How To Find Private Label Skincare Manufacturers [Ultimate Guide]

Updated on May 10, 2024
In this article
In this article

In an industry as dynamic and competitive as private label cosmetics, choosing the right private label skincare manufacturer is a critical business decision. A reliable manufacturing partner can not only elevate your brand but can also streamline operations, ensuring your products hit the shelves without a hitch. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to zero in on the best private label skincare manufacturers.

cosmetic private label manufacturer1
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White Label, Private Label, or Custom Manufacturing of Skincare Products – Understanding the Manufacturing Options

In the cosmetics industry, there are primarily three approaches to product manufacturing: white label, private label, and custom manufacturing. Understanding the nuances between them is crucial for making an informed decision.

Many companies struggle to understand the difference between private label vs. white label. There is a crucial differentiation between those concepts in skincare manufacturing, which impacts costs, lead times, customization options and minimum order quantities.

What is White Label Skincare?

White label skincare products are pre-made products developed by cosmetic manufacturers. White label skincare products can be branded by your brand, but primarily, you can only change (parts of) the packaging. The formula of the product stays the same. Also, there is no guarantee that a skincare manufacturer can reuse the formula for their own brands or offer those products to other companies as well. In fact, most white label skincare products are sold under different brands, but the product itself stays the same.

The big advantage of white label skincare product manufacturing is that it offers the quickest market entry and white label skincare can be ordered with relatively low minimum order quantities, starting with 100 units of a product.

What is Private Label Skincare?

Private label skincare products, on the other hand, are usually based on a standard formula of a private label skincare manufacturer. However, there are still more customization options than just the labels and packaging. Usually, brands can still have a say in terms of ingredients, scents, textures, colors and adapt the existing recipe of a private label skincare manufacturer to their own needs as long as there is no need for a new stability test.

It’s important to note that any substantial alteration to the base formula may require additional testing and compliance checks, such as stability and safety tests, which could involve extra time and cost. Usually, private label skincare manufacturers have the in-house competence to understand if and when such additional tests are needed and to what extent the customization requirements require a completely new formulation of a product.

Private Label Skincare or Custom Product Manufacturing?

Custom manufacturing involves creating a product entirely from scratch, offering the highest degree of differentiation and brand ownership but requiring a significant investment of both time and money.

In the decision between opting for private label skincare or custom product manufacturing, a key consideration is the degree of customization you require. Private label solutions offer limited adaptability, generally permitting modifications to existing formulations only within specific parameters. However, if your brand seeks a unique and proprietary skincare product, custom product manufacturing is your go-to option. This entails developing a new formulation, which involves rigorous research and development, quality testing, and stability checks.

One pivotal point to remember, especially for brands operating in Europe, is the need to comply with EU cosmetics regulations. Custom formulations will require thorough safety assessments and documentation before they can be sold. Furthermore, you’ll need to register the product with the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP), a mandatory step under EU law (EU Cosmetics Regulation) to ensure consumer safety. This entails a far more complex and lengthy process than simply customizing a private label product. Choose custom product manufacturing if you want greater control over the formulation, but be prepared for a more laborious and time-consuming regulatory process.

In addition to the EU’s cosmetics regulations and CPNP registration, if you plan to sell your custom-manufactured products in the United States, you’ll also need to navigate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements. Unlike the CPNP, the FDA does not have a pre-market approval process for private label skincare products, but it does regulate the safety of the ingredients and mandates accurate labeling. Any new ingredient not previously recognized as safe and effective will require a submission of scientific proof to the FDA for review.

The agency also monitors adverse event reports and can take action against any skincare product that is misbranded or adulterated. Failure to comply with FDA regulations can result in a range of enforcement actions, including recalls, seizures, and legal penalties. In summary, if you opt for custom product manufacturing and intend to sell in both the EU and the U.S., be prepared to navigate a more complex regulatory landscape that involves compliance with both EU and U.S. guidelines.

Why Choose a Private Label Skincare Manufacturer

Skincare private label manufacturing offers the dual benefit of low upfront costs and quick market entry. By partnering with an existing manufacturer, brands can leverage established infrastructures and expertise, avoiding the complex and costly process of setting up a production line from scratch. Moreover, private label skincare manufacturing offers scalability and flexibility that’s hard to match. As your brand grows, you can easily introduce new variations or expand your product line by capitalizing on the manufacturer’s existing capabilities.

This means you’re not locked into a long, complex development process each time you want to respond to market trends or consumer demand. In addition, private label manufacturers often have established relationships with suppliers for ingredients and packaging, allowing for more cost-effective and reliable sourcing. This network of resources further accelerates your time-to-market and reduces operational hassles, freeing you to focus on other critical aspects of your business like marketing, sales, and customer engagement.

What Are The Minimum Order Quantities Of Private Label Skincare Manufacturers

When it comes to working with private label skincare manufacturers, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) can vary widely and is influenced by several factors such as the type of product, the manufacturer’s capabilities, packaging complexity, specialty ingredients, and your target price point.

