How Spectrophotometers Improve Shaving Cream Color Quality Control

My shaving cream changed last year. It was a small difference, but I noticed it. When the gel came out of the can, it used to be a cool green. Then it was a cool blue. Why? I wondered. Is there something else that’s different about it? It started to get under my skin. Every time I went to shave, I was reminded that it wasn’t the same cream I was used to. So every time I would accidentally nick my Adam’s apple, or need to take extra strokes to clear my upper lip, I would wonder–is it the cream? Or it just me? I’ll never really know the answer. About two months after my shaving cream changed, I changed my shaving cream.

shaving cream in a palm
An inconsistent color is instantly noticeable in shaving cream. Image Credit: Flickr user Karolina Mis

Brand Consistency Drives Customer Retention in Shaving Cream

Manufacturers of aerosol shaving cream and post-foam shaving gel know that color quality control is essential to brand consistency. The color of a shaving foam or gel as it exits the aerosol can is a customer’s first indication of its quality. For foams, any deviation from the standard white can alarm the customer that this foam is somehow different from any other they have previously used. This can lead to suspicion of the product and may cause a customer to think twice about which shaving cream they purchase the next time they go to the store. Color inconsistency can cause a company to lose not just a sale, but a customer.

 

The issue is even more acute in post-foam gels, where colorants are specifically added to deliver a calculated customer impression. If the color isn’t right, it throws off customer expectations in the same way off-color foam does. It also wastes colorants and the time spent developing the proper formula for the gel mixture. Finally, it points to a process flaw. Whether due to temperature instability, improper mix ratios, or impure ingredients, there is a reason behind the off-color gel. This process flaw may be the culprit behind other, less visible issues with the shaving cream as well, such as issues with lubrication or skin moisturization.

man with shaving cream on face
Spectrophotometers can ensure color consistency in shaving cream. Image Credit: Flickr User torbakhopper

Spectrophotometers Ensure Brand Color Consistency

To ensure brand consistency, and to detect any visible indications of process flaws, shaving cream manufacturers can employ spectrophotometers. These color measurement instruments can detect minute differences in color, even between different shades of white. By measuring the color of batch samples, manufacturers can guarantee that each can of shaving cream spits out the same color foam or gel. This eliminates any issues with consumer perception of color, increasing customer retention. If color issues are detected, manufacturers will know to observe the rest of their process more closely to find any inefficiencies.

 

Objective Standards Ensure Repeatable Quality Control

Manufacturers develop color tolerance standards by testing quality batches of their product. These standards are saved in the instrument as numerical values. This is an important distinction over earlier color quality control methods, such as human observation. Numerical values, based on repeatable measurements, are able to render color objectively–not based on subjective human color comparisons. This allows for measurement certainty expressed in decimal points, not to the nearest matching shade. As such, color standards can be communicated between different labs, and remain the same no matter who is observing them, and under what light.

 

Rapid Measurement Streamlines Process Efficiency

The measurement process is simple. Samples are taken before a batch is scanned and brought to the laboratory. Each sample is placed in the instrument’s holder. A technician selects the standard it will be measured against and presses a button. The instrument records the color and displays how it compares to the standards. If the color is acceptable, the technician approves the batch. If not, the batch is flagged for corrective action. The entire process can take place in a few minutes. As such, manufacturers can produce more consistent products, without sacrificing production efficiency.

At Hunterlab, we’ve been developing top-quality spectrophotometers for almost 65 years. In that time, we’ve learned a lot from the industries that put our instruments to use. We listen to our customers and work to make our spectrophotometers as accurate, reliable, and efficient as their processes and products. To learn more about how spectrophotometers can improve your shaving cream production process, contact our friendly, knowledgeable sales staff today.