Optimising Cosmetics Manufacturing: The Science of Scaling from Lab to Production

Beauty moves at lightning speed and the ability to move quickly from lab-scale formulations to full-scale production is a competitive advantage. Here we unpack the science behind ensuring this phase of production is smooth and successful.

May 13, 2024

10 mins read

Kirsty Gainey, Account Head of R&D, THG LABS

Zoe Savage , Technical Manager, THG LABS

The cosmetics industry is characterised by its relentless pursuit of innovation. With the pace of new product launches, the ability to swiftly and seamlessly transition from lab-scale formulations to full-scale production is a competitive advantage.

Understanding the science and expertise behind the scaling process becomes paramount when brands are looking for a reliable cosmetic manufacturer to partner with.

In this post, experts from our R&D and Process teams, explore the intricacies of how THG manage this vital phase with agility to ensure efficiency, consistency and product integrity across batches.

1. The Importance of Seamless Transition

Any cosmetic scientist will tell you that a formula which works wonders in a small beaker doesn't always translate perfectly to a 5 tonne vessel. The transition from lab to vast volumes of production is rife with challenges – from ensuring homogeneity in large batches to managing the heat generated in scaled-up processes.

Our approach addresses these challenges head-on. Our experienced team of chemists, technicians and highly trained process operators have dedicated years to understanding the nuances of scaling up, ensuring that the product's efficacy, texture, and stability remain uncompromised. 

2. The Science of Vessel Dynamics

One of the primary differentiators in the scaling process is mixing vessel dynamics. It plays a pivotal role in the outcome of the formula. As we scale up, the geometry of the vessel, the positioning of impellers, and the flow patterns can significantly impact the product.

With two main vessel mixing types, we use methods which are versatile and robust to ensure consistent mixing and shear rates. Our commitment to operator training and development means that every batch, irrespective of its volume, meets our exacting standards. 

3. Energy-Efficient Techniques

Scaling up typically demands more energy, particularly when mixing larger batches. Our expert team ensure we harness energy-efficient techniques to achieve responsible, stable formulation development. 

With the design of each formula, our Development team aim to minimise heating and maximise quenching methods to reduce energy consumption, while our Compounding Operators are highly trained to optimise impeller speeds for the best mixing.

The state of the art vessels in our factory facility have two thermometers for accurate temperature measurement and dual zoning which allows for improved heat control.  

4. Material Efficiency: A Win-Win for All

Minimal waste and maximum yield is a major consideration when scaling up and a key factor in cosmetics manufacturing. Small inefficiencies, when multiplied over thousands of litres, can result in significant wastage. Our carefully honed process is designed to use materials with meticulous precision so every gram of every ingredient is used effectively in the final product. This not only makes the process more sustainable but also translates to cost savings. 

5. The Result: Consistent, High-Quality Products

a. Product Consistency:
Our approach ensures that every batch produced mirrors the lab prototype in quality, efficacy, and safety. For our customers, this consistency guarantees the uniformity of each product, batch after batch. 

b. Cost Efficiency:
Reduced energy consumption and optimising material use mean lower production costs. This efficiency enables us to offer competitive prices to our partners. 

c. Sustainability:
With growing global emphasis on manufacturing smarter to achieve more sustainable outcomes, partnering with a manufacturer that prioritises energy efficiency and waste reduction can enhance your brand's reputation. 

d. Innovation:
Our commitment to research and development means that we're constantly refining our scaling process to ensure our partners benefit from the latest advancements in cosmetic manufacturing. 

THG LABS approach, rooted in science and innovation, offers our customers the perfect blend of quality, efficiency and reliability. If you’re a brand looking to bring beauty products to the market, consider a cosmetics manufacturer who understands and respects the science behind every drop.

Want to find out more about how our flexible end-to-end services can provide solutions for your brand? We’d love to hear from you:


Kirsty Gainey
Account Head of R&D, THG LABS

Working at the crossroads of science, trends and innovation, Kirsty Gainey’s role as Account Head of Research and Development at THG LABS is key in transforming raw ingredients into award-winning beauty products that fly off shelves globally. Her philosophy is grounded in a blend of scientific rigor and creative alchemy, driving the development of products that are safe, provide exceptional performance and are launched legally and on time.   

Kirsty’s work involves not just formulating with the very best ingredients, but also ensuring that the sourcing of these is considered. This commitment extends beyond the four walls of the lab to include fostering relationships across a spectrum of specialists, from raw material suppliers & manufacturers through to the farmers and thought leaders in sustainability and biotech. It’s this human aspect of her job, and the close-knit nature of the cosmetics industry that she loves, deriving a huge amount of pride and satisfaction in working closely with smaller suppliers and brands and seeing them grow and succeed.

As a leader in her field, she is also a mentor and passionate about science. At THG LABS Kirsty has set up an educational program for the technical team in collaboration with industry experts to continually help train and engage them. She also sits on the SCS  ‘Scrub up on Science’ program which aims to encourage secondary-school children to get excited about chemistry, as well as visiting local schools and colleges when requested to promote cosmetic science.  


Zoe Savage