In May, for example, Consumer Reports released findings that claimed many sunscreens on store shelves didn’t live up to the SPF numbers touted on their packs. Of the 65 water-resistant lotions, sprays, and sticks with SPF claims of 30 or higher that CR tested, 43% tested below their advertised sun protection level, with two kids’ sunscreens with SPF 50 tested at just SPF 8. Mineral-based sunscreens were far more likely to fall short of their promises, according to CR. The company found that 74% of the mineral sunscreens it tested did not meet their SPF claim.
Experts that Happi spoke with, including Marc J. Shaffer, president of Clinical Research Laboratories, LLC, noted the uptick in activity regarding SPF claims. His company recently expanded its operation by acquiring Suncare Research Laboratories, a Winston-Salem, NC provider of specialized testing in SPF, UVAPF, phototoxicity and photoallergenicity with a client base that includes major sunscreen manufacturers in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as start-up biotechnology firms and private entrepreneurs. The deal included Suncare’s 4,000 sq. ft. facility near the campus of Wake Forest University.
“The combination of our two companies is highly strategic as it expands CRL’s geographic reach and materially increases panelist pool access and clinical testing capacity,” said Shaffer.
Other providers are also expanding their sun care testing expertise and capabilities to meet the demand. IDEA Test says its solar evaluation center in Lille, France (known as IDEA Sun) has two study rooms for SPF, UVAPF determinations and water resistance evaluation of sun care products. In addition, its clinical center in Bangkok is dedicated to sun care tests on Asian panels.
But not only are traditional sun protection products under the microscope these days, SPF claims in color cosmetics can also be a concern for beauty companies—think pressed powders and foundations that offer sun protection in a wide range of different shades.
“There’s a gray area in the industry when it comes to foundation and makeup and SPF testing,” noted Brian R. Ecclefield, international sales manager, AMA Laboratories, Inc. While some companies have historically tested compound products when dealing with an array of shades, Ecclefield said he’s seeing more push back from FDA asking companies to test each individual component product.
According to Pascal Yvon, IDEA Tests Group is receiving more requests for anti-pollution claims, no doubt stemming from the rise of alphabet creams and multi-benefit anti-aging skin care products that promise to protect skin from other environmental hazards.
“As the industry learns more about the different wavelengths of radiation that are emitted from the sun, we’ve come to the common consensus that UVA and UVB rays are not the only damaging forms of energy reaching the surface of the earth. Accordingly, AMA has developed proprietary techniques to differentiate your product and help show how it may offer better protection than its competitors,” said Ecclefield, noting that AMA is answering clients’ needs with infrared protection factor and high energy visible light testing techniques.
In addition, IDEA Test’s Yvon reports great demand for sensory evaluation as well as increased interest in studies concerning the skin microbiome, both hot areas of skin care formulation and R&D.
Speed & Specialization
Regardless of their size or scope or the project at hand, beauty, household and personal care companies share a common demand: accurate, fast and low-cost test results.
“Accuracy and speed will always be demanded of safety testing laboratories in these markets,” said Richard Ulmer, president and CEO of InVitro International, Plancetia, CA. In one case, InVitro’s expertise with Ocular Irritection, which has been accepted by REACH/GHS, helped a large cosmetic company meet a one-week deadline for their HSN TV schedule “with confidence all around.”
“For cosmetic companies, speed is always an issue,” agreed Shaffer.
But in addition to fast turnaround, testing experts interviewed by Happi say they are tailoring their services to help their customers.
IDEA Tests, for example, recently worked with a skin-, body- and hair care brand from Australia that wanted to launch a facial cleansing brush, but wanted to be sure the product would work at least as well as the three leaders already on the market. IDEA helped the client get “significant results” by building a tailor-made protocol. IDEA also helped another company assess the effectiveness of an antiperspirant product in extreme conditions in a state-of-art evaluation room that has highly customizable humidity and temperature control features.
“This new room offers cosmetics companies and cosmetic ingredient suppliers the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of their formulas or antiperspirant molecules under strictly controlled conditions of humidity and temperature,” noted Dr. Anne Casoli, head of IDEA Clinic.
