What Certifications Should you Require from your Factory for your Beauty Products?
When creating your beauty products, it's important to know what certifications to require from you factory. Depending on whether you are choosing packaging-only or finished OEM products, you will want to ask for different certifications. That being said, even if you have your beauty product formulated in the US or EU, there's still some basic questions you want to ask. Let's dive in:
1. INCI Naming
The international nomenclature for cosmetic ingredients--or "INCI"--is the most basic requirement. These are the internationally accepted names for cosmetic ingredients, and are required on the outer packaging of your beauty product in the US and other countries as well. Beyond the FDA requirement, it's important for you to know for personal and liability reasons what exactly is inside your product.
If your formulation is being made outside of your home country, the factory may not know what ingredients are acceptable or unacceptable in your home country. This is something you will want to negotiate in the contract, before you begin manufacturing. It's also something you'll want to check in the sample, via chemical analysis, and at the final production stage. Make sure to require not only the INCI name, but also the EINECS/ELINCS and CAS numbers. Then you can cross-check all the information to make sure that the ingredients are what they say they are, and the factory is not just attempting to placate you by changing a number or letter here or there.
If your products are formulated using illegal ingredients, and are imported to the US, the FDA can and will dispose of your product and the border however they see fit.
2. Certificates of Analysis
Along those same lines, you will want a certificate of analysis on hand for each cosmetic product, to prove that the formulation is what you say it is. In the US, if the FDA catches wind of an illegal ingredient inside a product, they don't need to "catch it at the border"; they will again take the product, test it, and send you a very public letter that you, your competitors, your insurance company and all your future customers can see online at anytime on the FDA website. Not to mention the lawsuits that may ensue because your product was not what you said it was.
3. Factory Certificates
As with any business, liability is being handed off down the line. Everyone in the process needs to be insured and also needs to be compliant with the laws. It's smart to require your factory to provide you with their certificate of liability insurance, factory (or social) audit, and any relevant certificates of good standing within their home country.
You may also want to reserve the right to do the checking yourself, in person.
4. Future Information
It's quite possible--and smart--to request that the factory provide you with information in the future regarding your product/batch, if needed. You can write this into the contract with the factory, before any money ever changes hands. It may be difficult to act on (factories are great at playing dumb!), but it's worth a shot to cover your ass. Better safe than sorry!