Cosmetics are products that are applied externally to the human body – i.e. to the skin, hair, teeth, oral mucous membranes and nails. They serve the purpose of protecting, cleansing, perfuming, externally modifying or maintaining the condition of the human body, as well as improving body odour. These include, for example, creams to maintain or improve skin health, deodorants to combat perspiration odour, toothpaste to clean and protect teeth, etc.
To ensure the safety of cosmetic products for consumers and to exclude risks, numerous laboratory analyses must be carried out. These include microbiological, chemical and sensory Cosmetic testing.
What types of water are there?
Cosmetics must be analysed before they enter the market in order to exclude any risk to human health. Manufacturers, contract manufacturers and contract fillers have a particular obligation here. But Cosmetic testing is also necessary for packers and packaging companies, as well as in research and development.
Legal regulations for cosmetics
There are numerous legal regulations for cosmetic products to ensure that they can be placed on the market safely and to exclude risks for the consumer.
- Regulation (EC) 1223/2009 on cosmetic products basically regulates which obligations apply to cosmetics.
- Regulation (EU) No. 655/2013, the Claims Regulation, regulates under which conditions advertising claims on cosmetic products can be used.
- This is supplemented by the “Technical document on cosmetic claims” in which common criteria for the use of advertising claims are defined.
- Associations and institutions such as BfR, BVL and IKW evaluate cosmetic products and their ingredients and make recommendations.
Recommendations and regulations are also published in official publications.
- Furthermore, there are country-specific ordinances, such as the German Cosmetics Ordinance, which regulates, for example, the duty of notification for German cosmetics companies.
In order for a cosmetic product to be offered on the market without risks, it must undergo various tests for safety and stability. These Cosmetic testing include:
- A so-called preservation load test, which is evidence of microbiological stability and is carried out as standard according to DIN EN ISO 11930.
- The chemical-physical stability test, because a cosmetic product must be stable over its entire life cycle.
What tests are used for cosmetic testing?
The ingredients of cosmetics must be tested microbiologically, chemically, physiology-chemical and sensorial so that safe products can be put on the market and skin health is not endangered.
Microbiological cosmetic testing
All relevant microbiological cosmetic testing is routinely carried out in the Tentamus Group laboratories. The laboratories are accredited according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 and meet all requirements for the safety assessment of cosmetic products.
The ISO 17516 regulation defines general requirements and limit values for the microbiological quality of cosmetic products. In detail, this includes the following analyses:
- quantitative testing of the aerobic mesophilic total plate count
- quantitative testing of yeasts and moulds
- qualitative analysis (absence) of specified microorganisms in 1g of product : Pseudomonas aeruginosa, aureus, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans
- qualitative analysis (absence) of non-specified microorganisms in 1g of product
- identification of microorganisms in growth absence of Pluralibacter gergoviae in 1g product
These analysis of cosmetics is carried out as part of release testing, batch and routine controls.
Preservation load tests are carried out as part of the development and controls of products. The results are required once for the safety assessment required by the EU Cosmetics Regulation or when products are reformulated. In a preservation stress test, also called challenge test, the product is inoculated with the microorganisms and stored under defined conditions (time, temperature, etc.). After the defined time, the microbial count and the microbial count development are determined in order to be able to make statements about microbial stability.
The microbiological parameters listed above (except for the preservative load test) should also be tested during the quality control of raw materials, because the quality of cosmetics is largely dependent on the quality of the raw materials used.
Microbiological analyses must also be carried out as part of hygiene and monitoring in the factories. Here, for example, the production water is analyzed and smear and swab samples are taken.
Chemical cosmetic testing
In addition to microbiological testing of cosmetic products, chemical testing is also relevant to ensure that the product can be safely marketed. For this purpose, the products are analyzed for the following parameters:
- Declarable or prohibited fragrances
- Phthalates (plasticizers)
- Heavy metals
- NDELA or nitrosamines in general
- Mineral oils (MOSH/MOAH)
- Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers
- Pesticides (especially when using plant-based raw materials or natural cosmetics)
- Active ingredients: e.g. panthenol, vitamin E and vitamin E acetate (=tocopherol and tocopherol acetate), glycerin
- Physical parameters such as pH value, density, viscosity, water activity (aw value) etc.
