How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Physical Analysis: Putting Cosmetics to the Test

A customer walks into a pharmacy looking for a new cream to keep their hands soft. They don’t have much to go by other than packaging and price, so they choose the same brand they use on their face. 

They get outside and squeeze some out of the tube with their normal pressure, and their palm fills up with too much thin, watery cream that seems to do nothing to remove the dryness. A disappointed customer, and the very reason the cosmetics company should have used physical analysis on their cream before they released it for sale.

Physical analysis, often paired with chemical testing, is the measurement of any physical property that could be important to a cosmetic product. It can be used on raw ingredients or to tell the difference between possible formulations of a new release product, or even in quality control once the product is on the market.

An interesting area of this topic is efficacy testing, which tells the manufacturer how well a product has lived up to its claims. Customers are wary of manufacturers using taglines to tempt them into buying their product – a conditioner that states “hair three times suppler after first use” will not sell well if customers start using it and find no difference to their tresses. 

News travels fast these days with thousands of cosmetics review sites and online shops, and products that fail to live up to their claims will be given poor marks. The manufacturers could have performed a simple bend test on hair specimens treated with their conditioner and would have found their mistake before it was too late.

Stable Micro Systems have the answers to a multitude of physical analysis problems and strive to solve new puzzles you may have. The use of a texture analyser removes the uncertainty of human testing; sensory panels are invaluable but only when their data can be correlated with quantitative physical measurements. Machines will give repeatable information that does not vary day to day, and it is crucial this data is available.

Hair care manufacturers will find the Hair Combing Rig and Three Point Bend Rig to be of particular use in efficacy testing. These allow tests to be carried out on real hair samples that may have been treated in any way (hair dye, vigorous brushing, hair serum) to look at the real effects of friction, stiffness or hardness.
Skincare brands might find a simple compression test to be priceless to prevent sponges from being too stiff for gentle cleansing, or the spreadability rig to look at cream consistency, solving the problem outlined above, or even the use of artificial skin samples on the horizontal friction rig to carry out a thorough analysis of the action of cream being rubbed between a pair of hands.

There is a multitude of solutions available for each sector of the cosmetics and personal care industry and we are here to help.

We can design and manufacture probes or fixtures for the TA.XTplus texture analyser that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can also prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

For more information on how to measure texture, please visit the Texture Analysis Properties section on our website.

TA.XTplus texture analyser with bloom jar The
TA.XTplus texture analyser is part of a family of texture analysis instruments and equipment from Stable Micro Systems. An extensive portfolio of specialist attachments is available to measure and analyse the textural properties of a huge range of food products. Our technical experts can also custom design instrument fixtures according to individual specifications.

No-one understands texture analysis like we do!

To discuss your specific test requirements click here...

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 Cosmetics and Skincare Product Testing

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