What is a cosmetics manufacturer? | OEM&ODM

Are you thinking of launching your own cosmetics brand or expanding your existing range? If so, it’s important to understand the role of cosmetic manufacturers. They are the behind-the-scenes heroes who bring your vision to life, creating the products that ultimately grace store shelves and consumers’ vanity tops.

In this article, whether you’re a large corporation with your own formulations or a small start-up looking for a full-service solution, we’ll explore what a cosmetic manufacturer is, the differences between OEM and ODM services, and the pros and cons of each.

What is a cosmetics manufacturer?

A cosmetics manufacturer is a company that produces a variety of cosmetic products. These manufacturers often serve a wide range of customers, from small start-ups to established brands, and provide them with a wide range of product types. This can include skin care products, hair care products, make-up, fragrances and toiletries. Depending on the client’s needs and capabilities, the manufacturer may offer different services, such as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), where they produce products to the client’s specifications, or ODM (Original Design Manufacturer), where they handle the entire production process from design to manufacture.

Types of cosmetics manufacturers

Imagine you have a great idea for a new type of make-up, but you don’t have the tools or the space to make it. So you ask another company that already makes make-up to make it for you. You tell them exactly what you want, from the ingredients to the colour of the packaging. This is called “Cosmetic OEM” or “Original Equipment Manufacturing”.

The company that makes the make-up for you is called an “OEM manufacturer”. They make the product, you buy it from them, put your brand label on it and then sell it to customers. It’s like you’re the director of a film, and the OEM manufacturer is the crew that helps bring your vision to life.

This is a good option for people who have a registered brand and have already planned and designed their product, but don’t have the resources to manufacture it themselves. You can focus on designing and selling the product while the OEM company takes care of the manufacturing.

The difference between OEM and ODM

Different concepts:

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is like asking a bakery to make a cake using your recipe, your decoration ideas and your quality standards. You provide all the details and they use their kitchen, tools and bakers to make the cake. At the end, you put your name on the cake. This is usually preferred by large companies.

ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) is like asking a bakery to make a cake for you from scratch. They come up with the recipe, decide how to decorate it and manage the baking process. All you have to do is sell the cake. This is usually preferred by smaller businesses or those who don’t have their own cake recipes but want to sell cakes.

Different intellectual property rights:

With OEM, no matter who designs the product, the company that is asked to make the product cannot make the same product for anyone else. The company that orders the product owns the rights to that product.

With ODM, the company that designs and makes the product owns the rights to the product until it is sold to the company that ordered it.

Different suitable candidates:

OEM is suitable for large companies; ODM is suitable for smaller companies or those who don’t have their own product designs but want to sell new products.

OEM advantages and disadvantages


Lower costs: Cosmetics OEMs usually have their own equipment and factories, so they can make many products at once, making each product cheaper to produce.

Faster production: OEM companies usually have professional teams and technology, so they can make products faster.

Less risk: The OEM company makes the product based on what the customer wants, so the customer doesn’t have to worry about things going wrong during production.

Expert support: OEMs have experts who can provide technical support.


Quality control: Since the OEM company makes the product based on the customer’s formula and requirements, it can be difficult to ensure that the product is always made correctly. The customer needs to keep an eye on this.

Custom orders: OEM companies make products specifically for each customer, so they may not be the best choice for making a lot of the same product. This can make it harder to create a well-known brand.

Secrecy: The customer has to tell the OEM company their formula and requirements, so they need to make sure that the OEM company doesn’t share this information with anyone else.

ODM advantages and disadvantages


Saves time and money: With ODM, the manufacturer takes care of everything from design to production. This saves the customer a lot of time, effort and money.

Freedom and flexibility: Customers can have products made that fit their own brand or have a good chance of selling well. They can decide what they want without having to invest a lot of money.

Lower operating costs: ODM can help customers save money on production, so they can spend more on promoting their brand.

Makes it possible to have your own brand: ODM allows customers to have their own products without having to build their own factory.

Focus on brand promotion: Most customers are good at selling, but not at manufacturing. ODM takes care of the production, allowing customers to focus on promoting their brand.


