Whether you are a small business owner just starting out or a professional formulator for a national brand, the shelf life of your products is a major concern. We receive questions about this topic almost every day, and our responses are almost always accompanied by the recommendation to consult a lab for Product Challenge Testing. By allowing your formulation to be evaluated for stability by a professional laboratory you can store and sell your final products with confidence - knowing they are safe, stable, and ready for the public.
What does Product Challenge Testing Do?
While you can specify additional criteria for testing, the primary purpose of Product Challenge Testing is usually to determine product safety and product shelf life. If your formulation turns out to be unsafe or unstable (spoils too quickly) some labs can even work with you to identify the problem and determine a solution.
When is Product Challenge Testing Necessary?
Accurately determining a shelf life for your product is often impossible without the help of professional lab - especially when you are dealing with fragile ingredients such as dairy products, or anything that contains water. You can send any type of formulation to a lab for testing, but it is most important when you are dealing with a product that contains water or any water-based ingredients. Another thing to keep in mind is how your product is likely to be handled. Scrubs, for example, don't usually contain water, but users often introduce water by bringing containers into the shower. That might be a good reason to consider having the product tested for its resistance to bacterial growth.
This Sounds Expensive. Do I Really Need to Have My Products Tested?
Ultimately, this is a personal decision that every business owner must make on their own. We always recommend it - both as a good business practice and as a preventative measure. While the upfront cost may seem prohibitive, detecting potential problems with your products and gaining the knowledge of realistic shelf lives of your products is an extremely valuable payoff.
Where Do I Get Product Challenge Testing Done?
There are plenty of professional cosmetics labs nationwide that offer product challenge testing. Doing a quick web search for Cosmetic Product Challenge Testing is a good place to get started. We also offer a small list of labs on From Nature With Love. Please note that we are note affiliated with any of these labs and are simply offering their contact information as a resource.