Traceability’s Role in Clean, Safe, and Authentic Beauty Products 


by Henrikke Sylte

clean, safe, authentic beauty products

The cosmetics and beauty industry is fueled by the whims and tastes of consumers, who are increasingly seeking out and paying for “clean” ingredients. Organic and clean beauty is big business, as reported by a NielsenIQ survey from 2022. 

At the same time, brands are accountable not just to consumer desire but also face their own issues with regulatory compliance and quality control, having oversight into consumer safety, and controlling potential product recalls. In addition to various European legislative measures, such as the ESPR, there are also developments in the US legal landscape. In December 2022, Congress passed the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA). 

MoCRA represents the first overhaul of cosmetics ingredient regulation since sometime in the early 20th century and will require more extensive safety testing. With the demand for natural, clean cosmetics atop the list of key cosmetic industry trends, and a growing list of regulatory mandates, cosmetics and beauty brands are in need of a touch-up.

How does traceability help?

How can traceability technology contribute to evolving cosmetic industry strategies for meeting the customer demand for clean cosmetics? And more importantly, deliver a much-needed industry makeover on quality control and regulatory concerns?

Brands recognize the need for vigilance and transparency in understanding their ingredient sourcing and supply chain. At the same time, quality control and consumer safety are big concerns. Traceability will help maintain consumer trust and increase market share by helping authenticate product origins and “clean” credentials. At the same time, traceability provides complete data about a product’s journey, which makes product recalls easier. Brands will need to embrace more granular and scalable item-level traceability to execute both regulatory and consumer demands. 

Regulatory enforcement gets teeth

With MoCRA, the US Food and Drug Administration gets, for the first time, its own ability to require product recalls. Until now, the FDA could request a recall, and removing products from the market was strictly voluntary. This is a major difference and one with which cosmetics companies must comply. 

Controlling recalls 

Despite stringent quality control measures, a number of cosmetics and beauty products have faced recalls due to the presence of contaminants, such as mercury, lead, asbestos or benzene. In cases where a recall is required – or even just prudent – traceability technology enables targeted product recalls. By creating connected products, linking them from manufacture all the way to consumption, every product has a unique digital ID that can be used to trace it through its journey for ease of recall.

Meeting quality control standards

In addition to making recalls easier, traceability helps the cosmetics and beauty industry secure quality control. From tracing the origins of various ingredients to helping gain insight into manufacturing efficiency processes, traceability can be vital in meeting quality control standards. Ingredient traceability may help safeguard consumers from dangers, but can also protect the brand, delivering higher profits and avoiding accusations of greenwashing.

Preserving safety through authenticity

Counterfeit cosmetics pose significant risks to consumer safety and brand reputation. Brands are taking measures to achieve more secure supply chains and safer packaging. By adopting traceability technologies for connected products and product authentication, brands can defend themselves against the scourge of counterfeit products while protecting consumers from fraud and potentially unsafe goods.

Giving consumers the clean and green cosmetics they want

Consumer demand and rising consciousness about sustainably sourced ingredients have forced companies to pay closer attention to their quality control processes and their ability to prove the origins of the ingredients in their products. Traceability provides the building blocks for giving consumers the information they want from their cosmetics and beauty goods. 

More than just lipstick on a pig 

The cosmetics and beauty sector faces quality issues that demand constant vigilance and proactive measures. By addressing challenges related to regulatory compliance, ingredient sourcing, consumer demand, recall procedures, and counterfeit prevention, brands take responsibility for the quality of products they put on the market and create a genuine market differentiator. It’s more than skin deep. Traceability gives the cosmetics and beauty industry a touch up in verifiable ways.

Find out how to get more than skin deep on traceability.

Request a Demo