Characterization of cosmetic products

The Science of Beauty

The creation of innovative cosmetic products, with demonstrated perceived effects, relies on deep scientific knowledge of biological matrices (skin, hair, teeth…), development of efficient and safe active ingredients, optimized formulations, and an instrumental evaluation of the performance. From particle size characterization of emulsions, pigments or fillers, through the molecular analysis of hair chemistry, surface functionalization with smart coatings or tribology analysis, to the assessment of formulation composition and stability, spreading on substrates or interaction with packaging, to contamination or nanotoxicity studies, to the ex-vivo or in-vivo objectivation of endogenous skin markers, topical actives penetration, and the impact of environmental factors (UV exposure, blue light, pollution) – HORIBA’s instruments can address most of those applications!

How to improve cosmetic products?

Thorough characterization of ingredients, formulations, and products for safety, efficacy, stability, and regulatory compliance

HORIBA Solutions

Our solutions are tailored to provide valuable information on skin and hair helping to make informed decisions about cosmetic products

Application Notes

Browse our application notes to learn how our instruments enable comprehensive investigation of cosmetic products


Explore our FAQs dedicated to advanced analytical solutions for comprehensive cosmetic products characterization

Users' papers

Discover how our instruments help research teams in solving their development problematics


Download our brochure and eBook to find out about our full product and solutions offerings

How to improve cosmetic products?

Evaluating the impact of skincare products on the skin is crucial for assessing their effectiveness, ensuring safety, and enabling targeted delivery. This evaluation requires a good understanding of skin structure, and contributes to the overall well-being of individuals. In addition to the skin, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the structural and compositional changes that occur in hair under different circumstances. Prior to the evaluation step, the properties of raw materials should be carefully characterized, and their formulation optimized to ensure that they meet the highest standards of safety and quality.
HORIBA’s instruments can help with all these aspects to improve the performance of your cosmetic products.

In-vivo and ex-vivo evaluation

(Raman, Fluorescence)

  • Endogenous markers:
        Water, lipids, proteins, natural moisturizing factors
        Tryptophan, porphyrin, collagen, melanin
  • Cosmetic devices: Microneedles, patches, blue light
  • Penetration of active molecules or nanoparticles
  • Surface deposits

Skin knowledge

(Raman, AFM, SPRi, Fluorescence)

  • Impact of external factors: Pollution, UV
  • Chrono-photo-aging, hydration
  • Cell models, reconstructed skin, explants
  • Biofilms, lipidic films
  • Surface properties: Roughness, adhesion, molecular composition, coatings

Hair chemistry

(Raman, AFM, ICP, Fluorescence)

  • Effect of treatments: coloring, shampoos, masks and oils
  • Impact of routines: ironing, chemical straightening, bleaching
  • Environmental factors: humidity, sun exposure, ozone, metal content
  • Hair chemistry: keratin, sebum, melanin, water
  • Active penetration: cuticle, cortex, medulla
  • Surface functionalization and coatings

Raw materials

(Raman, AFM, ICP, PCA, XRF, Fluorescence)

  • Size distribution and zeta potential
  • Molecular and elemental composition
  • Quality control: Adulteration, origin, impurities, active molecule concentration, REACH
  • For small molecules, nanoparticles, polymers, lipids, proteins


(Raman, AFM, PCA, SPRi, XRF, Fluorescence)

  • Spreading, film homogeneity
  • Size of domains, particles spatial distribution
  • Interaction with packaging, stability
  • Micro-nanoemulsions, micelles
  • Encapsulation and loading with delivery systems: Liposomes, capsules, microspheres

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HORIBA Solutions

The cosmetics industry requires intricate analytical solutions for evaluating product safety, efficacy, and quality, and to deliver reliable, compliant, and effective formulations.

Our advanced instruments are designed to furnish essential insights for making informed decisions about the quality and performance of cosmetic products. Tailored to meet the distinctive requirements of the cosmetics industry, our solutions cover a range of needs, from raw material selection and characterization to product formulation and development. Additionally, they offer valuable information on skin and hair knowledge, enhancing our understanding of their structures and specific needs.

LabRAM Soleil

Raman imaging faster than before to support your ingredient selection and skin & hair care formulation development to achieve desired effects and product performance.


Fluorescence A-TEEM replaces your HPLC workflow for qualification of raw materials by a rapid optical fingerprinting control.

nanoGPS tag

nanoGPS navYX for direct and fast relocalization between different imaging modalities (Raman, μFTIR, SEM…), thus complementing nanoscale observation with chemical characterization.


Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) finally made easy for all, with the bonus of added chemical capabilities on the same spot, for your routine work at the nanoscale.


Micro-XRF measures elemental quantities, even at the microscopic particle level, and identifies the presence of contaminants. Through mapping analysis, it details the distribution of elements in formulation spreadings.

Partica LA-960V2

Foundations, sunscreens, eye shadows or creams include particulates (pigments, exfoliants, mineral powders…) or appear in the form of emulsions. Their size distribution, as raw materials or formulated, is obtained with laser diffraction analyzers.


SPRi studies can benefit cosmetics research by guiding the formulation optimization process, through the understanding of binding affinity, pharmacokinetics, and the dose-response relationship between an active molecule and its target, to finetune ingredient concentrations.


ICP-OES quantifies metallic traces (Ti, Fe, Zn, Al…) at low concentrations in raw materials, packaging or biological matrices like hair or nails, for performance and safety evaluation (Pb, Hg, Cd, Co…)

nanoPartica SZ-100V2

Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) brings, in addition to particle size determination, the Zeta Potential to support the development of stable suspensions or emulsions, predicts interactions, and optimizes the formation of films and coatings.

Raman with EDF and HSI

Cytoviva modules (Enhanced Dark Field and Hyperspectral imaging) can be integrated onto a Raman imaging platform. This allows capturing very large area HSI and EDF images with high spatial and spectral resolution. Nanoparticles can be easily Raman detected on skin, hair or formulations.

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Application notes

Pharmaceutical compounds distribution and cosmetic products analysis

In the final step of the formulation process, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries have to control their products to check if the compounds' distribution in the final product, or in its application form, i.e. dispersed on a skin for an intracutaneous product, are homogenous and stable in order to guarantee the product's efficacy.

Particle Size Determination of Mineral-Based Sunscreens

The safety and effectiveness of zinc oxide is size dependent. It is important to monitor the particle size of both active and inactive ingredients of sunscreen to maintain its intended efficacy and safety, while preventing the active ingredient from penetrating deep into the skin.

Endogenous Skin Fluorescence In Vivo on Human Skin

The fluorescence spectra of intrinsic protein fluorophores have been studied extensively and used in investigating biological events.

Related application notes

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FAQ and users' papers


Explore our FAQ dedicated to advanced analytical solutions for comprehensive cosmetic products characterization

Users' papers

Discover how our instruments help research teams in solving their development problematics

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