The room can even be equipped with treadmills to simulate situations of intense physical effort, according to the company, which maintains this may uncover interesting applications in hair care to test anti-frizz and anti-humidity hair products as well as in makeup, skin care and sun care products to assess the formula resistance to moisture or perspiration.
Meeting Client’s Need
The one-size-fits-all approach may not work for a beauty and personal care company looking for that wow factor or claim that will help them stand out from the competition.
“We make sure that we aren’t giving them what we have, we are giving them what they need,” noted Shaffer of Clinical Research Laboratories, which now touts the Clarity Research 3D system, which combines cutting edge 2D and 3D capabilities by utilizing front and side scans to create a high density mesh model in three dimensions. 3D facial contour analysis, lip texture and volume analysis, 3D acne scar visualization, and subsurface pigment detection are just some of the measurements of which this system is capable, according to the firm.
3D imaging and printing is also big at AMA. Its PolyChrommetrix technique demonstrates product efficacy at the tactile level. According to Ecclefield, with PolyChrommetrix you can put before and after prints directly into potential retailers’, investors’, consumers’ or distributors’ hands so that the difference that your product make is apparent.
Continuous improvement is also a characteristic seen at top testing labs. Quantex Laboratories, for example, has been awarded ISO 17025 accreditation, a standard of testing excellence achieved by demonstrating technical competence, a robust quality system, precise and accurate tests, and suitably calibrated equipment.
“We’re proud of our ISO 17025 accreditation as it reflects the broad scope of our capabilities. Also, it’s gratifying to know that we’re one of the very few labs, nationally, to hold accreditation for elemental impurities,” said president and CEO James Menoutis, PhD.
Savvy testing companies also keep abreast of issues in other categories. For example, Menoutis said he is keeping an eye on moves to regulate elemental impurities in drugs, which could one day impact mineral sunscreens too.
With changing rules and regulations coming from Washington and heightened consumer expectations, personal care and beauty testing requirements will remain fluid. Experts at top-level testing companies consider themselves as critical partners that can help their clients navigate it all.
“Cosmetics and personal care can have either lax or ridged enforcement by FDA,” Menoutis told Happi. “It’s all about knowing what’s really necessary for our clients and customers, and how to accomplish that cost-effectively.”
Alliance Technologies, LLC
Monmouth Junction, NJ
Tel: (877) 962-5993
Fax: (732) 438-8265
Testing Specialties: Alliance Technologies is a full service, DEA licensed, and FDA registered and audited contract laboratory offering a wide range of chemical analysis and material testing services to a diverse, international client base. Our expertise and years of experience enable us to select the correct analytical approaches and generate the accurate data needed to solve your toughest problem. Some examples of testing for the cosmetic industry include: phthalates, heavy metals, residual solvents, parabens or Cr(VI).
AMA Laboratories, Inc.
New City, NY
Tel: (845) 634-4330
Fax: (845) 634-5565
Testing Specialties: AMA Laboratories conducts state-of-the-art testing in RIPT/Safety, Infrared Testing (IRPF), SPF Determinations, Claim Substantiation with Biophysical Measurements, In-Vitro Studies and unique Matched Scientific Photography (MSP) using AMA’s PhotoGrammetrix (PhGx) System. Advanced studies can enhance documented final report data with our PolyChrommetrix (PcMx) 3D modeling plus corporate and advertising video capabilities. The AMA system offers a newly developed proprietary concept of scientifically acquired, non-invasive “before and after” images which can be electronically measured. This unique system allows for matched high resolution photographs to be directly incorporated into our clients’ advertising and marketing materials for a truly sensational presentation format.
BioScreen Testing Services, Inc.
