of time
  3. Once ready, the product is added to the packaging
  4. Labels are applied to the packaging.


Once the production and labelling process is complete, your products will be packed and shipped to you ready for you to sell via your chosen sales and distribution method/s.

Leading Australian Cosmetics Manufacturers

Looking for a cosmetics manufacturer? At Wild Child, we provide full-service cosmetics manufacturing that’s clean, fast and accurate.

Based right here in Australia, whether you want to develop a lip gloss, tinted moisturiser or something different entirely, we can help you navigate the cosmetics manufacturing process to get your products to market in the shortest time possible.

Find out more about cosmetics manufacturing with Wild Child or contact us to discuss your ideas for a cosmetic product.