If you are developing new natural skincare or beauty products to sell, then there are a few things to think about. Even if you have already formulated your product range ready to sell, it is still worth reading this article through!

a stack of four colourful bars of soap
you need to think about your product development

Welcome to Part 5 of the online Skincare Business Course!

Hopefully you have now read through the first four parts of the course:

Now read this article and think about all the following points for each product in your range.

What is different about your natural skincare or beauty product?

What is so different or special about your natural skincare or beauty product that would make people want to buy it over another one on sale at a show or online via social media? You need to make your product different from the competition. For example, this could be by the design of the actual product, the ingredients it contains, by the packaging of the product, the effectiveness of the product or the price.

Claims about your natural skincare or beauty product

You also need to be careful about any claims that you are making about your natural skincare or beauty product as there are laws about this type of thing, although your cosmetic chemist will be able to help you with his when you apply for your cosmetic product safety reports.

At a simple level, just make sure that if you are selling a hydrating hand cream then it is actually hydrating and it has an ingredient in the formulation that can be shown to be hydrating, for instance shea butter. You won't be able to claim anything along the lines of helping or curing a medical condition such as eczema, or healing or giving pain relief. Products that deal with these types of claims are not classified as cosmetic products and may be classified as medicines and therefore they would come under completely different laws and regulations. Don't get any leaflets or packaging printed with any claims until you have got your cosmetic product safety certification sorted!

If you have questions about a product that you are developing, speak to a cosmetic chemist and start a relationship with them. Far better to discuss your plans with them first before you waste your time developing a product that you can't market.

One of the products that I used to sell was an intensive foot balm. It was extremely effective as a product but I also found out that many people used it to deal with the pain from chilblains. In particular, people who had to get up extra early in the middle of winter to muck out horses and ride them in the frosty weather swore by it! I know why it was effective for treating and preventing chilblains but I could not actually market it as a product by saying this as it was a cosmetic product.

Supplies of raw ingredients for natural skincare products

You need to ensure that you can get a reliable and constant supply of the raw ingredients that you need to make your product. If you are not sure where to start, check out the list of UK based Natural Cosmetic Ingredient Suppliers.

Most good quality suppliers will have continual stocks of products that sell well but beware of using a ‘rare’ or ‘special’ ingredient in any of your products without doing your research on it first. On the plus side it may be a good opportunity to be able to promote your product as having a special ingredient that is not used by your competitors, especially if it is a really effective one. However it may be in short supply and you don’t want to find out that you can’t make your best selling face oil that is in high demand because one of the ingredients you use is hard to come by. This is not to say don't try to use it, just be aware when considering new ingredients to the market and see whether you can find a secondary supplier.

Have a secondary ingredient supplier for your natural skincare or beauty products

For your business you should have a list (preferably a spreadsheet) of all the raw ingredients that you use to make your products along with details of the supplier and the cost of the ingredient.

For each of your products, look at your final recipe and always ensure that you have a secondary supplier for every raw ingredient in case your normal supplier is out of stock.

It will be most cost effective for your business if you can order most of your raw ingredients from a few main suppliers. You may buy all your essential oils from one supplier, your containers from another or you may try and order everything from the same supplier. Don't restrict your options for anything, such as containers, by trying to stick with a limited range from a supplier just because you order your raw ingredients from them. Although it is useful if you can get your containers this way, you may get far better options and prices elsewhere. Do your research.

Buying items in larger quantities from one supplier means that you will probably get a better price and will also save on the delivery charges. However, it is always good to know that you can get your raw ingredients from a different supplier should there be a problem. Remember that they would need to be at a similar cost price as well so that you do not have to raise your product price. It is all very well having to put an order in to a secondary supplier but if the cost of the raw ingredient is more than you normally pay you only want to have to do this in an emergency, not on a regular basis.

Once you have a secondary supplier for an ingredient, you should buy some of the ingredient and test it out to check that the quality is equal to or exceeds the quality of the ingredient from your current supplier.

Have a secondary container supplier for your natural skincare products

The same applies to the container that you have chosen to put your product in, say a pump bottle or a glass rollerball. Can you source these elsewhere if you have to and are they the same colour, quality and price?

Check out the list of UK equipment and container suppliers.

When you apply for your cosmetic safety assessment you will have to specify what type of container you are going to use. For instance most aluminium bottles are coated internally to protect the product however there are much cheaper aluminium bottles on the market which do not have a coated interior. If your cosmetic certification is for the sale of a product in an internally coated bottle then you can’t suddenly start selling them in one with no coating just because you can’t get hold of your usual stock. Think hard about the type of container you are going to sell it in and make sure that you have identified a back-up supplier in case your normal one is out of stock.

Have a back-up supplier for packaging your natural skincare products

If you are using exterior packaging, say for instance a box, fabric bag or printed bag, there are still issues to be aware of. I started off using fabric bags to put my body oils in which I sourced from an online company. Although the company continued to supply the bags, they changed colour and quality ever so slightly on different deliveries. As a stand alone batch they looked fine but they looked slightly odd when a lot of the products were displayed together on a stand as the bags were slightly different colours and quality. It wasn’t the end of the world but being a perfectionist I ended up sourcing some eco friendly bags elsewhere in a couple of different sizes. I then ordered a stamp with my company logo on and pre-stamped my bags by hand so not only did they have a luxury artisan feel, they all looked the same.

Many cosmetic natural ingredient suppliers sell containers and you can also find a list of container suppliers and packaging suppliers (for wrapping and posting your products) in the Equipment and Containers for Natural Skincare Product details.

Natural skincare product development – things to think about

  • Are you formulating a natural skincare product that actually has a market? Does the world need yet another [insert your natural skincare product type here]?

  • Are you able to obtain the raw cosmetic ingredients that you need to make the product easily? Do you have a back-up supplier in place if needed?

  • Are you able to obtain the container and packaging easily? Do you have a back-up supplier in place if needed?

  • Does the product actually work? It is all too easy to knock out a bog standard hand cream but you need to give thought to what you want the product to do. Is it for hydrating dry skin or is it going to work as a barrier cream to protect hands? Make sure you know exactly what type of natural skincare product you are developing.

  • Are the ingredients that you are using the best ones for the type of product you are formulating? If you are selling a hydrating hand cream it will need to be just that, so ensure that your formulation reflects this fact.

  • Imagine you are selling your product on a stand at a show and someone looks interested and asks you about it. Are you able to talk happily about your product, what it does, how it works and the ingredients in it? You need to know your products and be passionate about them!

By the time you have developed a natural skincare product you will probably have been through many formulations. I literally lost count of the amount of body oils I made before I came up with the perfect blend of oils that sank in quickly without leaving any greasy after feel (so you could get dressed straight away). Even when I had developed a brilliant base oil I had to spend months developing different blends of essential oils. However, all this hard work was worth it because I could talk knowledgably about my products to interested customers and explain what the ingredients and essential oils were good for.

So now you should have a good idea of what to think about when developing your natural skincare products and as part of this process, you also need to read the next article in the course, about Natural Skincare Products v Organic Skincare Products.

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