Custom Manufacturing FAQ

We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about getting started with custom manufacturing, and in the meantime here are our most-asked questions with their answers.


What kinds of products can you make?
At Essential we make a full range of skin and hair care products. For skin care, we make: scrubs & polishes, cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, lotions, creams, oil blends, gels, face masks, sunless tanner, and more.

For hair care, we make: shampoo, co-wash, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, detangler spray, oil blends, hair gel, styling cream, beard oils, wig care, and more.

For general bath/shower care, we make: body wash, soaks, shaving cream, shaving gel, and more.

We also make some household and lifestyle products, including: high-alcohol spray and gel, household cleansers, laundry powders, feminine cup wash, and more.

Whatever your dream is, we’d love to help it come to life!

Is there any type of product you can’t make?
Unfortunately there are a few types of products we do not make either because of problematic ingredients or certification requirements. Products we don’t manufacture include: makeup, hair dyes, anything with a SPF rating, products for use on intimate areas, or bath bombs (but we make bath soaks).

Can my custom product be USDA Certified Organic?
Yes, if you follow certifying bodies’ regulations. USDA Certified Organic products must have 95% organic content or higher to accurately claim an item is “USDA Certified Organic”. Essential is an organic certified handler and able to do your compounding, filling, and labeling for USDA Certified products. We can help you earn certification for your products if they qualify and you request this service. Please note that wherever something is filled must be a certified facility, so you typically can’t fill a certified product in your home garage.

What’s the first step if I’m ready to move forward with a custom product?
We recommend registering and creating an account, ordering samples of our stock products so you get a feel for what we do, and making sure you have your goals and requirements lined up from the beginning. Then, fill out and submit an RFS or contact customer service at or 866-252-9639.

What is a Request for Services (RFS) form?
An RFS is a formal way to submit your proposal for a product. It gives you a chance to highlight your goals and requirements and lets us understand if we’ll be a good fit. Every new company we work with fills one out.

How do I get and submit a RFS?
Please start here to answer a few questions and get the download link.

Do you share (my) formulas with other customers?
Never! Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. All of our conversations and formulas are confidential, including the RFS you submit to us. We ask that you sign a Confidentiality Agreement (NDA) with us: the commitment goes both ways!

Does Essential provide packaging or labeling?
No we do not; there are thousands of options and we find customers have greater success choosing packaging that supports their vision for their brand.

Can you help me source packaging or labels?
Essential has a great list of packaging companies we’ve worked with along with labeling/printing locations. Just ask and we’ll let you know who to connect with!

You offer 5 rounds of prototypes. What happens if I need more rounds to test?
Five rounds of prototyping is offered for Full Custom formulation requests. If you need more to perfect your product those extra rounds come with a small fee. This is a case by case basis depending on your project, but our team is happy to review this with you in more detail based on your requests. You may need just one more round, or a few additional, but we’re confident you’ll end up with a product you love.

I have my own formula already. Do I need to go through the usual lab process?
Because of the nature of how formulas vary between labs, equipment, and scale-up challenges, any formula that is new to us must still go through the typical lab process. This includes evaluation and testing and is a critical step before going to market.

Is testing included in the R&D fee?
Yes it is! When taken into prototyping for Scenting, Semi-Custom or Full Custom the prototypes all pass heat, freeze, thaw, and microbial stability testing before being delivered to you for review. This does not include challenge and shelf life testing.

Do you provide ingredients?
Yes, we provide all the ingredients used in your custom product(s). We have extremely high standards for quality and documentation for every ingredient that enters our facility and this ensures your products are made with the finest ingredients available--no need to worry about diluted essential oils or dubious sourcing.

What if I want to include my own ingredients sourced outside of Essential?
We are more than happy to include ingredients you’ve sourced elsewhere to keep things consistent with your projects, but all ingredients that enter our facility must be accompanied by Certificate of Analysis (COA), Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and a Technical Data Sheet (TDS) or they cannot enter or be used in our facility.

I’m not ready to order the MOQ of my custom product. What can I do?
We recommend starting with one of our existing bases and either using it as-is or add an essential oil or fragrance oil to alter the scent.

We also have retail-sized, pre-packaged products in our “Ready to Label” line of products, which is a great way to quickly get started.

Can I sell your stock products under my own brand?
Yes! You can absolutely sell our stock products under your own brand. Essential is all about supporting other brands and businesses, so you must in fact sell under your own (not Essential’s) brand. We sell many bases that are perfect for customization with scent or color, and this helps the stock products stand out.