Cosmetic Microbiology Services
Testing emulsions is important, and ideally, every batch would be tested. For small makers I suggest random testing (after preservative efficacy is done). It is not as important to test oil based products.
Plate counts will tell you whether your product is contaminated with bacteria/fungus at the time of testing. It is more a test of your GMP than of your preservative efficacy.
Aerobic plate count (APC) – enumeration of bacteria present in a sample
Fungal/yeast count (F/YC) – enumeration of fungi (mold) or yeast present in a sample
No of Samples
Testing your cosmetics in this way is one step in assuring you that you have a safe product to sell and knowing that it is not adulterated. We need 1-2 ounces of your product, preferably in the same container that you sell it in. Do not send it in a plastic zip lock bag.
Be sure your product is labeled with your name/company name and a product identification name.
Send the product along with the contact sheet you download below and a check for $32 per sample or send Paypal. US Mail, UPS or FedEx are all fine, however, in the winter its best to time things such that the product doesn’t freeze. DO NOT send signature required.
The procedure will follow the guidelines of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for microbiological methods for cosmetics. You can read them here. Testing takes 10 days to 2 weeks.
The FDA does not require any microbiology testing but it is a responsible thing to do to protect your formula and your customer. The FDA does say that a cosmetic should not be adulterated which is interpreted as meaning it should not contain harmful bacteria or fungus. Here is an FDA Fact Sheet for cosmetics.
Download Form Here
Stability testing is separate and tests whether your emulsion will stay together. Stability is ‘accelerated’ with increased heat to simulate time.
To send a sample, download and print the request form by clicking the button below and send that in with your sample. Payment can be made by enclosed check or by Paypal. Go to this page for Paypal.
Information that you share with us for any reason remains confidential and is not shared outside of Sagescript Institute unless specifically requested by you. Your test results remain in your ownership.
You will need adobe reader to download the form, please click here to download it for free.
Although it is ideal to test every batch, this is impossible for many small crafters. My suggestion is to have initial testing done to make sure your product is well preserved and then do periodic testing (random) to make sure your GMP is good.
Additional services are available on a consultation basis. These might include gram stain, challenge testing, Mean Inhibitory Concentration (MIC). Pricing for these will vary depending upon details.
“Cosmetic products are not expected to be aseptic; however, they must be completely free of high-virulence microbial pathogens, and the total number of aerobic microorganisms per gram must be low. Since there are no widely acceptable standards for numbers, temporary guidelines are used instead. For eye-area products, counts should not be greater than 500 colony forming units (CFU)/g; for non-eye-area products, counts should not be greater than 1000 CFU/g. The presence of pathogens would be particularly important in evaluating as unacceptable a cosmetic with a marginally acceptable count, e.g., 400 CFU/g for an eye-area product. Pathogens or opportunistic pathogens whose incidence would be of particular concern, especially in eye-area cosmetic products, include S. aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, P. aeruginosa and other species, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Some microbes normally regarded as nonpathogenic may be opportunistically pathogenic, e.g., in wounds.”
The EU recommendations are similar.
“What is essential is invisible to the eye…”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in The Little Prince