GMP for cosmetics

Do you wish to start selling your home-made cosmetics products?

Well pay attention because, although everybody can make homemade cosmetic products for them, their family and their friends, it’s a completely different story when you wish to sell them.

Your products indeed have to be compliant and regulatory… and this process firstly starts with the GMP.

What exactly is the GMP?

GMP stands for : Good Manufacturing Practices. A very important and delicate matter in the manufacturing cosmetic industry.

The GMP describes the basic principles for a facility that produces finished cosmetic products, it

was introduced in 2007 by the ICCR (International Cooperation Cosmetic Regulations, formed by the United States, Canada, European Union and Japan) and is linked to the ISO 22716 (International Standardization Organization)The Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009 requires that all cosmetic products sold into the EU market comply with GMP cosmetics as set out in the ISO 22716. Indeed as mentioned in the EU Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 the manufacture of cosmetic products shall comply with the good manufacturing practice with a view to ensuring the objectives of Article 1.

Compliance with good manufacturing practice shall be presumed where the manufacture is in accordance with the relevant harmonised standards, the references of which have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

What exactly is the purpose of the GMP?

The purpose of the GMP is to protect the consumers by enhancing the safety and quality of cosmetic products across the complete supply chain (from the producers of raw materials to manufacturers of the finished cosmetics products: design, formulation, manufacturing, packaging, storage, and shipping). It confirms that every step of the process is achieved safely, hygienically, and responsibly.

In summary, it is all the guidelines to follow in the complete supply chain that could impact product safety and quality to confirm the safeguarding of the safety and quality of the finished cosmetics products. For example (but not limited too):

  • Manufacturer’s employees:

The cosmetics Manufacturer must indeed ensure that his employees are trained (personnel hygiene and health), experienced, and qualified to correctly produce, store and control products to contribute to their safety and quality, with good hygiene and cleanliness.

  • Manufacturer’s environment:

The cosmetics manufacturer should always provide a safe (to minimize any risks of mixing up products, ingredients, and packaging materials) and hygienic environment (storage, production, quality control, washing, sanitization, toilet facilities, …) that minimizes the risk of contamination and ensure that cleaning and maintenance protocols are in place.

  • Manufacturer’s equipment:

All equipment should be suitable and only used for its purposes and should be adequately cleaned, sanitized, and maintained to prevent air contamination (such as dust or moisture).

  • Raw Materials:

All ingredients, raw materials, and packaging materials should ensure the quality of the finished product. Raw materials should be well organized and correctly labeled along with packaging materials to prevent mix-up with any products. The labels must also contain a batch/lot information so that they can be traced at any point in the manufacturing process.

  • Production:

A clearly written instructional document should clarify (in detail) how a specific production activity is conducted with:

  1. A list of the raw materials used, including their batch numbers and quantities (and the method of manufacture).
  2. Records created to capture all aspects of the production process.
  3. Measures taken every step of the way to ensure that the finished product meets its specifications.
  • Finished Products:

Before a finished product is placed on the market, it is necessary to verify the compliance with defined quality criteria (established by the company). Strict rules of storage must also be added for the finished products. Their quality must be maintained during storage operations, shipping, and product returns.

  •  Quality Control:

Quality refers to the stability of a cosmetic product, its preservation, and its overall function.

Expiration date, opening date and storage conditions must also be added on the finished products and this is all verified and confirmed with lab tests. Many of the tests that are required check that the quality of a product remains to a high standard. For example, any products containing water are at risk of contamination of microbial growth and will require sampled quality checks to ensure a product remains stable and passes challenge tests.

  • Complaints and Recalls:

Any complaints reported about cosmetic products should be reviewed, investigated, and followed-up on. This is a legal requirement as part of the cosmetics regulations. Steps to prevent a product defect from reoccurring should also be organized. If a high-risk safety or quality issue is suspected, a company must be capable of implementing a product recall quickly and efficiently.

Evidence of GMP can be provided in a number of various ways including a self-declaration as a manufacturer.

GMP for cosmetics: why it’s so important

It is a very important and delicate matter because the success of a cosmetic brand heavily relies on its capacity to produce effective, safe, high quality, and reputable cosmetic products. It is therefore very important to understand the fundamentals of GMP, it can indeed be extremely beneficial (through increased sales and driving brand loyalty by placing an emphasis on the quality, safety, and efficacy of the product) or horribly disadvantageous and damaging. It is therefore also one of the most important aspects in the cosmetic industry.

Following the GMP guidelines for home-made cosmetics products is therefore very difficult to achieve because of these GMP, unless you build a real cosmetic lab in your home (even if your finished cosmetic product is 100% organic, bio, natural, and if it’s only a mix of 2 products).

Once again, it is to protect the consumers by confirming that your finished cosmetics products are safe, hygienical and made responsibly.

For more information or help with this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Nicolas Lenaers

Business Development Representative


  • Frédéric Lebreux

    Dr. Frédéric Lebreux is Biorius's Chief Executive Officer and has worked in the cosmetic industry for more than 13 years. He is regularly invited as a speaker or Professor to cosmetic events.