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Product Assessments

Did you know that in order to sell skincare products legally in the UK every product has to go through an assessment?

In simple terms, every time I make a new soap, face oil, cleanser or whatever it is I want to sell, I have to formulate it, test it, tweak it until I'm happy with it then send the recipe with a whole host of other information like packaging, size of product, something known as an INCI name, what the product does, etc to an assessor.

The assessor is in effect a chemist (someone in possession of a diploma or other formal qualification awarded on completion of a university course of theoretical and practical study in pharmacy, toxicology, medicine or a similar discipline). They will assess the ingredients and the quantities to ensure they are safe for human use.

If they are unhappy with a quantity of ingredient usage they will let me know and I can make adjustments. Once they are satisfied the product is safe, they provide me with a document advising of allergens (which must be on the labelling), toxicology of each ingredient, how substances should be handled, safety awareness plus much much more.

We formulators and soap makers have to pay for every new assessment which can be anything from £75 to well over £200 depending on the product type and variants.

So if you have ever thought our prices are high compared to a larger company's similar product (even though they use nasty cheap chemicals, fillers, sulphates and suchlike) and there's nowhere near enough ingredients in a product to warrant that cost, it's worth bearing in mind what we have had to spend on ingredients (which we can't buy in the bulk quantities of larger companies). We also spend a lot of time designing the recipe, drawing up the correct labelling and getting it printed, deciding on and paying for packaging (which again can't be bought in huge volumes) then time spent marketing the product. Plus we have to create certain legal files and download every product's ingredient onto a government portal. There's a lot of background work we do and in my case a lot of looking into ingredients that don't contain nasties that can be harmful to the skin, not cruel to animals and are vegan friendly.

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