So You Want to Sell Your Spa Creation?

You’ve created an amazing cream, lotion, or other personal care product. You’ve given samples to your friends and family. They love your creation(s) and nag you to make more.

“Maybe I could sell this and make a little extra cash,” you say. “Heck, maybe I can even turn this into a full-time business,” you think.

One of the many things to consider before offering your product to the world is the safety factor. Although the FDA does not require testing, your grand ambitions can come to a catastrophic end if your creation has microbes growing in it or it has too short a shelf life. The best way to avoid these problems is to have a qualified lab test your product which is going to cost you some money.

You have asked us how much it would cost to have your creations tested. Since we make our products for personal use, we had no idea, but we know how important this information will be in trying to price your product competitively and assuring its safety to your customers.

To get accurate information for you, we contacted Microchem, a lab that tests personal care products. We asked them how much testing would cost. Thanks to the kind response from Megan Rutland of Microchem Laboratories, we can now give you the information you requested.

Note: The links within this email take you to Microchem’s website where you will learn more about a specific testing procedure.


Thank you for contacting MIcrochem Laboratory.  My name is Megan Rutland, and I am the team lead for cosmetic and challenge testing here at Microchem.

My team here at Microchem specializes in testing personal care products via methods such as  aerobic plate count, preservative efficacy and physical stability testing, and here is a quick rundown on the application and process for each method.

For aerobic plate count testing, we use a slimmed down version of the USP 61.  Standard APC is to determine the level of bacterial and/or fungal contaminants present in a sample.  Contaminants can enter a product via the raw materials or from the manufacturing process itself.  APC testing is considered batch testing and should be performed on each batch of product (relevant to water-based, oil-based, and anhydrous products) manufactured soon after completion.  This test is about $30-$40 per product.

Preservative efficacy testing does not need to be performed on oil-based products as the formula is considered to be inherently hostile to microbial growth.  Water-based products however should contain a preservative system and should be tested for preservative efficacy.  We offer a number of preservative challenge tests for personal care products including CTFAUSP 51, and ISO 11930.  These tests are about $500 per product and have a turn around time of about 35-40 days.

Last, accelerated or real-time physical stability testing is used to determine product shelf life.  Shelf life testing should be customized to each product based on the manufacturer’s knowledge of the formula and its constituents.  However, our clients generally perform a standard test which works for most products.  This testing is to establish a 1 year shelf life and entails holding the sample at 45°C for 10 weeks.  Testing cost can vary widely depending on the specific test parameters chosen, but an average cost to achieve a 1 year shelf life is $500 per product.

Although there are a wide range of other tests which may be performed, these are the 3 main microbiological tests to consider when manufacturing a personal care product.

A step-wise approach is advised when performing the three tests mentioned above.  So, you’re looking at a total turn around of about 4 months and an average cost of $1000 per product.

I hope this information is helpful to you and your readers, and do hope you will provide a link to the article once it is completed.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.


Megan Rutland, B.S.
Microchem Laboratory
Team Lead, Cosmetics and Challenge Testing

By the way, Microchem Lab has a Better Business Bureau rating of A+/A

Now it’s your turn, send us pictures of your amazing creations when you’re ready to present them to the world so we can share them with everyone who comes here.

Now go have fun and relax.



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How to Preserve Your Bath and Body Creations

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