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White Label Cosmetics Explained: Pros & Cons in 2024 (+Guide)

Private Label Hersteller Illustration

Table of Contents

Definition of White Label Cosmetics

White label cosmetics are standar­dised and often pre-produced cosmetic products that are branded with your logo. Standar­dised means that the formu­lation and packaging are already set and cannot be changed.

White Label Cosmetics vs. Private Label Cosmetics

White label cosmetics sometimes get mista­kenly lumped in with private label cosmetics.

Here is an important clari­fi­cation to clear up this widespread confusion:

In contrast to white label products, which come as pre-designed and fixed in formu­lation, private label cosmetics offer the advantage of custo­mization.

Both the ingre­dients and the packaging can be changed and custo­mized, enabling the production of unique cosmetic products.

White label versus private label Illustration

With white label cosmetics, you often buy pre-produced products. That’s one reason why nothing can be changed.

The only thing missing is the logo of the company that sells it. But even with the logo, there can be restric­tions on color variation.

Here you will find an overview of the most important diffe­rences between white label and private label cosmetics.

Pros

Advan­tages of White Label Cosmetics

There are some pros and cons when choosing to work with a white label manufac­turer. Here the two key advan­tages.

Illustration of advantages of white label

1. Quick Market Entry with White Label Cosmetics

A major advantage of white label cosmetics is the oppor­tunity to enter the complex cosmetics market easily and quickly.

The fact that you don’t have to work on an individual formu­lation, texture or packaging, makes it not that time-consuming and easier to start selling. 

The products are often already manufac­tured and stored on the shelf. They are immediately available and only need to be printed with your logo.

This can lead to a time to market of less than 4 weeks.

2. Lower Investment thanks to small Minimum Order Quantities

With white label cosmetics you can start with small minimum order quantities, so you don’t have to invest a lot of money in the production of large quantities at the beginning.

Many white label cosmetics manufac­turers offer their products from very small quantities. Some of them even start with 50 pieces. 

This can be a great advantage for those who want to start a cosmetics line little by little.

Cons

Disad­van­tages of White Label Cosmetics

Unfort­u­nately, these two pros also come with some major downsides.

If you want to work with a white label cosmetics manufac­turer, there are a few things you should bear in mind.

Disadvantages of white label Illustration

1. With White Label Cosmetics you have no Control over Formu­lation

When choosing white label cosmetic products, you have no control over the product formu­lation.

Which means if you don’t like the scent or the texture for example, there is nothing you can do about it.

You cannot change specific ingre­dients or create new formulas.

The formu­lation of white label cosmetics are always “take it or leave it”.

2. You can’t choose the Packaging of White Label Cosmetics

In addition to the lack of influence on the formu­lation, the packaging cannot be changed either.

Without unique packaging, it is even harder to stand out from other brands on the market.

This again, is entirely different with private label cosmetics. Here you can not only adjust the formula to your needs but also choose a custom packaging.

3. Limited Product Range with White Label Manufac­turers

Your choice of products is very limited. You won’t find any niche or unique products from a white label cosmetics provider.

If you later decide to offer additional products, this can lead to problems. 

For example, while you’ll have no problem finding a basic day cream, you’ll have a hard time finding a lash serum or a tinted moistu­rizer as white label products.

4. White Label Cosmetics are often of poor Quality

To make this clear right away.

White label cosmetic products are not always of poor quality. But as a cosmetics manufac­turer, we have tested many white label formu­la­tions and have unfort­u­nately often found them to be of poor quality.

Certain high-quality ingre­dients require a high purchase quantity and are quite expensive to source.

This is too much of a risk for most white label cosmetics manufac­turers, which is why they prefer to use a cheaper formu­lation with less risk.

5. Only Branding can make White Label Kosmetik successful

You sell the identical product that is sold by many different cosmetic brands.

Since you cannot influence the cosmetic manufac­turing process, you only have your branding to diffe­ren­tiate yourself from the compe­tition.

In combi­nation with the lack of custo­mization options in terms of packaging design, it becomes really difficult to stand out from the market.

5 Steps

White Label Cosmetics: Step by Step Guide

If the advan­tages outweigh the disad­van­tages for you, and you’re sure that you want to work with a white label manufac­turer, we put together a useful step-by-step guide, that will help you on your journey.

Illustration of step by step guide for white label

1. Choose a White Label Cosmetics Manufac­turer

Finding the right cosmetics manufac­turer can be a real challenge.

The first step is to make a list of all the potential manufac­turers you can find that are suitable for your ideas.

Illustration of choosing a manufacturer

You can search for these in cosmetic company direc­tories like WeCos­moprof, Cosmetics Business or Happi Directory

Cosmetics trade fairs can also be a helpful starting point for finding the right manufac­turer.

Once you have filtered out some potential white label cosmetics manufac­turers, contact them, schedule an appointment for a call.

After you then agreed on the condi­tions, ask for the samples to check the quality.

Remember: Since you can’t change the formu­lation, texture or fragrance of white label products, you have to like the samples as they are.

2. Choose your White Label Cosmetic Products

If you are not quite sure yet which products you’d like to sell, ask the white label manufac­turer for advise.

Choose your Products Illustration

It makes more sense to not just start with one product, such as lipsticks in one color, but to start with a small cosmetic line.

For example, lipsticks, lip liner and lip gloss all in different colors.

Cosmetic products of the same category that can be used together can increase sales and revenue per order signi­fi­cantly.

One great example of this is Kylie Jenner with her cosmetic line, who gained massive attention by launching her lip kits first.

3. Design your White Label Cosmetic Products

Depending on the manufac­turer and products, you have different custo­mization options when it comes to the design of the cosmetic packaging.

Illustration of designing your products

In any case, your custo­mization options are very limited for the design.

This is due to the manufac­turing process of white label cosmetics. 

A white label cosmetics manufac­turer usually has special machines that are designed for smaller quantities. These machines have far fewer functions than conven­tional cosmetic production machines.

They cannot, for example, print your logo in any color, but only in a selection of presel­ected colors.

For instance, you may only be able to choose from 3 different colors for printing your logo on a white label lipstick: white, black and gold.

4. Order and Sell your White Label Cosmetic Products

Before you can start selling your products, you should select at least one suitable sales channel. This could be e‑commerce (we recommend using Shopify), retail or wholesale.

Then you should think about your distri­bution countries and their cosmetics regula­tions

Illustration of Order and Sell

Among other things, the purchasing power and culture in the chosen country are important to know whether your products can be sold profi­tably there.

After you decided on your sales channels, distri­bution countries, you should think about marketing channels. 

Popular marketing channels for small cosmetic brands are search engines like Google and social media channels like TikTok.

5. Gradually switch to Private Label Cosmetics

As soon as you have sold enough white label products to cover the initial purchase volume of private label cosmetics, you should definitely make a switch long-term.

Illustration of switching to private label

With private label cosmetics, you can customize the texture, color and fragrance. You can choose and perso­nalize the packaging almost without any restric­tions.

It allows you to produce individual products that are more in line with your brand and ideas.

Also your margins will be much higher, since the price per unit will will signi­fi­cantly lower.

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Charlotte Wagner

"After my Bachelor & Master's degree in Beauty Management at the mAHS (media Akademie Hochschule Stuttgart), I work full-time in consulting for start-ups and medium-sized companies in the cosmetics industry.
I discovered my passion for writing at an early age, so that I pursue it as a as a hobby author."

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