Risk of copying: Because the ODM has a lot of freedom, it may copy the customer’s ideas if there aren’t enough restrictions.

Limited improvement: Using an ODM is mainly about making money quickly and taking over the market. It doesn’t do much to help the customer improve their technology or change their situation.

No custom options: You can only sell what the supplier offers.

Competitors have access: Your main competitors can sell the same product.

No intellectual property protection: You don’t own the rights to the product.

Risk of infringement: The supplier may inadvertently use someone else’s intellectual property.

How does a cosmetics manufacturer ensure the quality of the products?

A cosmetics manufacturer ensures the quality of products through rigorous quality control processes. This includes sourcing high-quality raw materials, following strict manufacturing processes, and conducting thorough testing of the final product. They also comply with all relevant regulations and standards to ensure safety and efficacy. Some manufacturers may also have certifications from third-party organizations, which provide additional assurance of their commitment to quality.

How can I protect my formula and design when working with a cosmetics manufacturer?

Protecting your formula and design when working with a cosmetics manufacturer can be achieved through a variety of legal agreements. This includes non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which legally bind the manufacturer to keep your information confidential. Intellectual property rights, such as patents or trademarks, can also provide protection. It’s recommended to consult with a legal professional to ensure your assets are adequately protected.

What kind of clients do cosmetics manufacturers usually work with?

Cosmetics manufacturers work with a wide range of clients, from small startups to large established brands. Some manufacturers specialize in certain types of clients, such as those looking for natural or organic products, while others offer a broad range of services to suit different needs. Regardless of the size or type of your business, there’s likely a cosmetics manufacturer that can meet your needs.

Can a cosmetics manufacturer help me design and develop new products?

Yes, many cosmetics manufacturers offer product design and development services. This can range from tweaking existing formulas to creating entirely new products. They often have teams of experts, including chemists and product designers, who can work with you to bring your vision to life. This is particularly common in ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) services, where the manufacturer handles the entire production process from design to manufacturing.

What types of cosmetic products can a manufacturer produce?

A cosmetics manufacturer can produce a wide range of products, depending on their capabilities and expertise. This can include skincare products (like creams, serums, and masks), makeup (like lipstick, mascara, and foundation), haircare products (like shampoos, conditioners, and hair dyes), fragrances, and toiletries. Some manufacturers may specialize in certain types of products, while others may offer a broad range.

How can I ensure that the manufacturer won’t share my information with others?

To ensure that a manufacturer won’t share your information with others, it’s important to have a legal agreement in place. This is often in the form of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which legally binds the manufacturer to keep your information confidential. It’s also important to work with reputable manufacturers who have a track record of respecting their clients’ confidentiality. Always consult with a legal professional to ensure your information is adequately protected.

What should I consider when choosing between OEM and ODM?

When choosing between OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and ODM (Original Design Manufacturer), there are several factors to consider. If you have a specific product design and formula, and you want to maintain control over the product specifications, OEM might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you want to leverage the manufacturer’s expertise in product design and development, and you’re open to collaborating on the product specifications, ODM might be a better fit. Other considerations might include cost, production capacity, quality assurance processes, and the manufacturer’s experience in the cosmetics industry.

Jonas Chan
Jonas Chan
Hey, I'm the author of this post,In the past 21 years, we have helped 55 countries and 150+ Clients .If you have any problems with it, call us for a free, no-obligation quote or discuss your solution.
Looking for skincare products from a trusted manufacturer?

Our team of experts at Blackbird Skincare will guide you through the process of customising and sourcing high quality skincare products to meet your brand’s unique needs.

No experience? No problem!

We are at your disposal for any product or commercial information.

Submit Your
Cosmetic Brand Request

Before you start using our service, please fill in the form below to let us know which skincare product you would like to.
you wish to import from China.
Once we have received the detailed information for the product type, quantity & quantity requirements, your assigned customer
representative will contact you shortly. He or she will assist you from planning to shipping.
If you need any further assistance, please email web@blackbirdtrade.com.

*BLACKBIRD takes your privacy very seriously. All information is only used for technical and commercial communication and will not be disclosed to third parties.