As many cosmetics companies have learned the hard way, consistently producing a high-quality product is no easy feat. Just last quarter, there were eight recalls for cosmetics products in the US and 20 in the EU, most for products presenting a chemical risk to consumers. And hand in hand with product quality is ensuring that each product is compliant with numerous levels of regulations before entering each unique market.
With the rise of social media and new technologies, consumers today are more informed and selective in purchasing from brands. Cosmetics companies are feeling the pressure to build brand loyalty and get new products out into the markets faster, while maintaining compliance and operational costs.
Quality Considerations for Cosmetic Manufacturers
In this increasingly competitive market, quality issues can make or break a cosmetics brand. And with multiple suppliers, contract manufacturers (CMOs), product lines and global regulatory agencies, understanding the importance of Quality Management the the cosmetics industry can become very complicated. Below are some of the top items that Cosmetic Manufacturers must consider when it comes to integrating Quality Management into the business:
- Compliance: While cosmetics don’t require FDA approval before they go to market, manufacturers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers and meet all regulatory requirements, including ingredients and product labeling. With immediate access through social media, news gets out fast impacting brand trust. Which brings us to our next item.
- Maintaining Trust: Consumer brand trust is developed through product effectiveness, consistent quality, cost, and shared values. One bad experience can impact an entire brand. In this competitive landscape, cosmetic companies must ensure they stay ahead of any issues and be proactive in their messaging and response.
- Supplier Management: With an ever expanding supply chain, control has never been more important. When suppliers’ or contract manufacturers’ product consistency or quality is lacking, it’s the brand that takes the hit. Cosmetic manufacturers need clear communication and open collaboration with their external partners to ensure their requirements are being met.
- Scalability: As business grows, the ability to scale while maintaining quality is imperative. Manufacturers must plan ahead to ensure they don’t outgrow controls and processes. This includes determining the appropriate resources and technology are in place to guarantee success.
Quality Challenges for Cosmetic Manufacturers
As seen above, every industry comes with its own Quality Management considerations: how can Quality Management benefit your business in everyday operations? The same is true for industry challenges: what challenges (internal or external) can be solved by implementing a better Quality Management process and/or a better Quality Management System (QMS)?
Veeva’s partners at Cosmetic Compliance recently released the results of a cosmetic industry survey of 600+ industry leaders highlighting the top three compliance challenges facing cosmetic brands this year:
Challenge #1: International Regulations
International regulations are the largest compliance challenge for cosmetic brands in 2019, with 60% of survey respondents indicated this as their largest challenge.
As those in the cosmetics industry know all too well, international regulations rapidly change, which means regulatory and quality officers have to continuously stay up to date. Just last year, China announced the establishment of the State Administration for Market Regulatory (SAMR) which covers cosmetics as well as food and drugs. As the second largest cosmetics market globally, the impact of tighter safety monitoring and new cosmetics classifications is still rippling through companies operating in or seeking to enter the Chinese market.
Challenge #2: Claims Substantiation
The survey found claims substantiation to be the second largest compliance challenge for cosmetic brands in 2019, with 49% of respondents indicating this challenge on a company-wide level and 52% indicating it on an individual level.
Claims substantiation is a growing industry challenge due to the increasing popularity of “natural” and “organic” cosmetic products. Presently, there is no formal definition for “natural” products in cosmetics, which has increased the potential risk factor for claims. That being said, it’s difficult in today’s regulatory climate to write truthful claims supported by adequate scientific evidence with no formal definition for “natural” cosmetic products.
Challenge #3: Testing and Ingredient Requirements
The third largest compliance challenge for cosmetic brands in 2019 is testing and ingredient requirements, with 41% of respondents indicating this challenge on a company-wide level and 39% on an individual level.
This challenge can be largely attributed to the two new bills regarding testing and ingredient requirements that have come to light in recent years. The first bill, known as the bipartisan Personal Care Products Safety Act3, sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), would give the FDA more oversight over the industry in general. This bill would require the FDA to test at least five ingredients a year for safety; companies would have to submit their ingredient lists to the FDA; and companies would be required to report adverse events to the FDA, among other things. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has also proposed a cosmetics safety bill, known as the FDA Cosmetic Safety and Modernization Act.
Read more: New Report: Top 3 Compliance Challenges for Cosmetic Brands in 2019