Skip nav to main content.
BLOG   »

The Cosmetic Formulation Process at BPI Labs

  • October 26, 2018
The Cosmetic Formulation Process at BPI Labs


Formulating a personal care product unique to you is our goal. Since our establishment in 1995, we have created thousands of successful formulas with care and dedication. Whether you have an existing formula or have an idea stirring in your mind for a product, discover how we can create a market-ready product you will be proud to call yours.

In this article you will read:

  • What we can do if you need a formula
  • What we do if you have a formula
  • Who owns a formula developed by BPI Labs
  • What our fees are for formulating

You’ll Love our Formulas

Our formulas are not some kind of off the back-of-the box recipe.  Each formulation is made with intimate understanding of how preservatives work in acids and bases, emulsion technology, natural and organic substitutes, and suspension technology among many other cosmetic technologies.  Each formulation is uniquely designed to deliver the benefits of the claims you would like to make.  After we’ve developed a sample, we’ll ask you to approve the sample.  But if you’re not satisfied, we’ll change it to suit your marketing needs.

How do we begin formulating?

We begin formulating after we’ve received some information from you on what you would like.  The best possible information we can get are examples of product already in the market you would like to mimic or position nearby.  Then we need a list of all your formulation requirements, including: ingredients you want used or not used, including categories of ingredients; whether your product should be organic; a fragrance you would like used; and any other requirements you may have.

The samples come next

BPI Labs will begin by developing a ‘dry’ formulation, which is a written set of instructions for completing a sample.  These written instructions will instruct our laboratory to use certain chemicals and processes.  Some of these chemicals may need to be shipped to BPI Labs, which may take up to two weeks.  We’ll finally complete a sample and send it to you via UPS, and we’ll retain some of the sample for stability testing and reference.

You have a formula you would like used

BPI Labs has much experience receiving formulas from customers and maintaining their confidentiality.  If you have a formulation you would like BPI to use then we’ll have our companies sign a non-disclosure document (NDA) prior to BPI Labs receiving your formula.

We’ll verify we can produce your formula

The process for using your formula is much like the process for new formula development.  We’ll ask for a sample of your product for our laboratories reference.  Next, we will develop a sample of your formula and send it to you while keeping some of the same for stability testing and reference.  If we don’t have the materials in stock to complete your sample, we may need to wait up to 2 weeks for them to arrive before we complete the sample.

What if we cannot successfully complete the sample

It is not unusual that some aspect of a formulation we receive from a customer is incomplete or misidentifies an ingredient or process step.  Fortunately, we can usually extrapolate from what is available and design a solution.  We will notify you if we do this and update you with any changes to the listing of ingredients if any were made.

Formula Ownership

BPI Labs is not in the business of selling formulations.  Our company only makes money when we have long and fruitful manufacturing relationships with our customers.  So if we develop a formula then we are going to retain the rights to that formula.  However, we can offer these services to you free of cost.  You can generate entire product lines with BPI Labs and request product improvements over time that keep your product fresh and appealing.  We don’t charge for these services, and moreover, we must be exceedingly good at providing them or we wouldn’t have any customers!

Formula Fee

Sometimes we do ask for a formula fee.  Customers who are new to the cosmetics and personal care industry and who do not have a history of selling into this market may be asked to pay a $2,500 formulation fee.  However, once we go into manufacturing, we’ll return this fee to you as a discount off your first order.  We sometimes require this fee as a way for customers to carefully think about whether they are committed to a venture into the personal care market.  We hope that they are!


The formulation process may take up to 3 or 4 weeks to complete.  Sometimes it is much faster, however.  The better our customer understands what they would like and can describe that need to us effectively the more likely we get it right quickly.  Subsequent attempts at sample development are fast because we have a formulation we’re working with and the ingredients have all been ordered by this time.

Keep Learning

Here are some related guides and posts that you might enjoy next.

Every Cosmetic Formula Needs Specific Gravity

October 25, 2018 | Mike Shirley

A great formulation easily converts volume to mass with specific gravity. Download: Formula Template

Read More
BPI custom skin care formula

Complete Cosmetic Formulas Have 6 Things

October 21, 2018 | Mike Shirley

Without these 6 things no formula can be reliably reproduced. Download: Formula Template

Read More
manufacturing services for personal, health, and beauty care products

Turning Recipes into Cosmetic Formulas

October 20, 2018 | Mike Shirley

Read why recipes must become formulas before we can consistently manufacture product.

Read More