Efficacy is Everything
Claims sell products, and testing labs provide marketers with the sites, services and scientific proof they need to stand behind them.
As consumers become savvier regarding the skin care, cosmetics and household products they use every day, formulators must do more than package the same old cream, lip product or cleanser and ship it off to retailers. After all, according to some industry estimates, more than 150,000 personal care products debut on store shelves every year. Unfortunately for most, they never celebrate a one-year anniversary. To stay competitive in this increasingly competitive market, today’s most successful companies are constantly investigating the latest in raw material technology to deliver improved results.
By incorporating more robust actives, marketers have developed increasingly sophisticated products and are making greater claims about what these products can do for consumers. Nowhere else is this more apparent than in skin care, a market being fueled by the anti-aging craze. From mass to class, skin care treatments are boasting greater and multiple claims.
The reason is simple: “What sells products, along with packaging, are claims,” said Craig Weiss, president of Consumer Product Testing Co. in Fairfield, NJ.
It should come as no surprise then, that labs are reporting an increased demand for testing that incorporates a multitude of factors.
“There has been a shift from single piece efficacy studies to multiple piece,” Mr. Weiss noted. “Companies want to test wrinkle reduction, skin firmness and tone, all in a single product.”
For example, a skin care marketer recently came to Consumer Product Testing Co. wanting to run a large-scale wrinkle reduction study with five different efficacy tests and 400 participants. In this 12-week study, the company’s goal was to compare clinical significance including wrinkle reduction, evenness of skin tone, elasticity, firmness, moisturization and external changes. “They wanted to have a complete package,” Mr. Weiss said.
Need for Testing Grows
Business has been booming for testing companies serving the personal care marketplace, fueled in many cases by the entrepreneurial nature of the beauty business.
“Venues like Sephora and QVC have created so much interest in getting into the business,” said David Hinden of Verona, NJ-based Essex Testing Clinic, Inc. “These outlets have made it possible for dermatologists, plastic surgeons and niche marketers to become hugely successful. Smaller companies are acting like the major players to insure product safety and efficacy.”
But in the race to get the latest in cosmetic technology on the shelf, marketers run a risk of losing valuable customer trust (and dollars) if a product falls short of expectations. Smart consumers can usually recognize something that’s too good to be true. If a company can’t back the hype with sound science and proven results, consumers will quickly take their hard-earned dollars elsewhere.
With such a strong focus on anti-aging and money to be made from appearance-conscious consumers willing to pay top dollar, there’s added pressure to go further with claims.
“We are beginning to see companies ‘push the envelope’ of the cosmetic claims,” said Mr. Hinden.
Using Science to Sell
Marketers have always turned to testing service companies to ascertain the safety and efficacy of their products and get the claims support they require. What’s different nowadays is how personal care marketers are more heavily promoting this to consumers.
In Europe, for example, the Nivea brand has enjoyed its stature as a quality skin care line with a focus on safety and excellent skin compatibility. When it was ready to relaunch its Nivea Baby line last year, Beiersdorf decided to put a greater emphasis on the line’s extensive dermatological testing, which included stringent in vitro and in vivo compatibility tests. The company worked with an external contract research institute to accomplish studies under supervision of a dermatologist and a pediatrician.
The relaunch was accompanied by a campaign that more strongly emphasized the line’s clinical testing, with advertisements providing more detailed information about product benefits, according to Beiersdorf.
"Clinical tests have always been a standard in the development of Nivea Baby products,” commented Ingo Hahn, lab manager product development skin care, for Beiersdorf AG in Hamburg, Germany. “However, with rising expectations of parents regarding product safety and skin compatibility in baby care, we decided to put more emphasis on this fact with the brand relaunch in 2005, providing our consumers with even more insights in the extremely high standards of the Nivea Baby product safety policy.”
Enhancing Their Capabilities
With a greater emphasis being placed on the efficacy and safety of their products, personal care marketers are asking for more from testing providers. The major issues faced by testing labs include the increased demands for multi-faceted tests as well as faster turnaround times and tighter budget constraints. Many firms have invested in their businesses, adding new and more sophisticated equipment and services to meet the increasing demands of their personal care and household products customers.
Essex Testing has recently added the Canfield VISIA CR—which delivers standardized image capture for wrinkles and fine lines, skin texture, coloration/evenness, photodamage, vascular features and porphyrins—and Image Pro Software. Mr. Hinden said the firm is also acquiring “instruments with non-invasive applications” for measuring collagen and pigmentation.
With a heavy focus on wrinkle reduction, Consumer Product Testing has invested in a Primrose 3D imaging system, which delivers measurement of wrinkle reduction in situ, delivering speed and accuracy, according to Mr. Weiss.
