The Challenges of Small Batch Cosmetic Manufacturing

Small batch cosmetic manufacturing

Small batch manufacturing is also known as “sampling”, “scale up”, and “pilot batch manufacturing”. It’s better described as the transition stage between R&D and commercial manufacturing. Often, small batch manufacturing involves testing for stability, testing packaging materials and designs, and tweaking the formula.

With the increasing availability of ingredients and formulas available to people wanting to develop their own cosmetic products, companies offering small batch manufacturing services are also likely to increase in the near future. It’s important that both parties understand and prepare for the challenges in this key stage of product development.

4 Common Problems in Small Batch Manufacturing

  1. Consistency

When making small product batches, slight variations in the formula can have a huge effect on colour, odour, aspect, and stability. Factors that can cause inconsistencies between batches include changes in raw material suppliers, temperature, and measurements.

  1. Time

Small batches can take longer to make than large batches for two main reasons. Firstly, with large scale manufacturing a significant amount of the process is automated. This is often uneconomical in small batch manufacturing due to the cost of equipment. Secondly, to minimise variations in consistency from batch the batch, often more care is taken to double check that correct temperatures and measurements are being used.

  1. Materials

Depending on how small the batches are, it may be difficult to find raw materials that are supplied in convenient quantities. Many suppliers don’t offer materials in less than 1 kg packs. This can be especially problematic when sourcing active ingredients. You should prepare for the extra cost of buying more materials than you might actually need. An alternative solution would be to adjust the formula to make it more economical.

  1. Testing

Testing each small batch for microbial activity and stability can significantly raise the costs of the process.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Focal Point Research Inc.  We are industry leading Cosmetic Regulatory Consultants that you can trust to help guide your company in the right direction.


Need help with your product formulation?

This past year, Seneca College began offering a postgraduate diploma course in cosmetic studies. Focal Point Research Inc.’s owner Rob Ross-Fichtner serves as a professor in this new program and works collaboratively with students and companies on new and innovative cosmetic formulation. If you need help with your product’s formulation, stability, or product/ package compatibility please feel free to contact us.