Good Manufacturing Practices

GMP for Soap & Cosmetic Handcrafters by Marie Gale

Have been working on expanding my product line beyond the five lipstick colors. Look for flavored lip balm and lip gloss soon!

Because some of the flavors are combinations of flavors, from various manufacturers/distributors and each one has been balanced with different percentages, in addition, each flavor has it’s own color, depending on if it’s balm or gloss.   I suddenly have a large volume of data to manage, as well as different manufacturing specifications for the different products.

I’ve found a very helpful book that directly deals with this issue in a concise, thoughtful layout: Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap & Cosmetic Handcrafters by Marie Gale . Since this business has been shoestring, the price point is perfect for me, compared to other similar books on the market.

An excerpt from the back cover: “Establishing and then following good manufacturing practices in your business is like having and using a GPS navigator to get around town. No matter how familiar you are with the streets, it takes a lot less effort to just follow the directions. The trick, of course, is having all the necessary information in the navigator to start with. That’s what GMP is all about – setting up the navigation system for your production and manufacturing. . .”

I believe this book delivers this claim in a concise and well laid out manner. Marie dives right in – on page 17 is a great definition of the different document types, such as: Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Specification Sheets, Master Formulae and Batch Records, Logs (an index of the different documents so you can find them later) and Labels. Also included are sample forms – I think it’s useful to have the visual example.

Organizing all this data is a daunting task; I highly recommend this book if you’re struggling with data and files management in your manufacturing operation.


Honey test

Honey preservative test 003SM_crpwtrmrk

I’ve been working on a lipgloss project – was thinking that it would be fun to add some local honey to it – because honey has a lot of attributes that I look for in a lip product and it would be fun to tie in to the local business theme.

Honey is a self preserved system. How would it hold up to a lipgloss application? To test, got out my petri dish and agar solution for a quick run. As you can see in the picture, I got an answer very quickly. Within hours, bacteria colonies were flourishing on the agar. I think honey is going to be a challenging ingredient to work with, will proceed with caution.

Lipstick Review

Last month, I received an Etsy Convo from an Indie Blogger, Tiffany,  who has a lovely website where she reviews Indie Cosmetics.      After checking out her blog, I decided it would be a good fit for my marketing campaign  –  so I sent her a combination of my five lipsticks, poured in the two containers – the traditional lipstick holder and the lip balm holder. Also, added a traditional lip balm from the new line I’m currently developing (peppermint/lavender).

You can see the review here: In Pursuit

I’m absolutely smitten with her presentation!  The dress she wore was perfect, she did an in-depth review of the lipsticks and added a video review that was nicely edited.   I appreciate the honest review, it helps my customers make a more informed decision.

Thank you, Tiffany!

L-R: Coral Honeysuckle, TX Star Hibiscus, Rock Rose

A choice of Emollients


Lipstick manufacturers have many emollients to choose from. I’ve limited my selection to the most stable, longest shelf life varieties, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, palm oil and lanolin – as the base emollient choices. Lanolin is well known for its skin softening properties and when added to the lipstick formula, it helps the pigments lay evenly on the lips. I haven’t been able to find a replacement for the performance properties lanolin brings to my lipstick formulations – it holds a special place on the emollient shelf.

Here is an interesting website regarding lanolin production in Europe.
This excerpt that I found most interesting: The wool washing industry, source of Lanolin’s starting material Wool Grease, has been more and more moving to Asia. One of Europe’s last wool washing operations, the Bremer Wollkämmerei closed production in 2008. Machinery has been re-installed in China which was the case also with most other plant closings in Europe and Australia.

Market forces are a powerful driver indeed.

Checking In

The business progress has been slow and steady as planned. My current project is lip balm packaging. Labeling and packaging is a big project – there is the artwork (I like Photoshop Elements) to decide – print, tweak, repeat. Then, it needs to go on the label – there are so many choices, which one to use? I ordered several different types of labels from a few different suppliers. After assessing the advantages of each, I’ve chosen one that I hope will work best for my situation. I may need to alter the artwork due to printer limitations; fingers crossed my printer will perform over several runs.

Flavor Oil Evaluation

Currently I’m working on flavor oil evaluation. There’s a large variation between the different suppliers and the range of strength between the different flavor oils. So far, my favorites are cinnamon, root beer, ginger and surprisingly, rose.

Fortune from CookieThis was in a fortune cookie I received last year, and it represents how I feel – just on the cusp of selling – after years of preparation!

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