Tel: (310) 214-0043
Fax: (310) 370-3642
Testing Specialties: BioScreen Testing Services is a full service, GMP, human clinical, microbiology and analytical chemistry testing laboratory. BioScreen’s clinical services division conducts product safety and efficacy claim studies using a complete array of scientific instrumentation. The company also has sophisticated image capture and analysis software to provide the highest level of scientific image claim support. BioScreen’s clinical services include safety tests for irritation and sensitivity (HRIPT) on the skin and complete ophthalmologic safety tests. BioScreen specializes in customized studies to support product claims from moisturization, anti-aging, SPF and acne, to specialized scar, cellulite, esthetic and eyelash studies. Also offered are Asian subject panels and consumer use studies. BioScreen offers a complete array of analytical chemistry to serve OTC/cosmetic clients from raw material ingredients, sunscreen assay and heavy metals to photo stability, stability, and toxicological assessments. Our microbiological department conducts a compliment of specialized micro studies and ID methods plus more routine preservative testing, microbial plate count, log reduction and bacteriostasis studies.
Bria Research Labs and Testing Services
Tel: (847) 918-1774
Fax: (847) 816-1830
Middleboro, MA 02346
Tel: (508) 946-6200
Fax: (598) 946-6262
Canfield Scientific, Inc.
Tel: (973) 434-1200 or (800) 815-4330
Tel: (312) 476-1200
Fax: (312) 476-1201
Ceutical Laboratories, Inc.
Tel: (972) 241-8374
Fax: (972) 241-0619
St. Louis, MO
Tel: (800) 366-3867
Clinical Research Laboratories, LLC
Tel: (732) 981-1616
Fax: (732) 981-0520
Testing Specialties: Clinical Research Laboratories, LLC (CRL) operates as an independent contract laboratory providing a wide range of clinical safety and efficacy testing to the cosmetic, beauty products, personal care and pharmaceutical industries. 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. The company focuses its clinical expertise in the areas of dermatology, photobiology, ophthalmology, bioinstrumentation, microbiology, cosmetology, clinical trials, and associated services. CRL operates a 22,000 square foot clinical testing facility with approximately 75 employees in Piscataway, NJ.
Consumer Product Testing Company, Inc.
Tel: (973) 808-7111
Fax: (973) 808-7234
Testing Specialties: Celebrating our 40th year in business, CPTC has provided a full service GMP/GLP/GCP testing laboratory for the cosmetic, personal care, medical device, pharmaceutical and specialty chemical markets. Our capabilities include services in the clinical safety and efficacy, chemistry/microbiology/stability, photobiology, in-vitro toxicological fields and consultation. Our focus is on providing “Conception to Completion” service. We are proud to announce the addition of “Gluten Free” testing, FDA Import Detention testing and new “Bundle” pricing on Predictive Patch, Preservative and Ocular Irritation studies. Reach out and let us know how we can assist you in 2015.
Dermatest Medical Research
Tel: (49) 251-481637-0
Fax: (49) 251-481637-66
Essex Testing Clinic, Inc.
Tel: (973) 857-9541
Email: email@example.com, Don@essextesting.com
Testing Specialties: Human clinical evaluations performed for safety, efficacy and claims support of cosmetics, raw materials, toiletries, personal care, household, and dermal OTCs. With two facilities and a diverse subject base we specialize in a full range of tests, including but not limited to RIPT, SPF, In-Use, Anti-Aging, Patch, photosensitivity, Long Lasting, Waterproof, Comedogenicity, eye products, clinical and perception studies. Protocols developed for specific needs. Customer service is of utmost importance, accommodating even the tightest deadlines.
Montreal, QC, Canada
Tel: (514) 343-0001; (514-735-3253)
Email: Ewa Kulig, firstname.lastname@example.org
Testing Specialties: Evalulab is a contract research laboratory offering customized and standard clinical testing services to evaluate the safety, performance and consumer preference of skin care, cosmetics, personal care products, medical devices and raw materials.
Tel: (844) 220-6231
Harrison Research Laboratories, Inc.