Sensory testing of cosmetic products
In sensory testing, products are described objectively using the human senses. Here properties such as odor, appearance, consistency and skin feel are described. In the case of cosmetic products, phase separations can occur in emulsions, precipitates or sediments, which are revealed during sensory testing. Changes to the packaging material due to storage, heat, etc. are also possible.
What is the INCI database and how is it included in the analyses?
The ingredients of cosmetic products are labeled according to an international agreement, the so-called INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients).
It is mandatory to correctly list the INCI information of the formulation on the packaging or label of the product.
The CosIng database is an interpretation aid and translates the glossary with the INCI data. This simplifies the search for cosmetic ingredients and also provides further information on their use.
Organic & Vegan Cosmetics
The market for vegan and organic and natural cosmetics is growing and enjoying increasing popularity among consumers. However, there are currently no specific regulatory requirements for these products and the terms “organic” and “natural” are not clearly defined by law for cosmetic products.
With ISO 16218, there has been an international standard for natural cosmetics for a few years, in which, for example, cosmetic ingredients are divided into categories. However, this ISO regulation is viewed critically, as the requirements are not very high and in some cases fall short of the requirements of various associations.
The aim is to avoid pesticide residues in cosmetics and this can be checked via the raw materials and end products.
Residue analysis of harmful substances in cosmetics
Residues of harmful substances in cosmetics repeatedly lead to products that are not marketable. Therefore, a regular determination of the ingredients to comply with limit values is of utmost importance. Safety assessment is therefore an integral part of cosmetic testing. Possible residues include heavy metals, nitrosamines, phthalates, etc.
Further information and possible residues can be found here: Residue Analysis
Microplastics in cosmetic
Currently, cosmetic products containing microplastics are frequently the subject of discussion among consumer portals and environmental associations. Consumers are therefore increasingly paying attention to using products without microplastics.
For this reason, many companies have voluntarily signed a disclaimer on the use of microplastics in their products. However, there is currently (still) no ban on microplastics in cosmetic products.
Label checks of cosmetic products
The totality of all information on the packaging or label of a cosmetic product is subject to EU cosmetics legislation. For example, the components of the INCI are listed as ingredients in a specified order. In addition, the 26 allergenic fragrances that may be used in cosmetic products are subject to mandatory labeling. Further regulations must be observed when specifying the best-before date.
Tentamus analyzes the exact composition of cosmetic articles and offers to create labels in accordance with the legal requirements.
Overview of laboratories for cosmetic testing of the Tentamus Group
The following laboratories from the Tentamus Group offer cosmetic testing:
- Laemmegroup – Moncalieri – https://www.laemmegroup.it
- Tentamus Agriparadigma – Ravenna, Signa & Syracusa – https://www.agriparadigma.it
- aromaLab – Martinsried – https://www.aromalab.de
- BAV Institut – Offenburg – https://www.bav-institut.de/
- bilacon – Berlin – https://www.bilacon.de
- BLS Analytik – Bad Kissingen – https://www.bls-analytik.de
- TentaMedix – Karlsruhe – https://www.tentamedix.com
- Tentamus Greater China – Shanghai, Hainan, Fuzhou, Taipei, Kaohsiung – https://www.tentamus.com/china/
- LAB – Almeria & Huelva – https://www.lab-sl.com
- Laboratorio Control – Madrid – https://www.laboratoriocontrol.es
- SMS Labs – Wellington – http://www.smslab.co.uk
USA & CANADA:
- Adamson Analytical Laboratories – Corona, CA (USA) – https://www.adamsonlab.com
- American Testing Lab – San Diego, CA – https://www.american-testing.com
- Labofine – Pointe Claire (CAN) – https://www.labofine.com
- QSI America – Corona, CA – https://www.qsi-america.com
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