How cosmetics manufacturers are using ‘pigging’ technology to ensure product quality, avoid contamination and increase production efficiency

The World of Cosmetics and Beauty Products

The global cosmetics industry generates $500 billion in sales a year. It covers a wide range of products, from foundation and mascara, skincare such as eye serums and moisturisers, haircare such as shampoos, conditioners and hair colourants, and toiletries such as soap and bubble bath.

Asia Pacific dominates the cosmetics market and accounts for approximately 40 percent of the global market. Other key regions include North America, Europe, Latin America and so on.

Some of the key players in the industry include L’Oréal, Unilever, Estée Lauder, Proctor and Gamble, Coty, KAO, Shiseido and many more. Many of these are HPS customers and key users of hygienic and sanitary pigging systems.

cosmetics manufacturing and pigging

COVID-19 Impact on the Cosmetics and Beauty Industry

Factors such as increasing customer confidence and rising disposal income of several countries have resulted in an upward trajectory for the cosmetics industry in recent years.

However, like most industries, the economic magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic on cosmetics manufacturing and production has been extensive. The pandemic has ultimately pressured revenue down, particularly in 2020.

The cosmetics industry has responded positively to the crisis, with many manufacturers increasing their production capacity and incorporating hand sanitisers and cleaning agents into their processes. In addition, beauty companies such as Avon have donated millions of dollars’ worth of personal care products such as soap and body wash to support families in need during this unprecedented time.

Despite the global uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the cosmetics industry is showing movements of growth in 2021 and is expected to bounce back over the next five years.

So, what are the key trends and challenges expected to shape the cosmetics and beauty industry into the foreseeable future and beyond?

Importance of Cleaning and Sanitation in Cosmetics Manufacturing

Cleaning and sanitation are important in the cosmetics industry. However, in the wake of COVID-19, strong cleaning and sanitisation programs have further increased in importance.

Cosmetics manufacturers deal with different formulations and configurations of product at their production facilities.  It’s estimated that large manufacturers have a product portfolio of thousands of different cosmetics products, with around 25% to 30% of their products reformulated each year.

Some of these products are often processed in the same pipeline, rather than having dedicated lines for each product. It is important that all the previous product is removed prior to the next product being processed. Even the smallest amount of product can result in cross-contamination and pose a significant risk to product quality.

cosmetics and personal care using pigging systems

In addition, if equipment is not cleaned appropriately, even the smallest contamination of processing equipment offers an ideal breeding ground for germs of all kinds and in many cosmetic products can lead to contamination issues.

In this way, sanitation and cleaning manufacturing practices are essential to reduce the risks of contamination and product recalls, in addition to helping to safeguard the quality of manufactured products. They’re also becoming more important in  meeting regulatory requirements such as the GMP guidelines, meeting consumer demands and protecting the revenue and growth of the business

The Demand for Natural and Organic Cosmetics Products

As well as navigating the negative impact associated with COVID-19, cosmetics manufacturers also face tough competition. More independent players have entered the market with new product offerings that have grabbed market share from big, established names.

Millennials, who buy more cosmetics and beauty product than any other demographic, are driving the market. They are demanding cosmetics products that are natural and feature organic ingredients, from companies that offer a personalised service as well as customisation. As a result, smaller independent cosmetics have seen huge growth over the past few years.

Many larger companies are now trying to capitalise on consumer demand for natural and clean beauty products and have developed their own ranges or entered the market through acquisitions.

However, as more brands jump on the bandwagon making “natural” and “organic” claims, cosmetics manufacturers face increasing pressure to commit to full transparency and provide evidence that support their claims.

Contamination Issues in the Cosmetics Industry

Cosmetics and beauty products require preservation against microbial contamination. That’s because most cosmetics products contain water and organic/inorganic compounds which make them susceptible to being spoiled by the growth of fungi, yeast or bacteria. Therefore, preservatives play a key role in keeping cosmetics safe and increasing their shelf life.

However, with more customers shifting towards “natural” cosmetics, this is creating significant challenges for cosmetics manufacturers regarding bacterial contamination.

