Cosmetics & Beauty

Description of Industry

The cosmetics and beauty products industry continues to rapidly expand due to new global markets.  When economic times are tough, beauty products are among the last goods to be cut from the budget.  Global sales may reach over 62 billion by 2016.  The chemistry of cosmetics is highly regulated and critical to product performance and claims.


The chemistry of cosmetic products is very complex.  Ingredients involved in cosmetics may address several separate purposes.  Those included for fragrance add another level of complexity.  Volatile Analysis can help improve your company’s product by providing expertise in odor prevention and fragrance selection and enhancement.


Applicable Services

What we do

The team at Volatile Analysis solves odor problems and measures VOC components.  When products age, such as and a lipstick, the chemistry changes.  Off-odors may develop and the product may become undesirable. No one will use lipstick that smells funny.  It is possible that upon product expiration, an off-odor is desired to discourage continued use.  Volatile Analysis can help your company design an aroma strategy that works for cosmetic products.  We conduct and assist others utilize sensory panels for the purpose of providing insight into what aroma attributes are deemed appropriate for a given product. Whether you are proactively defining a product’s aroma profile or you are addressing an off-odor complaint that may require an expensive product recall, Volatile Analysis is staffed with a talented team of problem solvers specifically experienced in these areas.

Product Lexicon Creation

When an organization is implementing a new product offering that has  aroma or odorous components, a product lexicon should be generated as part of an overall sensory program. It is important that throughout sensory evaluation, both internally and externally, that all panelists are speaking the same language and the lexicon is a vehicle to accomplish just that. To find out more information about creating your product lexicon click HERE.

Sensory Panel Creation

VAC offers unique capabilities in sensory and analytical. In support of our off-odor work we routinely convene sensory panels. The most frequently used include quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) where a descriptive panel is trained for measuring product attributes. We also conduct threshold testing in various media. This is particularly useful when assessing how problematic specific odorants are in a given product formulation. If you need assistance creating a sensory panel and for more information click HERE.

Odor Analysis GC-MS/O

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry provides the very best technique to quickly resolve off-odor issues. This method requires a trained odor judge to sniff GC effluent and rate odor character and intensity. This information is coupled by retention time automatically via software to GC-MS chromatogram data to allow for rapid odor identification. Our sensory and analytical team have more than 20 years experience with odor, analytical, and organic chemistry, and sensory analysis. Read more about our GC-MS/O Odor Analysis service by clicking here.

Odor Baseline Establishment

Baseline GC-MS/O measurements have proved extremely helpful to our clients because they establish the aroma and chemical profile of a product considered good.  When odor problems arise new GC-MS/O analyses can rapidly determine what chemical changes occurred compared with a product considered good to allow for production process examination and off odor mitigation. For more on this service click here.

New Product Development Aroma Support

To ensure new products exhibit desired aroma character and intensity, we employ spot-on sensory assessment, extraction methods and analytical analysis. Sensory includes quantitative descriptive analysis to ensure the attributes measured match those desired. Extraction methods depend on the nature of the material. Dynamic headspace extraction works for many products however specialized techniques such as sir bar sorptive extraction and solid phase micro-extraction also have a place. Analytical may employ GC-MS, GC-MS-MS,  GC-MS/O, or other method appropriate to answer a specific question. If you need more information about how we can provide aroma support for new product development click HERE.

Related News, Case Studies, and Blog Posts

Measurement of volatiles from Applied Skin Lotions

The objective for this project was to determine what compounds were uniquely generated from skin treated with lotion. Samples (conditioned Twister bars exposed to skin headspace) were received from Unilever and stored under refrigeration until analyzed by a GC-MSD equipped...

What is Off-Odor?

What is off-odor?  The true answer is you’ll know it when you smell it!  Doesn’t have to stink like dead fish or 2 week old ground beef left in the refrigerator, although those certainly are obnoxious.  Off-odor can be...

Statistics of Sensory Assessment: Cohen’s Kappa

Statistics of Sensory Using people as diagnostic sensors produces more variation than instrumental methods. There are situations where the benefits of human-based measures outweigh their inconsistency. This is particularly true for aromas and flavors. Choosing, training and aligning panelists is a big...