Developing Difficulties – creating your formulation


Whether you are a current brand owner or an entrepreneur with a new idea, if you want to create a brand, help and/or advice is needed...

Whether you are a current brand owner or an entrepreneur with a new idea, if you want to create a brand that will enter the personal care market you will need to get help and/or advice when it comes to developing your formulation, unless you are a development chemist, in which case you will be able to do all the formulation development work yourself. Assuming you are not, in order to have a formulation (the actual cream or wash liquid) developed you will need a development chemist. Not only will they prepare the formulation, but in many cases they will also be able to provide help and advice on the legislative side of the industry as well. The aim of this article is provide an introduction and a ‘helping hand’ to new brands that want to enter the personal market as to how and where they can have their formulations created.

There are two ways of finding a development chemist, with both methods coming with their own advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, you can try to locate your own development chemist. A Google search should provide ample email addresses and contact numbers for you to try. Most chemists will be able to provide a solution from a brief detailing the type of product, target market and any specific information you may require. However, some chemists may require different information; it will depend on the individual. Advantages to locating your own development chemist will be that the process of creating the formulation will be quicker, with there only being one channel of communication, information and queries can be exchanged directly between development chemist and brand owner. As well as the above it may be cheaper locating the development chemist yourself, if you have a development chemist via a third party they may add a margin onto the charges for that service. Like with all decisions that need to be made, advantages come with disadvantages. A key disadvantage to finding your own development chemist is that they may create a fantastic formulation for you, that has great benefits for the end user, but the materials used within the product may be difficult to source for your chosen manufacturer, or could have very high MOQ’s. If this is the case then it can bring extra costs to the manufacture of your product(s).

The second approach to finding a development chemist can be through your chosen manufacturer. Majority of the contract manufacturers within the UK will have formulation development capabilities, whether this is in house or third party all will need access to this skill set in order to function effectively within the personal care industry. The advantages to finding a development chemist through a contract manufacturer are that the chemist should have a working knowledge of what stock raw materials the manufacturer has. This way the development chemist will be able to create a formulation that does not use raw materials that will have large minimum order quantities, which in turn may bring an added cost to the brand owner. Whilst it can be argued that sticking to materials that are readily available to a specific manufacturer limits the options for the formulation, all manufacturers should have a wealth of material options enabling any development chemist to create a vast range of different products. A disadvantage to using a development chemist through a manufacturer is that it may cost more; I cannot guarantee this is the case but some companies may add on a margin as this is a service they are providing.

To summarise the above and to add my own perspective to try and help simplify the task of developing a new personal care product, I would recommend finding a contract manufacturer that can also offer the formulation development service as well as product manufacture. By keeping everything under one roof you will be simplifying your work load, the formulations will be developed with materials that are readily available, which in turn can produce a competitively priced product. Not only this but by having products developed alongside a contract manufacturer you will have access to help and advice along the way, which in turn will enable you, the brand owner, to find an effective solution to developing your new brand.

David Meredith, Expac

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At Expac we are able to offer a full service for brands in the personal care market. We have the ability to develop formulations and manufacture them, providing the ideal platform for new start up brands. Please feel free to contact us via twitter on @expac_preston or alternatively email at:


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