Cosmetics and Personal Care Product Verification

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Verification
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Verification Process
  • Additional Testing Services

NSF's cosmetic product verification program offers third-party assurance to suppliers, retailers, regulators and consumers that NSF verified products and ingredients meet quality and safety expectations. To be authorized to use NSF's Cosmetic Product Verified mark, cosmetic companies must meet the requirements of NSF's cosmetic certification guidelines.

Product evaluation is based on:

  • GMP auditing – This audit is based on ISO 22716 and U.S FDA guidance and is conducted at all facilities producing products to bear the mark.
  • Dossier review – Product labels and formulations are reviewed for companies to applicable regulations as well as for label claims (e.g. gluten-free).
  • Product testing – All proposed products are tested to be deemed free of contaminants and adulterants as well as for any label claims (e.g. “free from”).

Benefits of Verification

The benefits of NSF's cosmetic product and ingredient verification include:

  • Brand differentiation
  • Protection against class-action law suits
  • Protection of consumers' safety

Why Work With NSF?

NSF International's world-class ISO/IEC 17025-accredited laboratories provide testing to support safety and quality goals or to address compliance issues. A professional staff of dedicated chemists, toxicologists, microbiologists, and regulatory and public health professionals tests a wide range of products including pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and food additives in addition to cosmetics and personal care products.

We offer mainstream ingredient and finished product testing to verify safety and quality, regulatory compliance or the absence of common contaminants such as heavy metals, residual solvents and pesticides. Highly specialized analytical testing is also available to solve even the most complex quality issues.

Verification Process

NSF's cosmetic product verification process involves the following steps:

  1. Application including
    • Formulation
    • Label
    • Ingredient suppliers information
    • Manufacturing facilities information
  2. Toxicology review
    • Label and formulation review and comparison
    • Ingredient review
    • Determination of product testing
  3. Facility inspection
    • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audits of production facilities
    • Observations of in-house laboratories
    • Sourcing and traceability procedures
    • Schedule of ingredient supplier audits based on number of suppliers
  4. Annual laboratory testing/analysis
    • Microbiological
    • Heavy metals
    • Pesticides/herbicides
    • Label claim verification
  5. Product certification/listing
    • Monitoring of control formulation/ingredient supplier changes
    • Marketplace sampling

Additional Testing Services

In addition to our testing services for cosmetic product verification, we also offer the following testing services:

  • Contaminant testing: Verification that a product is not adulterated under U.S. FDA guidelines. Testing looks for microbiologicals, heavy metals and other potential adulterants.
  • Allergen and filler detection: Detection using proprietary cutting-edge genetic methods to identify the source of any biological contaminant, whether a plant substitute, a bacterial or fungal pathogen, or animal filth.
  • GMO screening and testing: Validation of non-GMO claims using our GMO plant species screening and testing services. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plant species that have been modified by humans to express a desirable characteristic.
  • Cosmetic packaging testing: Testing for leachables/extractables in packaging to the (EC) No 1223/2009 requirement to sell in the EU.
  • Counterfeit product analysis: Analysis for potential counterfeit products based on current product physical properties and ingredients.
  • Sunscreen actives testing: Testing for UVB, broad spectrum UVA/UVB and 40-minute and 80-minute water resistance.
  • Athletic banned substances testing: Testing of products for chemicals and substances banned for use in athletic sports. Verifies the product is free from any banned substances and safe for use by athletes.
  • “Free from” contaminants and chemicals of concern: Cosmetic and personal care ingredients are becoming increasingly scrutinized as consumers seek safer products. NSF International assists retailers and manufacturers in meeting these consumer demands by verifying the “free from” claims on cosmetic and personal care products for various chemicals of concern. NSF toxicologists review formulations and conduct testing to verify the absence of a wide range of contaminants, including:
    • 1,4-dioxane
    • Alcohol (ethanol)
    • Allergens (e.g. gluten)
    • Lead and other heavy metals
    • PABA
    • Phosphate
    • Phthalates
    • Chemical residues (e.g. bisphenol A)
    • Solvents (e.g. toluene)

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