Generally speaking, many manufacturers find it viable to start production with at least one palette to ensure the process is cost-effective for both parties. Keep in mind that smaller orders might result in higher per-unit costs, while larger orders could bring economies of scale. Balancing your brand’s needs with the manufacturer’s MOQ requirements is a crucial aspect to consider as you negotiate terms, ensuring that the partnership makes financial and operational sense for your business.

Digital platform to find private label manufacturers
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How to Find the Best Private Label Skincare Manufacturer for Your Brand

Finding a private label skincare manufacturing partner is not only about cost-effectiveness or timely delivery; it’s about entering into a long-term relationship that impacts your brand’s reputation and growth. The manufacturer you choose becomes an extension of your team, sharing the responsibility for the quality of your products. Given this symbiotic relationship, it’s essential to identify a partner that not only meets your basic needs but also aligns with your brand’s values and aspirations.

1. Use Digital Sourcing Platforms Like Wonnda

Researching the landscape of private label skincare manufacturers can be complex and time-consuming. This is where Wonnda simplifies the process by offering a comprehensive platform to connect you with the right manufacturing partners. No matter if you are looking for white label, private label or contract manufacturers, who can produce your custom product, Wonnda is used by leading beauty brands to launch new products:

We work with hundreds of vetted manufacturers suitable for a wide range of needs—from small startups looking to break into the market, to established retailers aiming to expand their product lines.

Choosing to work with Wonnda offers several advantages. Firstly, it significantly reduces the hours you would otherwise spend in research, vetting, and initial discussions. Every manufacturer on our platform has been rigorously assessed, saving you the legwork. Secondly, our digital platform offers an end-to-end solution for sourcing your products. From the initial search to finalizing contracts, the entire process can be managed digitally on one central platform.

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2. Understand the Manufacturer’s Experience and Expertise

When selecting a cosmetic manufacturer, it’s crucial to find one that specializes in both the type of product form and the specific ingredients your brand requires. The expertise needed for producing solid skincare, for example, differs substantially from that required for creams and liquids. Likewise, if your product line emphasizes natural or organic ingredients, the manufacturer should have experience sourcing and handling such materials effectively. Different ingredients also have varying stability and mixing requirements, affecting the final product quality. Ensure your chosen partner has a proven track record not just in your specific product type but also in the ingredients that are crucial to your brand’s uniqueness.

3. Check Supplier Quality

Manufacturing Certifications can be a reliable indicator of a manufacturer’s commitment to quality. Look for accreditations such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), ISO Certifications, or ECOCERT for natural and organic certified products. The certification requirements can differ between conventional and natural cosmetics, so make sure the manufacturer’s certifications align with your product type.

4. Understand Regulatory Compliance & Certifications

Understanding your target market is essential when assessing a manufacturer’s capabilities in regulatory compliance. If you’re targeting the European market, working with a Chinese manufacturer may pose a risk due to potential non-compliance with EU standards. Conversely, European manufacturers may not be well-versed in complying with U.S. regulations. Always ask for certificates and inquire about existing projects in your target markets to understand their experience and reliability in those regions. When it comes to complex products like skincare, it is always a good idea to think about nearshoring your production. In general, nearshoring to Europe makes a lot of sense, as European skincare manufacturers underlie one of the strictest cosmetic regulations in the world.

5. Understand Scale & Flexibility of Production

Your business stage should guide your choice of manufacturer. If you’re a first-time founder, it might be more beneficial to start with a smaller manufacturer skilled in producing low quantities. This allows for easier scaling and potentially lower initial costs. As your brand grows, transitioning to a larger private label skincare manufacturer can be evaluated. For established brands, ensure your chosen private label manufacturer has sufficient capacity to meet the projected sales volumes of your private label skincare products without compromising on quality or lead times.

6. Consider Your Financials

Being thorough in your financial planning will not only make the process of selecting a manufacturer smoother but also set a strong foundation for a fruitful, long-term partnership:

  • Be Clear About the Budget: Right from the beginning, be transparent about your financial limitations. This will help in finding a manufacturer that fits within your budget, avoiding unnecessary negotiations or surprises later on.
  • Understand Your Pricing Strategy: Know your target retail price, and work backward to understand your margins and, consequently, your target production price. This will give you a more comprehensive understanding of how much you can afford to spend on manufacturing.
  • Price Transparency: Ensure you understand what the quoted price includes. Is packaging part of the cost? What about regulatory registration fees required for specific markets like the European Union or the United States? Don’t forget to factor in shipping and any other additional costs.
  • Financing Upfront: Before you even begin negotiations with a manufacturer, have a solid business case ready. This includes understanding your cash flow, projected sales, and other financial metrics that will be crucial for the partnership.
  • Investment and Inventory Financing: Depending on the scale of your project, you might need external investment or inventory financing. Wonnda collaborates with financing partners that can help fund your production, adding an extra layer of financial security and convenience.