Tel: (908) 688-7600
Fax: (908) 688-7601
Hill Top Research Incorporated
Tel: (727) 344-7602
IDEA Tests Group
Tel: FR: +33 556 64 82 33, US: (609) 705 3854
Contact: Pascal Yvon
Testing Specialties: IDEA TESTS Group specializes in the evaluation of cosmetic and personal care products for both ingredients and final formulations. IDEA provides a holistic approach and a wide range of services: In vitro OECD toxicology, efficacy, and microbiology tests, clinical studies to assess tolerance and efficacy, regulatory expertise to support your specific situation, Suncare product testing.
With seven evaluation centers and local presence in the US, IDEA provides its services to customers all over the world.
Tel: (855) 427-6583
Fax: (989) 832-5560
International Research Services, Inc.
Port Chester, NY
Tel: (914) 937-6500
Fax: (914) 937-8067
Placentia, CA 92870
(800) 246-8487, (949) 851-8356
Fax: (949) 851-4985
Testing Specialties: Least cost, fastest, validated as accurate: Ocular Irritection and Dermal Irritection. Final reports in as few as 36 hours; accuracy proven as high as 90+% vs animal results. More than a quarter century of satisfied customers with a published peer reviewed OECD study result available. GHS accepted Corrositex: least cost, fastest, and most accurate global leader in non-animal corrosion testing; results possible in 24 hours or less.
MB Research Laboratories
Testing Specialties: MB Research Labs has been dedicated to conducting cosmetic and personal care safety assessments for over 40 years. Our specialized services include, but are not limited to, in vitro dermal and eye irritation, dermal sensitization, and phototoxicity. We are an award-winning recognized leader in the development and use of in vitro/alternative toxicology. MB Research’s experience with both large and small manufacturers allows us to tailor our services and expertise to your needs. References can be provided upon request.
McCrone Associates, Inc.
Tel: (630) 887-7100
Micro Quality Labs Inc. (MQL Inc.)
Tel: (818) 845-0070
Fax: (818) 845-0030
Testing Specialties: Micro Quality Labs is an ISO 17025 certified lab, established in 2003 and offers a comprehensive range of contract testing services to the cosmetic, nutritional, pharmaceutical, OTC and household products industries. Services include analytical, stability testing (ICH guidelines), heavy metals, microbiology, method development and validation, environmental testing, water testing, pesticides/USP, 1,4 dioxane, amino acid testing and phthalates. We consider your product safety our top priority. Smart prevention is our primary focus.
Princeton Consumer Research
Testing Specialties: Princeton Consumer Research is a global consumer product testing company specializing in safety, efficacy and acceptability studies. PCR focuses on the cosmetic, skin, beauty, personal care and baby care industries. Their global headquarters in Princeton, NJ and their site in St. Petersburg, FL have the largest environmentally controlled rooms and hot rooms in the US. PCR also has 2 additional sites in the UK, and they have plans to open a site in Winnepeg, Canada in July 2017.
Product Integrity Laboratory LLC
Technical services: Product development and formulation, quality control and quality assurance, regulatory compliance, production troubleshooting. Over 30 years of experience helping companies with technical matters to protect their products and grow their companies.
Q Laboratories, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH, 45214
Tel: (513) 471-1300
Fax: (513) 471-5600
Testing Specialties: An FDA-registered, cGMP/GLP compliant, ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited analytical chemistry and microbiology laboratory. Services include: Method development and validation, microbial detection and enumeration, microbial identification, active ingredient analysis, raw material qualification, antimicrobial efficacy analysis and stability studies. Perform analyses on pharmaceuticals, OTCs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and health & care products.
Quality Assurance International
San Diego, CA
Tel: (858) 200-9708
Tel: (973) 575-5252
Fax: (973) 575-7175
Testing Specialties: It’s crucial for cosmetics and personal care products to be effective, stable and safe. SGS’ global quality assurance and performance services can help you ensure the quality, safety, efficacy and regulatory compliance of your products. Our laboratories and field operations offer tailor-made solutions to meet your chemical, physical, microbiological and claim support needs.
Solar Light Company, Inc.
Glenside, PA 19038
Tel: (215) 517-8700
Fax: (215) 517-8747
Suncare Research Laboratories
Winston Salem, NC
Tel: (336) 725-6501
Fax: (336) 725-6503