“Natural” and “organic” cosmetics manufacturing often involves removing the use of artificial preservatives from product formulations. However, by doing this, it increases the risks of bacterial contamination.

What’s more, shifting towards organic or natural products may require a cosmetics production plant to eliminate the use of some cleaning and sanitisation products. This creates the challenge of finding suitable replacements that deliver effective cleaning and sanitation.


Technologies that Reduce Contamination and Cross-Contamination Risks

To ensure product quality and reduce contamination and cross-contamination, manufacturers are incorporating innovative technologies into their production plants.

Liquid product recovery (widely known as “pigging”) is a technology that is widely used in the cosmetics industry. And its use is set to increase further in 2021 and beyond.

From Unilever and P&G to Kao and L’Oréal, pigging systems by HPS for cosmetics and personal care products offers a wide range of benefits, deliver significant savings, and gives rapid return on investment with fast payback.

Download our Free Guide to Product Recovery (Pigging) For Personal Care and Cosmetics >>

How HPS Pigging Systems Work

When cosmetics in liquid form are being manufactured, pigging technology sends a specialist projectile (called the “pig”) through the pipelines. The pig has a diameter slightly larger than the pipeline being pigged.

The HPS pig features a cylindrical style shape designed for full body contact. This enables it to recover nearly all the residual liquid remaining in the pipeline and push it to its destination.

In this way, pigging systems are an extremely effective way to improve yields and reduce waste in cosmetics processing. Here’s a short video of an HPS pigging system in operation.

sustainability challenges facing cosmetics and personal care industry

Obtaining Hygienic or Sanitary Conditions by Pigging

As well as recovering significant amounts of product from the pipeline, the pig cleans the pipeline. In this way, pigging systems from HPS also help cosmetics manufacturers achieve the maximum microbiological, hygienic, and sanitary levels of cleanliness.

The HPS hygienic (sanitary) pig is made of materials which meet the requirements of FDA regulations. Therefore, it meets the needs of the hygienic or sanitary conditions essential for cosmetics production. As well as being used with cosmetics products, the HPS pig is used in hygienic applications such as food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, paints, personal care products plus many more.

Because the pig recovers so much product from the pipe, there’s much less cleaning, water flushing, rinsing and resources required. So, pigging speeds up the cleaning and changeover process and results in less downtime.

And by reducing changeover times, pigging enhances the profitability, flexibility, and capacity of cosmetics manufacturing, HPS custom pigging systems can accommodate short-batch and more frequent changeover production, enabling multiple products to be processed in the same line. In some cases, if there is a minimal change in product, colour or flavour, the next product can be processed instantly after the pigging process.

Reducing Contamination and Cross-Contamination Risks by Pigging

Because pigging systems clear the transfer pipelines of residual product, the chances of cross-contamination between variants are greatly reduced. Here’s a blog article which explains more about how pigging systems reduce cross-contamination in liquid processing.

In addition, pigging reduces bacterial contamination by preventing the build-up of product residue on the internal wall of the pipe. By ensuring a hygienic, sanitary, and dry environment, pigging systems inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

By reducing bacterial contamination and cross-contamination risks, this means improved product quality, more consistent product output and lower rework. It also reduces the chances of expensive product recalls which may hinder profitability, reputation, and operational effectiveness.

Take a look at our pipeline pigging case studies >>

Additional Benefits of Pigging Systems for Processors and Producers of Cosmetics

As well as reducing contamination risks, improving product quality, and ensuring sanitation and hygiene in cosmetics production, pigging systems offer a wide range of additional benefits.

This includes improved efficiency, increased productivity, reduced water usage, lower energy usage, improved lot control and batch traceability, prevention of aeration, foaming and dissolved oxygen, better environmental performance plus much more. Therefore, the benefits of pigging systems for cosmetics manufacturing are extensive.

Find Out More

HPS are the leading experts in liquid product recovery and pigging systems for cosmetics and personal care products. As well as complete systems, we provide a a range of pipeline pigging products for liquid product recovery, transfer, pipeline cleaning and hygienic (sanitary) process systems.

If you process personal care, cosmetics or just about any other liquid or wet product are want to bring the benefits of pigging to your operations, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable process system experts will be more than happy to assist you further.

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