How Serums Are Made

Serums are a skincare staple for people worldwide, whether looking for help with fine lines and wrinkles, skin tone and texture or having healthier skin. But most people need to learn how their must-have serum went from being an idea to sitting on their bathroom counter. Dr. Lucy Gildea, Mary Kay’s Chief Scientific Officer, explains how Mary Kay creates the serums you love — from producing the idea for a serum to launching the product in its final form.

Phase 1: Ideation Generating an idea for a new serum based on its intended benefits

When the idea for a serum is born, we start by deciding what benefits the serum should deliver. Mary Kay has teams of scientists conducting ongoing research to develop the next innovation.

We utilize many external and internal resources outside the beauty and skincare industry and collaborate with multiple business teams to generate the next great idea. To create pictures, the unit incorporates cutting-edge skin science, consumer behaviors and attitudes, and upcoming trends.


Mary Kay’s Research & Development team includes distinguished scientists worldwide, holding doctoral degrees and other advanced degrees across multiple disciplines: skin biology, cell biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and more.

Phase 2: Formula Development

Selecting safe ingredients that deliver the desired benefits and aesthetics


Ingredients play critical roles in creating and perfecting the formula. We choose each element for a specific purpose and function. Of the thousands of ingredients evaluated at R&D by toxicologists, microbiologists, and other degreed professionals, we only choose the best ingredients for further development.

We study the effects of our product on skin cells in the lab with in vitro testing, perform clinical studies on panelists to measure improvements in skin and conduct consumer studies to see if the users observed or perceived the effects we desire.

Your safety is our highest priorityso we review every ingredient for safety, quality, and efficacy. We never compromise on the quality of our products, so you can be confident that every element, whether it’s an industry favorite like vitamin C or a peptide formulated explicitly for a Mary Kay (r) product, meets our highest safety standards.


The team also ensures that the serum delivers an aesthetic experience that matches the product’s concept. That means the packaging, texture, and scent also must meet our rigorous standards and exceed your expectations.


Mary Kay has over 1,600 patents covering everything from ingredients to delivery systems to packaging.

Phase 3: Testing

We test many iterations of the serum’s formula to ensure it delivers the desired clinical performance and consumer experience. The team also tests these formulas with various challenges to ensure the procedure is stable for its entire shelf life.

We also conduct additional quality reviews, which include clinical studies with independent dermatologists, ophthalmologists, and other medical experts.

Phase 4: Launch

Once we have a final formula that meets our standards for safety and efficacy, a variety of teams ensures that this new, exciting serum makes it into your hands with meaningful education about its benefits, application instructions, and more!

The Power of Collaboration

The most rewarding part of this process at Mary Kay is the collaboration and co-creation among multiple disciplines within the Company. And since the R&D team’s research also includes input from consumers and Independent Beauty Consultants, we’re also indirectly co-creating with you. To learn more about Mary Kay(r) serums and to find the best one for your skin, connect with an Independent Beauty Consultant! As your skin care advisor, she can help you love your skin with a routine tailored to your needs from the first step to the last.

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