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Good manufacturing practices

Oct 17, 2021 | The basics

This post was inspired by my previous work in the laboratories (not cosmetic ones though, but some principles stay the same). And some things that I see on the internet just makes me… concerned and worried.

It usually looks that making your own cosmetics is the same process like it would be making your dinner – little bit of this, little bit of that and that is it! However, these two things are definitely not the same and making your own cosmetics should be made with a bit more carefulness. However if you are selling food and want to get the same results, you definitely want to follow good manufacturing practices.

Making and selling cosmetics has always been accurately monitored and I think that the most crucial things have to be practiced even when the cosmetics are just for you, your friends or relatives.

Maybe it sounds a bit of exaggerating, but nobody likes to get food poisoning from bad food. The same goes with the cosmetics, just instead of poisoning one can get serious skin rashes or even skin diseases.

And to prevent that good manufacturing practices (GMP) come in handy. These are the regulations that are constantly updated and each manufacturing company has to follow in order to sell anything. But here I will write just a few guidelines that I think are the most important for making cosmetics.

So let‘s get started!  

5 KEY ELEMENTS OF Good manufacturing practices (GMP)

1. PRIMARY INGREDIENTS AND PRODUCTS

Probably the most important element in any production. These regulations make sure that materials were safe in the first place and thus the product should be good as well.

GUIDELINES:

a) keep your ingredients the way it is specified by the manufacturer. Some of these ingredients degrade by sunlight, high temperature, moisture and etc. Decide where you can best keep these materials so they will be good to use.

Storage-boxes

I usually keep my ingredients in boxes by the category, so I can easily find what I want. And the other more important thing is that all of my ingredients are protected from sun exposure.

b) keep an eye for the shelf life of your raw ingredients because even when you keep them in a good environment conditions, some of these ingredients have the natural ability to go bad. For example: oils go rancid after some time (some quicker, some slower) but they go bad just because of their chemical composition. Use only those ingredients which shelf life has not expired yet.

c) measure things by weight not in volume like ‘spoons’. It is way more precise than ‘drops’, ‘cups’, etc. This even can make a big difference in baking and it definitely has an impact when making cosmetics. It is not so important when making face masks from mashed avocado, youghurt or something similar, but it does matter for the more precise formulations. 

d) write it down when you have started a new batch of the ingredient. If you have the same raw material from different suppliers, make sure to note this as well as they may not be of the same quality and can behave a bit differently when making cosmetics.

The origin, processing, storage and other factors determine the ingredient and it is your responsibility to get the check these things before buying.

e) use different and clean measuring spoon / pipette for each ingredient. And if you got more than you needed – remember, the taken out ingredient can never go back to where it came from. This is done to avoid contamination if the measuring spoon was dirty.

Also, if some of your ingredient has spilled and got to touch the work surface – it should be discarded as well. Maybe it sounds too harsh and seems like a big waste, but it is better to throw away a bit of your ingredient than to contaminate your whole batch of the raw material or your final product.

f) if there is no dropper included with the liquid ingredient use a pipette to measure small amounts – don‘t just pour ingredient straight from the bottle.

But there are some exceptions – for example if you need a large amount of oil in your formulation pour some of it straight from the bottle. But the last drops should still be measured by pipette as you can easily pour more than you need and the whole formulation would be inaccurate.

g) always label each product that you have made.

2. PREMISES AND EQUIPMENT

These regulations make sure that premises and equipment are in good condition, common pieces are replaced when necessary. 

GUIDELINES:

a) always clean your workspace with 70% alcohol solution before and after each use. This should also be done with your equipment such as immersion blender, spatulas, beakers and anything that you are using for that time. This will ensure that your final product will be as clean as possible and maintain a better shelf life.

b) for the first several times you can use the same equipment from your kitchen (just to make sure you like the process and do not spend more money than it is necessary). However in the long run you want to have separate equipment for making cosmetics and for making food. This is essential to avoid cross contamination (unwanted things in your recipe that could have been avoided). And I really mean this, even the measuring spoons should be separate.

Guidelines-for-making-safe-cosmetics

DOWNLOAD a checklist of safety guidelines

This is a checklist of guidelines that are important for making safe to use cosmetics. Print it and hang it in your workplace so you would see them often and implement straight away!

3. PEOPLE

They should be qualified and trained to be able to do their job correctly. And their knowledge should be reassessed on a regular basis.

GUIDELINES:

a) get to know the formulation procedure before making the product – this will help you save time and you will be prepared with your equipment.

b) always wear gloves and if needed dust mask / safety goggles. But gloves are essential and should be worn at all times. They carry much less microbes than our hands and it is an effective way to avoid getting more microbes into your final product.

Glove-lactic-acid

4. PROCEDURES

They should be constantly updated as technology is moving forward, the processes should be documented so everyone can take a look at the procedure and be able to redo it easily.

GUIDELINES:

a) take notes how exactly you have made every product. It sounds silly at first, but after a while (a month or two) you will not remember every important detail, so the notes are your life saver.

    If you have it written, it will be much easier to redo those formulations once again and see what was working well or not so well.

    5. PROCESSES

    They usually refer to the documentation that every procedure was done following the rules. Auditors usually inspect manufacturing places / laboratories and make sure that they follow the GMP rules – procedures, storage conditions, etc.

    This element is very important for those who sell their products, though here we are concentrating on your cosmetic journey, fun, inspiration and making cosmetics without the worry of selling them.

    This is definitely not a complete list of the rules that people should follow. There are lots and lots of things that companies should do before selling the products, but these are the guidelines that I think are the most important for every cosmetic maker and should be done on a regular basis.

    I hope that these guidelines don’t sound too strict, but they do serve a purpose even when we don’t want to do them. And this is the key component on the mindset of making safe to use cosmetics for yourself or for your loved ones.

    Have any thoughts on this? What rules do you think should be done in addition to the listed ones? Comment below as I would love to know your opinion.

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