In addition, Mr. Weiss said the emphasis on everyday sun protection in skin care is also fueling demand for SPF-related testing. “We offer chemistry, which is very important for the SPF market. As drug products, they need to undergo complete cGMP testing, including release and stability. Our chemistry department, in conjunction with our photobiology department, allows us to conduct final formulation to market testing for this industry.”
Offering expanded services is another way testing labs look to build their business and set them apart from other providers.
Along those lines, BioScreen Testing Services, Torrance, CA, has added Asian subject panels for Repeat Insult Patch Testing (RIPT) in China. Starting this fall, Asian subject panels will run in China at a major university, with all testing to be overseen by dermatologists who will manage the entire study process.
Clinical Research Laboratories’ newly expanded 25,000+ sq.ft. bioinstrumentation laboratory provides the newest in claims support technology as well as a micro laboratory which specializes in testing of antimicrobial products, disinfectants, mouth rinses, toothpastes, antibiotics and sanitizers, the company reports.
Making capital investments is critical for all testing labs that want to grow their business. Earlier this year, Hill Top Research was acquired by DW Healthcare Partners (DWHP), a Salt Lake, UT-based private equity firm. The acquisition will allow Hill Top to expand capacity, add new technical capabilities and provide additional resources for growth. In addition, the acquisition will also provide funds to be earmarked for growth initiatives, including further expansion into the personal care and oral care markets and possible industry acquisitions, according to DWHP.
Selecting a Partner
Testing services companies are building their arsenals with one basic goal: they want to be providers of choice. But marketers must make sound decisions when it comes to selecting their testing partners. Choosing the wrong company can set a timeline back substantially, which could potentially compromise a product’s scheduled launch date.
For example, Essex Testing recently received a call from a company that urgently needed a fairly simple efficacy test. According to Mr. Hinden, the day before the company’s study was to begin, the client’s lab said they were unable to do the study, even though it had been placed there two months prior. Luckily, Essex Testing was able to step in and help out.
“We normally start studies, large and small, within one to two weeks after we receive the product,” said Mr. Hinden, who was also surprised that the client was willing to wait two months to begin the test in the first place. “In this industry, timing is everything.”
Looking for a new testing service provider? Choose one from the list below.
Unit 4 Enterprise House
Manchester Science Park
Lloyd Street North
Manchester M15 6SE
Tel: (44) 161 232 4690
Fax: (44) 161 232 4699
Specialties: Clinical safety and efficacy testing for personal care, oral care and nutritional products.
Advanced Testing Laboratory, Inc.
6954 Cornell Road, Suite 200
Cincinnati, OH 45242
Tel: (513) 489-8447
Fax: (513) 489-9291
Specialties: Microbiology and analytical chemistry testing services. We specialize in the personal care, health, and beauty industries.
P.O. Box 171087
Irving, TX 75017
Specialties: Formulation analysis, cleaning performance, accelerated shelf life testing.
Atlas Materials Testing
4114 N. Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
Specialties: Natural and accelerated weathering testing.
Australian Photobiology Testing
Suite 204-205 Ross St. Building AO3, University of Sydney
New South Wales 2006, Australia
Tel: 61 2 9351 3878
Fax: 61 2 9351 4732
Specialties: Specializing in sunscreen SPF determination; and irritation, allergy, and anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, skin lightening, moisturization testing, and claim substantiation on human skin. Skin testing to international standards, to the industry worldwide. Established for 20 years.
BioScreen Testing Services, Inc.
3904 Del Amo Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503
Tel: (310) 214-0043
Fax: (310) 370-3642
Specialties: Analytical chemistry testing, microbiological testing, sunscreen analysis, SPF determination, claim substantiation, raw materials and OTC product testing, human patch testing, stability testing and storage.
11 Commerce Blvd.
Middleboro, MA 02346
Specialties: Brookfield’s state-of-the-art laboratory offers a variety of viscosity testing services capable of measuring Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids using a wide range of spindle geometries. Detailed test results include equipment and measurement system description, viscosity data which includes appropriate tables and graphs, and any recommendations pertinent to your specific material and associated method.
Chemir Analytical Services
2672 Metro Blvd
Maryland Heights, MO
Specialties: Formulation, deformulation/reformulation, impurity profiles, degradation studies, contaminant identification, method development, method validation, failure analysis and chemical analysis of packaging.
Clinical Research Laboratories, Inc.
371 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Specialties: Clinical Research Labor-atories, Inc. (CRL) provides a wide range of clinical safety and efficacy testing for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Conveniently located in central New Jersey, CRL is dedicated to conducting human clinical test procedures to determine the safety and efficacy of cosmetic, personal care and OTC drug products. Areas of expertise include dermatology, photobiology, ophthalmology, bioinstrumentation, microbiology, cosmetology, consumer research evaluation and clinical trials. CRL offers specialized expertise in the testing of antimicrobial products, disinfectants, mouth rinses, toothpastes, antibiotics and sanitizers.
