Product Launch Series Episode 3- Stability and Challenge Testing with ISCA Cosmetic Labs

For this video I take you through my exact process for stability testing and if I was challenge testing and talk to Georgia, the head of testing at ISCA about their testing services including an accelerated stability test, and vegan challenge testing options amongst other things.

This video is sponsored by ISCA who reached out to me, however, I would never take on a sponsorship unless I genuinely recommended the company and thought their services were good, reliable and of use to you guys. I'm pleased to say that ISCA are great and I think Georgia can help many of you asking me about challenge testing your products.

Below is a copy of the 'script' of my portion and links, and you can also download the PDF below.

Welcome to the next video in my product launch series.  I’m in the process of launching my new range of products and I’m taking you along with me as I get everything ready for launch so that it can hopefully help those of you thinking of doing the same, see what’s involved.

In this video we’re covering product testing.  I’ll say first, do not skip this step.  It’s non-negotiable for both your customers protection and your peace of mind that you have a good stable product for the shelf life you put on the label.

I know many people are in a hurry to start selling, and if that’s you then I suggest buying in white label is a better option for you than making.

As a manufacturer of cosmetic products, you have a responsibility to your customer to thoroughly test your products, and this is not a quick process.

I’m also pleased to say that this video is sponsored by ISCA Cosmetic Testing, a lab who also have their own line of effective preservatives.  I’ll leave a link to their website below along with a discount code off your first order or testing service that they’ve kindly offered to my viewers.  You can check out their YouTube channel for even more information, which I’ve also linked below.

As I mentioned in the previous videos I’ve been formulating and testing these products for around a year and a half now, so I’ve done my stability testing, but I’m going to go over what I’ve done in this video.  Keep watching, as shortly I’ll also be chatting to Georgia Morgan, the head of cosmetic testing at ISCA about everything they offer and what testing we need to be doing as small skincare manufacturers.

As you know, for my first new product launch, I’m going to be releasing a range of cold process soap bars.  To test each of these, I made a 10 bar loaf and cut, then weighed every couple of days until they remained at the same weight, knowing they had fully lost all of their water weight and were as hard as they would get and ready for sale.  Cold process soap is safe to use after 24-48 hours, but until it’s lost all its water weight, it won’t be as nice to use, so generally 4 weeks or more sitting on a shelf will make it lovely for use. 

Obviously if you are making a different product that doesn’t need to dry out in this way, move on to the next step – using the product.

The key here is to make enough of each product that you can do multiple tests.

I have 10 bars to play with, so I think I’m ok!

The first bar went straight into the shower after the 4 weeks.  I used it until it was used up, over the course of a month and noted any changes to scent, colour, texture, amount of washes I got from it and any other things of note about it.

The second bar sat on a shelf at room temperature exposed to the air for 12 months.

The 3rd bar also sat on a shelf at room temperature, but was wrapped in its final chosen packaging (we’ll chat about this in the next video).  I use Biolefin biodegradable shrink wrap from the National Shrinkwrap company. 

The 4th and 5th bars I packaged in the Shrinkwrap and performed freeze thaw.  This is the home version of freeze thaw where you freeze the product for 24 hours then thaw at room temperature for 24 hours.  Do this 3 times and you can give a shelf life of 6 months for your product.

You can also buy incubators to use at home to do the increased temperature phase instead of room temperature, where you put your products in the incubator at 40-50 C for 24 hours then freezer etc. 

ISCA can do this for you including an incubated phase, and they can do an accelerated test to give you a longer shelf life if the product remains unchanged. If my products contain water, then I’d also be sending to the lab for challenge testing.  Soap is not classed as an aqueous product in the same way as it is self-preserving and the water is part of the reaction to create soap.

I of course had 5 more bars to play with so kept using those over the year by using in the shower and having by the sink to use to wash hands.

I noted any changes to the soap from all of these tests on a stability data sheet I created for myself.  You need stability data to give your safety assessor when applying for your CPSR.

After what is now a year and a half, I am happy with my products and I am ready to submit them for a CPSR.

A quick note before we move on though. 

If your product includes water (such as a lotion or body wash for example) and therefore requires a preservative, you will need to also perform challenge testing as I mentioned about.  This is a test of the preservative efficacy. 

If you need this, then I highly recommend purchasing some dip slides.  I have a whole video on these here :

and you can buy yours here remember to use code REVEGA for 5% off your first purchase!

Doing this at home prior to sending to the lab will ensure that they pass and save you the time and expense of a retest.  If they fail your at home test, you need to look at your GMP – Good manufacturing practice and whether that can be improved (more on that in a later video, or watch the one I’ve linked below), or whether your preservative is the correct choice and usage rate for your product.  Ideally you should be testing each batch prior to sale anyway, so these dip-slides allow you to do that.  They are not a replacement for challenge testing though, they are to be used in addition to.

So, let’s now talk to Georgia at ISCA and find out a bit more about stability and challenge testing to hopefully answer all your questions. See video

Thanks to ISCA for talking the time to talk to me, I hope you found that useful.  All links to ISCA’s website, YouTube channel and the discount code are below, so that you can have your own products tested effectively.

Now you’ve done stability testing, you are pretty much ready for your CPSR, but there are some things to consider first and I’ll be covering those in the next videos…


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