Cosmetics and Personal Care

Since our launch in 2008, we have worked with cosmetic ingredient manufacturers and high street retailers to help test the safety and efficacy of their products, from surfactants and shampoo to mascara and moisturisers. We are also asked to test the properties of many natural ingredients, such as saffron or essential oils.

Cosmetic claim support

As well as safety assessments, our animal-free tests are used to demonstrate efficacy and provide valuable claim support data particularly in the areas of anti-oxidant activity and mildness. Our efficacy studies tend to be customised to your requirements depending on the type of product and desired claim eg ultra-mild or no more tears. We use human cell culture techniques and reconstructed skin models in the laboratory.

In many cases, we can provide valuable, mechanistic information prior to commissioning expensive human volunteer panels but recommend that the results are applied in compliance with local regulations and advertising standards in your sales territories. Please get in touch to see how we can support your project.


We’ve produced this informative guide to explain how in vitro efficacy tests work. Covering tests for anti-ageing, mildness and sensitivity as well as best practice guidelines and tips, it’s an essential read for anyone involved in cosmetic new product development.


The Cosmetics Directive which came into force in the EU in 2013 proved to be a significant turning point for the cosmetics and personal care industry. It introduced a complete ban on testing cosmetic ingredients and products on animals as well as a related marketing ban.

This increased the urgency with which the industry sought to find animal-free alternatives. At XCellR8, we were awarded funds from Innovate UK and the European Horizon 2020 programme to develop new in vitro methods for predicting mildness to skin and acute toxicity screening.

We also were at the forefront of a global drive to validate in vitro tests, submitting our animal product free (vegan) adaptations of skin sensitisation tests to the OECD, with one already accepted into a Test Guideline and another pending approval.


Many in vitro tests use animal derived components such as serum, tissue extracts and antibodies. We have always taken the view that this undermines the authenticity of ‘not tested on animals’ claims and eliminated the use of animal products in our laboratory from the very beginning. This has helped to support the development of vegan supply chains.

The global cruelty-free cosmetics market is set to grow by 6.1% between 2017 and 2023. Additionally, over 20% of consumers are now influenced at the point of purchase by product labels of “not tested on animals, cruelty-free and / or 100% vegan”. Our unique commitment to an animal-product-free approach from the outset put us ahead of the curve well before testing bans and the vegan trend really took off.