Can you sell homemade cosmetics to the general public and retail outlets? This is one of the most common questions asked of me during my 25-plus years of making cosmetics. The answer, in almost all countries, is: Yes. There certainly seems to be a lot of confusion regarding this issue – fueled in part, I am sure, by the desire of the global conglomerates to keep control of this multi-billion dollar industry.
Many countries take their lead from the US FDA, so let’s take a look at what the FDA has to say about the issue of making homemade cosmetics for retail sale. Homemade cosmetics are not required to be tested by the FDA – or any other authorities, for that matter. However, there are a few rules which must be observed.
1. The cosmetic product must be correctly labelled, and follow the labeling regulations. Essentially, this means stating the ingredients in descending order of use, the quantity of product contained within the packaging and any known safety precautions.
2. The cosmetic product must not contain any prohibited ingredients. If you are using professional formulations for making cosmetics, this will not represent any problem.
3. The cosmetic product must be free of pathogens. Again, if you are using professional formulations, you will not have any difficulties complying with this regulation.
The benefits of making cosmetics which have been professionally formulated, is that you will be able to produce top quality products of a calibre equal to, or even better than, the leading cosmetic manufacturers. How can your homemade cosmetics be better than the leading brands?
While it’s true that top quality cosmetic products usually include high grade, effective ingredients, cosmetic manufacturing companies operate on extremely high profit levels – 1000% or even much higher. Because the most effective ingredients are also the most expensive, in order to maximize their profits, leading cosmetic making companies usually use these substances in the lowest proportion possible.
Making your own homemade cosmetics allows you to use the same ingredients – but in much higher proportion. This means you can produce products of much higher quality and effectiveness. If you have your own business making cosmetics, you can make color cosmetics, skin and hair care, body and bath products, and toiletries, which will quickly develop a loyal clientele. And you will be able to make the same profits as the big cosmetic manufacturing companies.
You can even start a business making cosmetics for other retailers – hair and beauty salons, spas, etc – and package the products especially for them, with their own label. Private label manufacturing is becoming increasingly popular.
Making homemade cosmetics for retail sale is a high profit and easy business to operate, and there are many ways to sell the products and develop markets. Because the big conglomerates concentrate on the large, mainstream retailers, there are literally thousands of smaller, untapped, hungry markets – a few contracts to supply these outlets can easily bring you a six-figure income.
To summarize, the FDA does not review or approve cosmetic products or cosmetic ingredients before they are sold to the public. The agency acts only against cosmetic products found to cause harm after they have been released on the market.
If you are using untested recipes from your kitchen, this could present a problem if a customer suffered an allergy. Also, cosmetic products without preservatives can easily grow bacteria and molds, and cause skin reactions
In the US, you do not need approval from the FDA to start a business making cosmetics. In most other countries, this is also the case. If you are interested to join the high profit and prestigious world of making cosmetics, my best advice is to purchase top quality formulations and make them in accordance with the manufacturing directions. This way you can be sure they will be in compliance with FDA regulations.