On today’s episode, which is the second in a two part series, we’re deep diving on the steps that go into actually making your Korean beauty products. If you’re keen to know how a K-Beauty product gets made from start to finish, then tune in!
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It is critically important to understand the key regulations in the country the products will be sold into. The Korean sunscreen scandal has demonstrated the problems that can arise when brands try to sell into markets where their products are not compliant.
In Australia, there is a broad range of legislation that applies to the sale and import of cosmetics, such as:
And that’s just to name a few!
Probably the hardest part of the whole process, especially in Korea where so many of the labs are in such high demand you probably won’t even get a response from them unless you’re an established brand. Then, there’s the problem of Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs).
As we discussed in last week’s episode, there are a few ways brands can do this - make the formula themselves from scratch, outsource it to another company, hire a cosmetic chemist to make it for them or even just use an existing formula and whack their label on it. There are pluses and minuses to each of these approaches, as in some of these cases the brand will not end up actually owning its own formula.
Again, it’s not as simple as just finding a prototype you like; the packaging needs to fit with the formula and be able to pass various stress tests. Oftentimes, the packaging MOQ will be very high so brands will be constrained in what they are able to purchase if starting with smaller volumes.
Packaging designers are a little bit different than regular graphic designers because they are intimately familiar with the layout of boxes, and how the design all fits together, as well as the key symbols and labels that need to go onto a cosmetics box.
These tests are often not required by law (i.e the FDA and European Commission don’t require them) but they are good practice. Some of the tests include:
There are 3 basic types of stability tests. They are testing
The amount of time it takes to develop a beauty product doesn’t necessarily correlate to quality - basically unless the brand is creating something entirely new that doesn’t already exist, the process can be relatively quick and this is how K-Beauty brands have been able to respond to market trends so quickly as well.
Producing the product involves the coming together of a lot of different elements - the formula, the packaging and the outer box. This process can be quick if everything is able to be delivered at the same time and the lab has the capacity to make and fill the formula or it can take a long time.
Once the products are made, the next process is quality control. It’s important to check for defects in the packaging, in the printing, whether the product has been filled to the right level.
In any manufacturing process, a certain amount of products can be expected to have defects in them. Most manufacturers will make allowances for this in their contract with the brand and specify an amount of defects that they consider to be ‘normal’. This usually accounts for products with the packaging, printing or labelling rather than the formula itself.
"The amount of time it takes to develop a beauty product doesn’t necessarily correlate to quality - basically unless the brand is creating something entirely new that doesn’t already exist, the process can be relatively quick"- Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show Podcast
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