Apr 2024

Avoid Overformulation and Manage Your Raw Ingredients Effectively

In the complex landscape of cosmetics formulation, navigating the delicate balance between ingredients is an art and a science.

Deciding when to draw the line and determining the optimal number of raw materials (RMs) for your product isn't always straightforward. This decision is influenced by various factors, including the size and maturity of your business, as well as your branding strategy.

What is Overformulation?

Overformulation occurs when a product is formulated with an excessive number of raw materials, surpassing what is necessary for its intended purpose. While the impulse to add more ingredients may stem from a desire to enhance efficacy or differentiate the product, it can lead to unintended consequences and inefficiencies.

When Does Overformulation Happen?

Overformulation can manifest at any stage of the product development process, from the initial concept phase to final formulation. It often arises from a lack of clarity on the essential ingredients needed to achieve the desired product attributes. Factors such as market trends, consumer preferences, and competitor offerings can also influence formulation decisions.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of having a significant number of raw ingredients in your cosmetics formulation.


  • Replication. A product with an extensive list of ingredients is less likely to be copied by competitors. A single cream displaying 50+ INCI names on its packaging serves as a deterrent to imitators. This can be particularly advantageous in saturated markets where differentiation is key.
  • Perception. Certain formulations may benefit from the synergistic effects of multiple ingredients, resulting in enhanced efficacy and consumer perception. Complex formulas are often perceived as more sophisticated and premium by consumers, commanding higher price points and reinforcing brand image.


  • Cost. All raw materials are typically purchased in bulk, and maintaining their stocks can become costly, particularly for smaller businesses with limited budgets. Moreover, complex formulas require more extensive testing and validation, increasing production costs and time.
  • Production. Complicated formulas require meticulous attention to detail during production. This can lead to challenges in scaling up production to meet demand. Additionally, the risk of errors and inconsistencies during manufacturing rises with the number of raw materials involved, potentially compromising product quality and consistency.

How to Determine the Optimal Number of Raw Ingredients

Several factors that influence the decision-making process include business size, maturity, and brand strategy.

Business size

Smaller businesses may opt for simpler formulations to minimize costs and streamline production. But larger enterprises may choose to leverage a broader range of ingredients to help differentiate their products and target niche markets.

Business maturity

The stage of development of your brand plays a crucial role in determining the complexity of your formulations.

Established brands may experiment with more intricate formulas to maintain their competitive edge and cater to evolving consumer preferences. Startups on the other hand might prioritize simplicity to establish credibility and trust.

Branding strategy

Your brand positioning, messaging, and target market preferences will dictate the types of products you offer and the ingredients you use. Aligning your formulations with your brand's ethos and values is essential for building brand loyalty and trust among consumers.

Efficient Cosmetics Formulation with Cosmetri Product Manager

Regardless of the direction you choose to take with your formulations, Cosmetri PM offers invaluable support for cosmetics businesses of every size.

Our robust software platform helps you manage cosmetic product formulations with:

  • Cost monitoring: Cosmetri PM enables you to accurately monitor the prices of finished product per kg/L and helps you optimize formulation costs based on RM price variations and suppliers.
  • Inventory management: Take advantage of Cosmetri PM’s built-in raw materials and packaging inventory or integrate it with your ERP system to effectively track availability and manage stock.
  • Regulatory compliance: Gain comprehensive visibility into Quality Control (QC) and regulatory status of all raw materials so you can meet regulatory requirements for formulations.

Streamline cosmetics formulation with Cosmetri PM. Get in touch to request your software demo today.

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