Consumer Product Testing Co., Inc.
70 New Dutch Lane
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Tel: (973) 808-7111
Fax: (973) 244-7507
Specialties: Consumer Product Testing Company, incorporated in 1975, is a private contract testing laboratory. CPTC initially provided toxicological services to the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, personal care, chemical and household product industries. The company has expanded its capabilities to include analytical chemistry services, clinical safety, efficacy, claims validation, microbiology, sterility testing and in vitro toxicology testing services.
Dermatology Consulting Services
2444 North Main Street
High Point NC 27262
Fax: (336) 841-2044
Specialties: Claims substantiation, clinical evaluation, formulation optimization, sensitive skin panels, novel study design.
141 Quai de Valmy
Paris, 75010 France
Tel: (33) 1 53358230
Fax: (33) 1 53358231
Specialties: In-vivo testing for cosmetic and dermatological cosmetics and toiletries products. Tailor made testing adapted to client needs.
Essex Testing Clinic, Inc.
799 Bloomfield Avenue
Verona, NJ 07044
Tel: (973) 857-9541
Fax: (973) 857-9662
Specialties: Clinical testing for product safety, efficacy and marketing claims.
Euroderm Research Ltd.
10 Village Square, Chelmer Village
Chelmsford, Essex CM2 6RF UK
Tel: (44) 1245 451421
Fax: (44) 1245 451958
Specialties: Safety, efficacy and acceptability studies.
5475 Pare, Suite 206
Mont-Royal Quebec H4P 1P7 Canada
Tel: (514) 343-0001
Fax: (514) 343-9996
Specialties: Evalulab specializes in tolerance, efficacy and consumer preference testing for personal care and natural health products. Our aim is to help manufacturers and marketing firms to predict and boost the success potential of their products and to substantiate their marketing claims with reliable data.
Gibraltar Laboratories, Inc.
122 Fairfield Road
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Tel: (973) 227-6882
Fax: (973) 227-0812
Specialties: Gibraltar Laboatories, Inc. performs microbiology and chemistry testing services. We are ISO 17025 accredited in the areas of quality control release as well as stability, cleaning validation, process validation, raw materials qualification and method development/validation services.
Harrison Research Laboratories, Inc.
2497 Vauxhall Road
Union, NJ 07083
Tel: (908) 688-7600
Fax: (908) 688-7601
Specialties: HRL is an independent research organization. We perform human safety, efficacy and claim substantiation testing of cosmetics, sunscreen and hair products. Our testing capabilities include patch tests, phototoxicity/photoallergy tests, SPF/PFA, ocular tests and use tests.
36 rue Forges (13008 Marseille)
Marseille, France 13008
Specialties: In vitro method for sun protection (SPF, UVA, photostability); supplier of Helioplates; PMMA substrate for in vitro testing.
PO Box 138
Miamiville, OH 45147
Tel: (800) 785-2693
Fax: (513) 831-1217
Specialties: Safety testing, efficacy testing, claims substantiation, sensory testing and microbiology testing.
17751 Sky Park East, Ste. G
Irvine, CA 92861 USA
Tel: (800) 246-8487; (949) 851-8356
Fax: (949) 851-4985
Specialties: Lowest cost, fastest, non-animal dermal and ocular irritation; also dermal corrosivity.
via Bruschetti, 1
Milano 20125 Italy
Tel: (39) 67100695
Fax: (39) 67381628
Specialties: Safety (dermatological, ophthalmological, other safety programs); efficacy, in use (dermal, hair, dental, photobiology/SPF, antiperspirant); sensory analysis (QDA, pair comparison, ranking, triangle, home use); regulatory services (consulting
claim substantiation, formulation).
Metuchen Analytical, Inc.
101 Liberty Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840 USA
Tel: (800) 8484-LAB; (732) 321-5200
Fax: (732) 321-5203
Specialties: Specialists in research chemistry, microbiology and materials science (materials failure analysis, dentification of unknowns.) Analytical research services in chemistry, microbiology, and materials science for pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and packaging. Compendial analysis, containers, DSC, OVI, and TOC. Identification of unknown residues.
AI Mildmay Industrial Estate
Burnham on Crouch Essex
CM0 8SH UK
Tel: (44) 1621 785355
Fax: (44) 1621 785585
Specialties: Microbiology testing of topical products including cosmetics and toiletries.
145 South Main Street, P.O. Box 147
Hightstown, NJ 08520
Tel: (609) 443-4848
Fax: (609) 443-5293
Specialties: Child-resistant package testing, microbiological testing and process water system testing.
proDERM Institute for Applied Dermatological Research GmbH
Kiebitzweg 2, Schenefeld
Hamburg 22869 Germany
Tel: (49) 40-839-358-0
Fax: (49) 40-839-358-39
Specialties: Planning, conduct and evaluation of clinical trials in the following fields: dermatology, cosmetology, ophthalmology and dentistry. Consultation in the areas of dermatotoxicology and dermatopharmacology.
