How long does it take to formulate a skincare product?

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How long does it take to formulate skincare products

Every successful business owner understands that time is money. In the skincare industry, the amount of time it takes to develop your skincare product formulations can be a major cause of time delays that have a significant impact on your bottom line.

If you have a great skincare product idea but want to get a realistic picture of how long it will take to develop the formulation for your product, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key factors that will influence how long it takes to develop your skincare product formulations and share some useful tips to help you shorten the amount of time it takes to get your products to market.

What factors affect how long the formulation process takes?

The amount of time it takes to formulate a skincare product will largely depend on whether you:

The two methods are quite different and your choice of formulation method will have a dramatic impact on the lead time required to get your new product to market.

Formulating from scratch

This method involves working closely with the manufacturer to develop a brand new formulation. 

Based on your product concept, the manufacturer will work closely with you to develop a formulation that meets the brief. They will then provide samples for you to review. 

While this process can usually be completed in a relatively short period of time, in most cases, the formulation will need to undergo stability testing to verify the safety and shelf life of the product. Stability testing is a crucial but time-consuming element of the formulation development process that often takes months. 

If you decide to go down this route, your manufacturer should be able to provide information about on the likely lead time.

Using a private labelling service

When you use a private labelling service, you essentially choose an already-developed skincare formulation from a catalogue of products offered by the manufacturer.

Skincare manufacturers understand that their customers don’t always have the time or knowledge to develop a new product from scratch. That’s why many will develop a portfolio of pre-tested, production-ready product formulations for their customers to select from.

Adopting this method allows you to dramatically shorten the product development cycle, as the base formula for the product has already undergone testing. 

While choosing a private label formulation is the most efficient way to develop your products, you will still have the option to add some extra ingredients to the formulation if desired.

Helpful tips to speed up the product formulation process

Decide early whether you’re happy to use private labelling

The decision to develop a product from scratch is the number one reason why the formulation development process can blow out. 

Unless you have something very specific in mind, private labelling is almost always the fastest way to develop a new skincare formula. In most cases, clients are very satisfied using a private labelling service and appreciate the amount of time they can save.

Follow the guidance of your manufacturer when customising a formulation

A great feature of private labelling is that it does still offer some level of customisation. Provided you only want to add a couple of extra ingredients such as a fragrance, tint, shimmer or hero ingredient, the product may not need to undergo additional testing, all of which your manufacturer will guide you on.

However, that’s not always the case. If your changes mean the product will require additional stability testing, it could have a big impact on your lead times.

Be clear about what you want from the get-go

Another common cause of timeline blowouts occurs when a sample product doesn’t quite fit what the client wants.

The simplest way to avoid this from happening is to provide the manufacturer with detailed expectations of what you want when discussing the initial concept for the product. Providing the manufacturer with very specific details about any ingredients you do or don’t want to include, the desired texture and any other details you think are important early in the piece will be incredibly helpful during the formulation process.

Skincare manufacturing, using your formulation or ours

At Wild Child, we’re here to help you bring your skincare product ideas to life, whether you want to develop the formulation from scratch or explore our ready-made solutions.

With more than 30 years of experience, state-of-the-art facilities and rigorous product testing and regulatory compliance practices, we can help you navigate the formulation development process with ease. 

Find out more about who we are or contact our team to get started.