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Cosmetics industryCosmetic product quality is judged by the sensory experience for the consumer through texture, visual, appearance and also odour.

The physical characteristics are often the most important, with the way a product feels to the touch being the critical factor in customer acceptance. This must be combined with the expected performance, meeting the manufacturer’s claims, in a retail environment where some products are very expensive.

Many products are applied to the skin and the texture characteristics during application are as influential as the subsequent feel. Chemists in the cosmetics, personal care and toiletries sector are constantly challenged to meet consistent physical texture expectations, delivered with a range of colours and scent options.


Product types

Solid or semi-solid cosmetics and personal care products are generally of the following types:


Semi solidsCreams (crèmes), lotions and gels - containing emulsions, emollients, hydrocolloids, lipids and polyols – are viscous semi-solids such as moisturisers, sun-protection/tanning lotions, make-up removal creams, shampoos, bath or shower gels, shaving creams, waxes and so-called “liquid” soaps. These products are often required to have some firmness, but spread and flow easily, requiring consideration of their rheological characteristics.

Skin crèmes have the conflicting texture requirement of being smooth, rich and creamy in addition to being light and non-greasy or slippery. The desired lack of oiliness in products containing oils, intended to moisturise and hydrate, is a typical formulation objective.







Solid products come in the form of cohesive blocks, for example bar soaps, lipsticks and similar lip balms, plus solid block deodorant/antiperspirants and eye/lip liners in a pencil form.

These items are expected to wear and deform in the course of their use, but in terms of their application, are required to be hard and maintain this structural integrity without breakage, flaking or crumbling.







Cosmetics powder testing with a cone probeCompacted or loose powders are solids in a particulate state. These cosmetics are drier by nature and are applied to the skin by brushes, sponges or similar applicators.

Make-up foundation and eye shadow preparations must flow in a controlled, consistent manner, resisting clumping or caking.

These products require reliable application in formulations that contain a wide variety of colour-producing raw ingredients.




Test methods for the cosmetics sector

Texture test methods for cosmetics products are similar to those suitable for food types which have a comparable physical structure. Firmness, flow characteristics, consistency and stickiness are evaluated for the semi-solid, viscous products, while hardness and break resistance tests are valuable to the analysis of solid products. Powders are measured for flow and spread, in associated with visual inspection for clumping.

The fixtures and procedures for are primarily designed to simulate the handling and application of the product, usually manipulation with the fingers - which is replicated with an appropriately shaped probe. In the cosmetics industry, the manner in which a product is dispensed from its packaging is also important. The flow properties of semi-solid samples are tested by extrusion methods – using texture testing accessories - in association with testing the effort to squeeze or pump the product from its container.

For comprehensive test solutions in the consumer packaging and cosmetics and personal care client sectors, visit Mecmesin Corporation.

CompressionCosmetics Compression

Compression, using either cylindrical or spherical probe fixtures enables textural properties to be evaluated such as firmness, cohesiveness and fracturability.

  • Firmness (lack or runniness) of moisturisers
  • Crush resistance of sculpted soap bars


ExtrusionCosmetics Compression

Used for semi-solids, which can be tested for their behaviour in isolation, using extrusion fixtures, or their interaction with packaging for dispenser design. Forward or back extrusion can assess the characteristics of flow, consistency, adhesiveness and spreadability, influenced by ingredient viscosity.

  • Flow characteristics of bath crèmes, by back extrusion
  • Spreadability and ease of application of moisturisers, hair waxes, masks and pastes (e.g. toothpaste)
  • Forward extrusion, dispensing evaluation of creams, shampoos


Penetration and punctureCosmetics penetration

Small cylinders, needles and cones are used to penetrate into a solid sample’s surface to test the products strength. A ball probe can test the firmness and thickness of a semi-solid.

  • Compaction, cake strength of eye shadows, talc, face powders
  • Soap, lipstick, solid deodorant hardness and fracture strength
  • Resistance to crumbling of liner pencils
  • Moisturiser firmness


Shear, snap, bend and break
Cosmetics Shear, snap, bend and break

Tests relating to the performance of products that undergo stresses during use, can be influential in the formulation and hence have an impact upon texture. A lipstick bullet will experience bending forces during application, as will other solid cosmetics items.

Contact us for more information about specialist fixture design.



TensionCosmetics tension

The adhesive force measured of the return, tension, stroke of the test is an indication of the stickiness of the product. This may be an undesirable attribute of a cream required to be silky to the touch.

  • Moisturiser stickiness



Gel testingGel testing

Many cosmetics products include gelling agents in their formulations. Gel industry standard tests for the raw ingredient or the final product, which is in the form of a gel, may be performed to evaluate the strength.

  • Hair gel hold strength comparisons
  • Bloom strength testing

Trusted by customers across the world

Nestle purchased a texture system from Food Technology Corporation in 2006. Since then I have recommended the texture system to several vendors in North and Central America. Staff at FTC was able to develop a simple training manual and procedure for the texture system allowing easy training in short period of time.

From purchasing of equipment through to installation and start-up, the level of personal care and service was remarkable. Shirl Lakeway and his staff at Food Technology Corporation are patient and understanding, and are always at our disposal for any assistance. Since we bought the equipment we have had no problems and feel very secure knowing that we can count on FTC for their support and service.

Dr Mawele Shamaila, Nestle - USA

As a Meat Scientist and program leader for the University of Nevada, Reno, I need to ensure that equipment I use in my lab is reliable, durable, versatile, and accurate. For texture analysis of meats, there are many systems available in the market. Over the last 15 years of my career, I¹ve worked with many of them and had great and bad experiences with different brands.

Last year, I decided to try a different system for my lab, the TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer from Food Technology Corporation. The system has all the attributes I was expecting to conduct texture and shear force analysis in a quick and not complicated way. The customer support provided by them is outstanding and their technicians are always ready to walk me through new procedures and initial set up. If you are looking for a reliable system for food texture analysis and special customer service, the TMS-Pro is the system to go for and the Food Technology Corporation is the one that can deliver the support.

Amilton de Mello
Assistant Professor of Agriculture, Meat Science and Food Safety

Excellent customer service. Consistently followed up and offered help without asking. Relatively low priced - provides good value. 

Easy to switch different load cells. Used it for 5 lab sessions for 68 students this semester and performed well.



Professor Jeyam Subbiah, University of Nebraska