What is a batch code?  As it relates to cosmetic manufacturing, a batch code is a series of numbers or letters (or both) that define the date of manufacture for that particular item.  This code provides traceability between the cosmetic BULK prepared and the fill date for that BULK, hence the batch code.  In the event consumers experience quality issues with their cosmetic purchase, the batch code assists the manufacturer in determining which BATCH on the market requires recall or resolution. In addition to assisting in recall efforts, BATCH CODING is an FDA requirement and most cosmetic brands require batch coding as a part of their internal and standard operating procedures.

Why is a batch code so important? Traceability in cosmetics is essential!  With such a variety of formulas on the market, one never knows what type of reaction a consumer could experience when trying out the newest and hottest cosmetic trends.  Though it is not common, in the event it does happen, a batch code can help cosmetic brands react swiftly in removing a potentially dangerous product from the market. Batch codes are also used in other areas of manufacturing such as the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Batch codes must be legible and easy to locate.  If you have never paid attention to a batch code on your cosmetic products before, try looking at your favorite lip gloss and locating a series of numbers that look similar to the following two:


Most batch codes are printed in the format of the picture on the left, while some brands opt to print them in a similar style to their base label. Which is shown on the picture on the right.

Remember, batch codes are also a part of Good Manufacturing Practices so always check your products for the batch code before you make your purchase. If you cannot determine the date of the series of numbers or letters you locate, you can go to checkcosmetic.net and enter the batch code. This site will help you identify the production date!

Have more questions about batch codes? Give us a call today and allow us to assist you in answering your batch code questions.

  1. Princess Austin - Dec 19, 2014
    Hello Rene! Though GMP does not specify exactly where to show the codes, industry standard dictates you place the batch code directly on the primary packaging as once the consumer discards the "beauty box" or secondary packaging, the traceability of the cosmetic ir primary packaging is losts. I hope this helps! Thanks, Princess Austin QA Specialist - Roberts
  2. Mr. Rene Brito - Dec 19, 2014
    Good job with your Blog. Excellent. I am the new Manuacturing Manager for a small cosmetics manufacturing company in South Carolina. We have 2 small containers inside a retail beauty box. We clearly show the Batch Code and the Expiration date on the Beauty Box. We do not show the codes in neither one of the 2 containers. Question: ISO-9001 and GMP do not specify exactly where to show the codes "FOR COSMETICS PRODUCTS", Are we meeting standards? Thank you, Mr. Rene Brito
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