How do I Become a Cosmetic Manufacturer?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A cosmetic manufacturer is a person who makes and sells beauty care products, hair care products, or makeup. Some manufacturers products and sell all three categories of cosmetics. Some focus on the development and sale of trend makeup. Others formulate products that are made from natural products.

A woman applying mascara, a type of cosmetic.
A woman applying mascara, a type of cosmetic.

If you want to become a cosmetic manufacturer, one of the first things to consider is the niche to which you will sell. What will be the price points of your products? What sets them apart from other cosmetics on the market? What group or groups of consumers will your products be right for? Once you have defined your niche, you can begin to develop your products.

A woman has blush applied to her cheeks.
A woman has blush applied to her cheeks.

Some cosmetics, especially those made will all natural ingredients, can be formulated right in your kitchen. Others, however, require the more controlled environment and equipment found in a cosmetics factory. When preparing to become a cosmetic manufacturer, you will have to consider what kind of equipment you will need in order to produce your products.

Before selling any of your products, it is important to make sure that all of the ingredients are safe. It is also key that your products are properly labeled. In the United States, for example, cosmetics must comply with regulations that are enforced by the Food and Drug Administration. If a cosmetic is found to break any of the rules set forth by the Food and Drug Administration, it can be recalled from the market.

One of the best ways to learn how to become a cosmetic manufacturer is to work for a cosmetics company before going out on your own. Once you have a vision of the kinds of products that you want to create, begin applying for jobs at companies that create similar products. This will give you an insider look at the industry before you start investing in your own company.

While preparing to become a cosmetic manufacturer, it is also quite helpful to educate yourself about the field by taking courses or even obtaining certificates in skin care and cosmetology. By learning more about how the skin responds to cosmetics and how to best apply them, you will have a better chance of being a success when you become a cosmetic manufacturer. It is also advisable to do as much market research as you can. Reading reviews of products and testing them for yourself is a great way to learn about the market.

A cosmetic manufacturer produces nail polish.
A cosmetic manufacturer produces nail polish.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


@feruze-- As far as I know, the FDA has regulations for manufacturers. You do have to have your products tested for any adverse and allergic effects. The FDA also regulates labels of products. Everything has to be according to the Good Manufacturing Procedures- the rules and regulations that the government has established for manufacturers.

I don't know too much about legal rights over formulas and labels. But if you're just starting out, you should probably work with a manufacturing consultant or a wholesale products manufacturer. The consultant can tell you which procedures and steps to go through, how to get testing done and do everything correctly and legally. Wholesale manufacturing companies basically manufacture and label the products for you and since they are already regulated by the government, you know that everything will be done correctly.

If you don't work with a manufacturing company or a consultant, you might end up spending a lot of money to manufacture your cosmetics and have them recalled from the market because the FDA found something you forgot to do. It would be a huge risk to take.


What kind of approvals and testing is required before selling cosmetic products?

If, for example, my cosmetics turn out to have a similar formula as another cosmetic brand's products, will I legally be in trouble even though it's unintentional?

Any advice on these things for someone just starting to manufacture and sell cosmetics?


My friend just opened her own online store for homemade and all natural bath products. She has been making natural soaps, shampoos and conditioners at home for years. I have used her products and they are amazing! She uses all organic natural oils and ingredients. Her family and friends (including myself) have always insisted that she sell these products.

She's finally set up her own little online shop where she takes her orders. Most of the products she makes last a really long time so keeps a full stock at her home and mails them out when she gets orders. People are loving her products and she is slowly getting more and more attention.

It's not very easy to be a cosmetic manufacturer. I think for one, you have to love what you do and also know your way with customer service. It might also be hard to keep up this work if you don't have anyone to help you. My friend gets help from her husband and cousins when she gets a lot of orders. It would be impossible if she tried to do it all alone.

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