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Product Specifications and C of A’s – A New Service for Realize Beauty

June 11, 2012

August 2017 UPDATE.

It seems that Amazon requires a C of A for people wishing to retail on their site.  I can produce C of A’s for customers but the customer has to have a quality control system in place or else the C of A is useless.

If you are coming here from Amazon please be aware that they will most likely want an accredited quality control certification such as found in the ISO standards.  If you are just a small brand who is looking for help setting up their own in-house systems for your retail market then that’s what I can help with – the PRE Iso steps and testing.

If you are selling on Amazon you should be able to get this from your manufacturer. If you have no manufacturer (you are it) then unless you have the quality assurance certification behind you you can’t meet their requirements. I hope that is clearer.

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Product Specifications and Certificates of Analysis are essential for brands seeking entry into most overseas markets and are often requested as part of the product information pack.  A specification should outline the main physical characteristics of your product so that importers and stockists can ensure that what they receive matches your standard.  A Certificate Of Analysis demonstrates to your overseas client that you are operating a quality control system and have analytical standards in place.

What we need from customers:

Customers must have a quality control procedure implemented that includes batch records as without that the C of A becomes worthless.

3 x 300g of each product that requires a spec.   Each of the three samples should be from different batches if possible.  You can get your samples and packaging back after the testing if you wish.

Three face creams of different batches

NB:  We can produce specifications with less material but may not be able to measure all aspects of the product.  In addition with less product we may have to err on the side of caution and make the range figures larger.  This is not idea but should be adequate for most cosmetic products. 

The costs:

From $150 per product, depending on product complexity.

The Time Frame:

Our usual turn-around time is 1-2 weeks depending on how many products you have to test. If we need third-party assay results the testing can take longer.

 What type of Products Need a Spec/ C of A?

All products but the testing varies for powders vs oils vs water containing liquids vs solids.

What is on a typical Product Specification?

A typical Product Specification tests to some or all of these criteria:

pH

Viscosity

Specific Gravity

Colour

Odour

Optical Rotation (for oils)

Form

An example of one of our specifications is given below:

A Typical Specification

Values are usually expressed as a range and while some products have a tight range of variables for others the range can be quite large (this is the case for some naturals).   In cases where there is a large variation in figures an explanation is usually required.

What about a Certificate Of Analysis?

A Typical C of A

A typical Certificate Of Analysis measures each manufactured batch against the spec although it is not always necessary to measure every aspect on every batch.

The C of A is part of your quality control system and is an easy way of seeing if your batch meets the agreed specification.

Specifications are usually developed over time and typically become tighter as batch history grows.  Every product needs a specification before it can go to manufacture but the first specification is usually classed as ‘experimental’ and is typically broad in range.   The product is usually tested 1-3 days after manufacturing to ensure that the product has settled and a ‘manufacturing’ spec is usually produced after three or four batches have been produced.

Once the specification is set each subsequent batch is measured against it and the actual values (rather than a range) are recorded against each batch.

Do I need this if I manufacture at home or on a small scale?

Having a manufacturing specification and producing a Certificate of Analysis for each batch is not a legal requirement in Australia but it is a good idea for anyone serious about their skin care business.     Also it is an excellent way to prove to your customers, your insurance company and the ACCC that you are taking quality control seriously and monitoring each batch for consistency.  Keeping records like this is also a good first-step towards implementing a recognised quality control system that incorporates a Good Manufacturing Practice standard across your business.

If you are interested in finding out more or booking in some testing drop us an e-mail:  amanda@realizebeauty.com

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