Q Laboratories, Inc.
1400 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45214-1606
Tel: (513) 471-1300
Fax: (513) 471-5600
Specialties: Microbiology and analytical chemistry
Q Research Solutions, Inc.
Renaissance Corporate Center
3548 Route 9, South, 2nd Floor
Old Bridge NJ, 08857
Tel: (732) 952-0000
Fax: (732) 952-0001
E-mail: BethP@whoisq.com, LisaB@whoisq.com
Specialties: Total opinion research solutions that are rapid and budget friendly for consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical and healthcare.
55 Railroad Avenue
Ridgefield, NJ 07657
Specialties: Qualimax is an independent analytical contract laboratory with qualified and experienced team of scientists. An FDA registered, inspected and GMP laboratory, Qualimax is an ultimate outsourcing laboratory providing accurate, reliable, on time and cost effective results for all analytical needs. A summary of tests performed are: all USP/NF, FCC, AOAC, BP, EP, JP, CTFA, FDA/BAM, in-vitro sunscreen analysis (SPF), active sunscreen analysis, microbiology, zinc oxide, titanium oxide, raw materials, finished products, all wet chemistry related tests.
Rapid Precision Testing Laboratory
8225 Rockcreek Parkway
Cordova, TN 38016
Tel: (901) 386-0175
Fax: (901) 386-7218
Specialties: Rapid Precision specializes in on-site precision spectral measurement of light sources used in drug and cosmetic testing and certification that the sources meet appropriate standards. In addition to NIST traceable spectral measurement, our laboratory has unique photometric capabilities in order to provide various photostability and other phototests for a variety of product s and materials using a variety of different light sources and monochromators.
28 Belmont Park Avenue
SL6 6JS UK
Tel: (44) 1628-620454
Fax: (44) 7770-926955
Specialties: Consultancy services for UK and European cosmetic toiletry and healthcare products, covering legal compliance, product information packs for UK/EU, manufacturer assessment/audits, project management, supplier selection, customer liaison, quality management, product development and manufacture, crisis planning and avoidance. Product areas include: hair care, skin care, bath and shower, body care, oral hygiene, antiperspirants and deodorants, sun care, baby care, bodysprays and fragrances, men’s toiletries.
Vine House, New Street
Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2DX UK
Tel: (44) 1531 637400
Fax: (44) 1531 631554
Specialties: Safety and efficacy testing of cosmetics, medical devices and pharmaceutical.
151 E. 10th Ave.
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Tel: (610) 825-4792
Fax: (610) 825-5257
Specialties: Bioengineering-ultrasound, PRIMOS, OCT, image analysis, clinical photography, environmental chamber, scanning laser doppler.
Solar Light Company Inc.
100 East Glendside Avenue
Glenside, PA 19038
Tel: (215) 517-8700
Fax: (215) 517-8747
Specialties: Solar Light is recognized worldwide as a manufacturer of precision UV light sources, solar simulators, radiometers, and detectors. Its solar simulators can precisely reproduce the solar ultraviolet spectrum as well as full spectrum sun light, providing output levels from one to 30 times the intensity of the sun. These light sources are used for clinical testing, SPF sunscreen testing, photobiology research, phototoxicity evaluations, photoallergy studies, material testing and UV curing.
238, Rue Giraudeau
Tours, 37210 France
Tel: (33) 2-47-62-79
Fax: (33) 2-47-37-58-28
Specialties: Specialist in in vivo efficacy tests since 1991, we provide tailor-made solutions to meet your most original problems. As a partner in your development, whether in France or in Asia, we provide our support for the realization of your scientific projects. Our specificity: to propose innovative techniques such as 3D morphology, topography, digital image analysis, to prove your claims with originality.
Structure Probe, Inc.
P.O. Box 656
West Chester, PA 19381-0656
Tel: (610) 436-5400
Fax: (610) 436-5755
Specialties: Claims substantiation and ingredients characterization using electron microscopy.
Suncare Research Laboratories, LLC
2518 B Reynolda Road
Winston Salem, NC 27106
Tel: (336) 725-6501
Fax: (336) 725-6503
Specialties: SPF, UVA protection; in vitro critical wavelength and photostability; photoallergy/phototox.
601 Prospect Avenue
Princeton, NJ 08540 USA
Tel: (609) 924-3150
Fax: (609) 683-7149
Specialties: Expertise in understanding the effects of treatments on hair: body, shine, strength, manageability, product build-up, coloring, moisturizing, perming, straightening, blow-drying, sunlight and pollution. Services include claims substantiation, product evaluation, consulting, instrument development, method development, proprietary contract research, consortia research projects and professional education courses.