A Day in the Lab: Ten Questions With a Personal Care Chemist
Federal Package personal care R & D chemist, Andy Haile, recently revealed his perspective on his side of the business—the lab. Andy has been with Federal Package for 4 years and his passion for what he does is evident. The following ten questions give you insight into what happens behind the scenes at a personal care manufacturing lab during the formulation process.
When a customer approaches you for a formula, what is the first step?
Typically, a customer will approach us with a very specific request. It is our mission to provide exactly what is described so the product achieves its desired results. To start, we secure the ingredients the customer asked for and then we get right to the drawing board to start submitting prototypes. It typically takes a couple of tries to get the most successful formula, but by communicating directly with our customers and offering our expertise, it is usually an enjoyable and rewarding process.
When a customer approaches you to enhance an existing formula, what is that process like?
Like most markets, trends in the personal care industry are constantly changing. Oftentimes, customers will approach us to revamp a previously successful product to stay up to date. Considering today’s landscape, there are many aspects of a formula that we can improve to enhance the overall product.
What if the customer does not know the best solution?
Occasionally, a customer does not know the best formula for the desired audience. If this is the case, we can certainly help. From natural and organic ingredients to fragrances and other product properties, we are here to guide our customers through the formulation process. After all, it is our job to show our customers the possibilities based on our analysis of what is performing well in the marketplace.
How important is it to stay on top of consumer trends?
This is one of the most important aspects of our job. If we develop products that are not in demand, we have not done our job correctly. We must listen to consumers to provide the high-quality, innovative products that they deserve.
Your lab is FDA registered. Why is that important?
It is important because if we supply a drug product, for example a skin care product with sun protection, it must be monitored by the FDA. This ensures that the customer is protected because we adhere to strict protocols.
When customers ask for vegan, natural, or organic products, how does the formulation process differ from a non-vegan, -natural, or -organic product?
There are a few special steps that must be taken. We start by acquiring ingredients that allow us to identify the product as vegan, natural or organic as the customer requests. Throughout the development process, there are special quarantine areas where these formulas can be created and select areas where the ingredients can be stored. We take precaution to make sure all of our products, especially vegan, natural and organic, are handled with care.
How do you ensure quality when sourcing ingredients?
All the ingredients that are sent to us are thoroughly tested. If the ingredients meet our criteria, including manufacturing processes, INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) names and more, we will incorporate them into our formulas. If they are not approved by our criteria, we will identify another source that can provide an ingredient that does meet our stipulations.
How do you ensure product quality?
All the products we create have specifications; first we start with the client’s. If the customer needs a moisturizing product, or a less oily product, or something that is translucent, we must meet all of these demands. Then, it comes down to how we maintain the product, ensuring it is always properly stored and preserved. Lastly, we have a large checklist of requirements, including viscosity, pH levels, etc., to make sure the product is safe to use.
What is your favorite part about the formulation process?
My personal favorites are lotions and creams. I enjoy visiting the personal care aisle in any and every store to see what people are shopping for. I especially like to analyze the ingredients of certain products as my own sort of research.
What is in the near future for Federal Package?
Federal Package is becoming a leader in the personal care industry for organic products. We are really tapping into the need for organic lip balms and deodorants because these are the types of products that consumers are craving. I’m excited to see where our expertise will take us even in the next couple of years.
Contact Federal Package today to get started on your business’s formulation needs.