Overview: Basic Cosmetic Certification and General Criteria

Basic Level Cosmetic Certification is the first level of cosmetic certification. At the Basic Cosmetic level, cosmetic makers are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the basic ingredients and terms used in cosmetic making;
  2. Successfully formulate basic cosmetics;
  3. Comply with all regulatory agencies;
  4. Understand safe handling and storage procedures for raw ingredients and equipment;
  5. Know and apply mandatory labeling of cosmetics per universally standard guidelines; and
  6. Use good manufacturing practices.

Examination Procedure

The Basic Cosmetic Certification exam question database contains a total of 115 master questions, which are broken down into 20 topics. Some questions concerning regulations are country-specific (US, Canada, Europe and International other than Canada/Europe). The actual examination consists of 20 questions which are a combination of multiple choice, true/false and numeric (requiring a number for an answer). The questions are randomly selected from each core topic. As a result, every test is slightly different, and will have at least the minimum number of questions from each subject.

A minimum score of 85% (17 of 20 questions correct) is required to pass the exam. Results will be given as "Pass" or "Fail".

Members may take any Certification Exam as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score, however, the exam fee must be paid each time the exam is taken.

Cosmetic Product Evaluation

In addition to completing and passing the examination, the examinee must demonstrate competency by submitting three finished and packaged cosmetics to the judges for evaluation:

  • Bath Salts or Bath Soak
  • Lotion Bar or Body Melt
  • Lip Balm or Lip Gloss

See the Basic Cosmetic Product Sample Criteria for details on the sample requirements.

If the exam is being taken at the Annual Conference, the products can be submitted at that time and will be evaluated by the end of the Conference. If the exam is a proctored or group exam, the products may be submitted up to 10 days before the examination, or within 10 days after the examination.

Timeline for Exams Requiring Samples

There are a lot of steps necessary to make all the arrangements for a Zoom Certification exam. The following timeline shows the details of the expected timeline before and after the examination.

  • Up to 20 days before Exam: HSCG sends eNews with Zoom dates
  • Up to 10 days before Exam: Member pays the registration fee and sends in Registration form for the Certification Test
  • Up to 10 days before Exam: HSCG sends Zoom Certification Information email
  • Up to 10 days before Exam: Samples can be postmarked and submitted
  • Up to 10 days before Exam: HSCG mails exam packet to examinee
  • Up to 3 days before Exam: HSCG emails Zoom link to examinee
  • Date of Exam: Member logs on to Zoom and takes exam
  • Up to 1 day after Exam: Examinee mails exam and samples to HSCG
  • Up to 7 days after Receipt of Exam and Samples: HSCG notifies examinee of receipt of exam/samples via email
  • Up to 10 days after Receipt of Exam and Samples: HSCG notifies examinee of results via email
  • Up to 14 days after Receipt of Exam and Samples: HSCG mails certificate to examinee

Study Materials

In order to assist members in preparing for the Advanced Soapmaker Certification Exam, the Certification Committee compiled a list of the Basic Cosmetic Terms & Definitions the member should be familiar with. Also available is a list of Basic Cosmetic References & Resources which may be studied to learn the necessary knowledge for the level.

Practice Tests

On-line practice tests have been created for the Cosmetic Basic Level exam. These tests use the actual test questions and give immediate feedback on the results. They are an excellent way to prepare for the exams and get a feel for how the exam process works.

Basic Cosmetic Resources

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