7. Evaluate Manufacturer’s Past Work

Before committing to any manufacturer, it’s essential to evaluate their past work to gauge their suitability for your needs. The quality and success of the products they’ve manufactured in the past can offer valuable insights into their capabilities and quality control measures. On Wonnda, you can easily view detailed profiles of manufacturers, access their certifications, ask them to exchange reference products and assess their past projects—all from a centralized platform.

8. Order Samples

Sampling is a critical step in the selection process. It allows you to physically assess the quality, texture, and other essential aspects of your product. This is particularly crucial in the skincare industry, where product efficacy, safety, and quality are of utmost importance. On Wonnda, you can streamline this process by ordering samples directly from manufacturers. This not only saves you time but also provides an opportunity to manage this crucial evaluation step digitally, from initial request to delivery tracking.

9. Find the Right Packaging

Packaging plays a significant role in the success of a skincare product, influencing both its aesthetic appeal and its functionality. You may also want to consider working with alternative suppliers for packaging, such as sustainable packaging suppliers (which can be found on Wonnda).

When choosing a manufacturer, inquire about their packaging options:

  • Manufacturer’s Catalog: Many manufacturers have their own packaging catalogs. Look through these to see if they align with your brand image and functional requirements.
  • Packaging Constraints: Understand that manufacturers may have limitations when it comes to filling certain types of packaging. Make sure to clarify these constraints upfront.
  • Primary vs. Secondary Packaging: Consider whether you’ll need both primary and secondary packaging. Primary packaging directly houses the product, while secondary packaging serves as an additional layer for marketing and protection.
  • Alternative Suppliers: If the manufacturer’s packaging options don’t meet your needs, you can always look for alternative packaging suppliers. Wonnda provides a range of vetted suppliers for packaging, allowing you to find one that perfectly complements your product.

By considering these factors, you can ensure that your product not only performs well but also looks appealing to the consumer. All of these aspects can be conveniently managed through Wonnda, making the process efficient and streamlined.

Using Wonnda vs. Traditional Ways of Sourcing Products & Suppliers

Platforms like Wonnda can significantly simplify your search for the right manufacturer by providing a curated list of vetted options, along with tools for managing sourcing activities and supplier management. From the first discovery, sending requests or tenders, project collaboration with all needed manufacturers till the product is live in your warehouse – Wonnda offers you a one-stop solution for sourcing and launching your products with the best private label skincare manufacturers.

Wonnda Screen Products
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Here’s why choosing Wonnda can offer a superior experience compared to traditional forms of sourcing:

  • Efficiency: Traditional sourcing often involves a long chain of intermediaries, making the process cumbersome and time-consuming. Wonnda eliminates these middlemen, connecting you directly to vetted manufacturers.
  • Transparency: Traditional sourcing methods may lack transparency in pricing, lead times, and production capabilities. On Wonnda, all this information is openly provided, allowing for more informed decision-making.
  • Risk Mitigation: Vetting manufacturers in a traditional setup often relies on word-of-mouth or costly inspection visits. Wonnda offers a roster of pre-vetted manufacturers, reducing risks associated with quality and compliance.
  • One-Stop-Shop: Traditional methods would require you to separately manage different aspects like sample ordering, regulatory compliance, and shipping. Wonnda offers an end-to-end solution, centralizing all these activities on a single platform.
  • Financial Support: Traditional sourcing methods usually don’t offer financing options. Wonnda, on the other hand, works with financing partners to potentially fund your production, offering a more flexible financial setup.

Choosing Wonnda for your private label skincare manufacturing needs not only modernizes your sourcing activities but also offers a range of benefits that can give your brand a competitive edge.

Trustpilot review

Wonnda offers a wide array of manufacturers and suppliers, especially in Europe, that meet our standards for quality and reliability.

– David T.

Private label buyer from Austria

Conclusion

Choosing the right private label skincare manufacturer is a multi-faceted process that requires thorough research, due diligence, and sometimes even a bit of trial and error. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’re well on your way to establishing a productive, long-term partnership with a manufacturer that aligns with your brand’s needs and aspirations.

Source, Manage & Scale Your Product Line With Wonnda

Wonnda is the fastest growing B2B platform for private label sourcing in Europe, offering direct access to trusted and verified suppliers and a comprehensive digital infrastructure for efficient supply chain management.

With an over 80% match rate between buyers and suppliers and the ability to order samples directly through the platform, Wonnda makes launching your product line faster and more cost-effective.

About the author
Oliver Allmoslechner
Oliver Allmoslechner is a co-founder of Wonnda, with a passion for bringing new ventures to life. Born and raised in Kitzbühel, Austria, Oliver has lived and worked in cities around the world, including Vienna, Washington DC, Antwerp, Lisbon and Berlin. He started his career with a strong business background, but quickly found his way into coding and venture building. Oliver's special interest lies in enabling small and medium-sized businesses, and he has co-built a number of successful ventures, including herzregion.com, a local experience platform that was acquired in 2020. Oliver's wealth of experience and entrepreneurial spirit make him an invaluable resource for anyone looking to launch their own venture.
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