Private label hair product searches have now become complicated.  Private label used to mean having a manufacturer stock a series of formulas that you can re-market as your own.  The brand owner will not own the formula. Changing the texture or fragrance of the product is not allowed.  Anyone else who can handle the same low minimums can have the same exact formula that you sell.  However, you can have a private label shampoo in weeks with only having to purchase 24 to 48 pieces at a time.  Not, months.  Thus having absolute speed-to-market capability. 

So, what do you really need?  With whom do you really need to talk to? 

Let’s define the types of manufacturing.

Private Label   

This seems like a perfect category for emerging brands.  A private label manufacturer will have a series of high-end and inexpensive  formula that will meet your budget.  For that reason, you can launch your own private label shampoo or private label skin care in up to 4 weeks.  The standard minimum is only 48 piece per size, per bottle.  The start-up cost is considerably more affordable for private label.  Your design option may be limited to silk-screen printing with a standard 1 to 2 color-pass.  Private label will not allow you to make changes to the formula.  This includes fragrance change or marketing claims.  Therefore, what you see is what you get.  Change the name and description of any private label hair products.  Design the front of the bottle however you like.  You just can’t make unverifiable claims.  


Custom Private Label or Turn-Key



Another option, if you’ve been in the market for awhile is custom private label or turn-key.  This is where your brand graduates to.   




In contrast, this type of private label will allow you to have control over what ingredients you’d like to use or feature.  The brand owner can dictate the viscosity or color of the formula and choose your own packaging.  The option to have the ability to increase or decrease your fragrance is available.  Select manufacturers will offer a base formula for you to choose from.  Eventually, custom private label with a base formula will expedite the process.



Based on the feedback of your current customers, custom private label will allow you to optimize your existing product. Perhaps even create a new product that can fully support your marketing claims.  If you have a benchmark product from a national brand, custom private label can create a similar formula.    Custom private label or turn-key will also give you a generous amount of profit-margin.  Notably, you can dictate the price per ounce based on your needs.  At the end of the day, you’re in control over how your product will be received by your customers. 


With all that control, it comes with a caveat!  

The standard MOQ’s (minimum order quantity) are between 5,000 and 10,000 per size, per bottle.  There are lab fees and customer supplied components that you have to source yourself.  Therefore, you will need to provide components as needed.  Once you’re in this category, most manufacturers will offer bulk and fill services.  The customer will provide labels, bottles, caps and often times, unique raw materials.  On the other hand, select packaging vendors offer overstock bottles and caps that you can purchase between 1,000 and 2,500.    


At Advanced Cosmetic Research Labs, the pilot-program is the perfect solution for the in between customers.  The pilot-program offers flexible minimums solely for market-research analysis.  This allows Emerging Brands to purchase and eventually adjust formulas if needed.   Therefore, brands don’t have to risk purchasing or committing to a large volume of product.  Even more, components won’t sit on the shelf and expire.   


Contract Manufacturing

Likewise, contract manufacturing minimums are higher than custom private label.  The process is the same while the minimum starts at 5,000 per size, per bottle.  Even more, minimums range depending on the manufacturers size and capability.  In this category, most contract manufacturers will waive the lab fees.  Lab fees can range up to $5,000 per formula.  Hence, the condition is the minimum and everything else.  Starting product development without paying for lab fees may save you more money in the short term.  But, your initial investment will be the cost of the following:

  • 5,000 units per size, per bottle of your finished good
  • 5,000 units of your labels that you supply to the manufacturer
  • 5,000 units per size, per bottle of your bottle
  • 5,000 units per size, per bottle of your cap
  • Shippers and Dividers    
  • Freight cost between component vendors to your manufacturer
  • Freight cost between you and the manufacturer


Finally, standard lead times to launch a new product is about 6 to 12 months.  In a perfect world, your formula will be stable and raw materials or components are available within 24 hours.  Once your lab sample is approved, the 90 day stability starts.  When the formula passes stability, your contract manufacturer then starts production.  Production lead time starts from the day your supplied materials arrive and QC’d at the facility. 

ACRL have the capacity to do Custom Private Label and Contract Manufacturing.  The pilot program has helped launch emerging brands to their size and tenure today.  Family owned and operated since 1976, ACRL can guide you through launching your product line from the beginning.