Deformulation Analysis

Chemical Deformulation Testing from PLSanalyticals’ Product Reverse Engineering Laboratory

Deformulation of products, also known as “chemical reverse engineering” is the process of analytically breaking down a material or product’s formulation/composition to separate and determine the identity and quantity of its components. When combined with product reformulation or re-engineering services our skilled chemists can develop the production process or “recipe” instructions detailing how to recreate the original product’s formulation.

This service is often used to perform detailed competitor product analyses, perform batch-to-batch variation testing, solve complex product failures, and to replicate/recreate existing products.

What details will a deformulation analysis and reformulation project give me?

Deformulation services in a way is like analyzing and chemically breaking down a finished cake in order to discover how to recreate it. The initial deformulation process reveals the product’s raw ingredients and components such as eggs, salt, butter, sifted flour, etc. A complete deformulation even quantifies these identified components which shows the exact amount needed of each item.

Then a reformulation analysis identifies the process of how and when these ingredients are combined, what instruments and machinery are needed, and what conditions and methods are utilized. Essentially reformulation services discover the “recipe” of how to make a product. Once complete this service shows the exact ingredients list, quantities utilized, and the production process which combined can be used to recreate the original product that was analyzed. It is also common during the reformulation stage to make specific modifications to insure that the new final product developed is an unique and innovative formulation, but one that is still based off of the original formula.

Deformulation and reformulation can be used to chemically analyze and re-engineer a wide variety of consumer, industrial, and specialty products including coatings, cleaners, polymers, pharmaceuticals, supplements, beverages, sunscreens, household products, oils, and more.

Common reasons to analyze a product’s formulation using deformulation services:

  • Duplicate Product – Duplicate and recreate or improve upon an existing formulation. Obtain a products ingredients list, quantities of each ingredient, and its production process.
  • Competing Products – Identify and quantify all of the ingredients in a competing formulation gaining invaluable information such as which active ingredients make the competing product perform better, allow it to be produced at a lower cost, or allow the formulation to meet its various specifications.
  • Manufacture Concerns – Your product’s current manufacturer keeps raising their costs, the quality of the end products your being delivered is degrading over time, you’re stuck paying high fees due to having to import the product from overseas, or your current manufacture is going out of business and you require the necessary information needed to develop the product yourself.
  • Patent Infringement – You believe that a competitor is infringing on your product’s patent or intellectual property, or your company is being sued and needs to prove that your formulation is not in violation.
  • Marketing Claims – In order to gain invaluable information for your marketing team on why your product performs better and/or safer than your competitor’s. This instills confidence and trust in your brand turning potential customers into buyers.
  • Product Failure/Defect – You need a failure analysis performed to identify unknown ingredients or contaminants in your product in order to quickly rectify your product’s defect and prevent a costly recall. Our laboratory can detect and identify various constituents within a product at very small levels in order to identify trace impurities.
  • Consistency – Identify any batch-to-batch irregularities or variations within your product through a Good-Vs-Bad sample analysis. This insures that your customers are getting an effective and safe product regardless of which lot the product came from.
  • Raw Material Analysis – Evaluate a new product or raw material supplier before you enter into a long term contract.
  • Regulatory Analysis & Hazardous Compounds Identification – Discover un-safe, obsolete, or banned ingredients/substances within a formulation so appropriate functional replacements can be swapped in allowing you to develop and sell your product in various international markets. This technique can also be utilized to create eco-friendly versions of existing formulations by exchanging questionable materials in a formulation with natural counterparts.
  • Product Bench-marking – Confirmation of product identity during product development and for product bench-marking.

While many laboratories offer services to identify a formulation’s major components, few can accurately deliver a complete deformulation analysis that identifies and quantifies the ingredients in a complex formulation. Even fewer can successfully re-combine the ingredients in order to deliver the formulation’s proper production process or “recipe”.

Have a Question? Want a free initial consultation with a Ph.D. Scientist? Want a Quote?

Call: 800-800-8000

Experience the PLSanalytical difference:

  • Accredited Laboratory – FDA-Registered, DEA-Licensed, cGMP-Compliant, ISO 10725-Accredited
  • Quality Service – We pride ourselves on the level of customer service we give each client as each project receives a dedicated team of chemists to provide support both during and after project is completion.
  • Ph.D. Consultation – We offer free initial consultations with our Ph.D. chemists who can describes the process involved to complete the analysis, identify potential challenges, and quickly deliver you a customized proposal.
  • Strict Confidentiality – Our clients own all testing data produced and the results developed on their behalf.

Ingredients a product de-formulation analysis can identify and quantify:

  • Major & Minor Components
  • Active & Inactive Ingredients
  • Matrix Resins & Polymer Resin Identity
  • Binders, Fillers, Dispersants, Synergists
  • Thermal & UV Stabilizers
  • Activators, Inhibitors
  • Antioxidants
  • Flame Retardants
  • Wetting Agents
  • Pigments, Additives, & Trace Ingredients
  • Impact Modifiers, Reinforcing Fibers, & Extenders
  • Functional Groups Analysis
  • And More!

We offer multiple levels of product deformulation/formulation testing including:

  • Full Identification & Quantitation of All Components
  • Semi-Quantitative Identification of Major and Minor Ingredients (Chemical Class & Function)
  • Identification of Major Components
  • Quantification of Specific Components
  • Full Deformulation & Reformulation (Duplication/Re-Engineering)
  • Partial Deformation & Reformation (New Product Innovation Based on Existing Technology)
  • Source Materials and Suggest Alternative Ingredients


When reformulating or re-creating a product for you our chemists will send you trial batches along the way to evaluate and critique. Once your new formulation meets your exact specifications we can perform a technology transfer allowing you to produce the product yourself in-house or bring it to the contract manufacturer of your choice. If you need a suitable contract blender or manufacturing expertise, our experienced teams of chemists maintain many contacts within the industry and can help you find a suitable home for your product.

PLSanalytical has successfully chemically reverse engineered hundreds of products and formulations. We use advanced extraction and Separation measures to separate, identify, and quantify the ingredients/components within a wide range of commercial products, industrial products, and specialty goods including:

  • Pigments, Dyes, & Inks
  • Pharmaceuticals & Drug Delivery Systems
  • Nutraceuticals (Supplements, Vitamins, Multi-Vitamins)
  • Medical Devices & Similar Products
  • Paints & Coatings (Liquid, Powder, Inks, Toner, Architectural, Automotive, Stains, Finishes, Etc.)
  • Sheets, Films, Multi-Layer Films, & Coatings on Films
  • Polymers, Plastics, & Residual Monomer Levels & Molecular Weight (Plasticizers, Pellets, PET, PMMA, Degradable Products, PP, PU, SAN, Nylon, PE, Flexible & Rigid PVC)
  • Copolymers, Blends/Mixtures & Multilayer Architectures
  • Additives (PSA, Hot Melts, Water Borne)
  • Adhesives & Sealants (Epoxy, Silicone, PU)
  • Cleaners & Cleaning Solutions (Industrial & Commercial, Detergents, Surface Cleaning Agents, Pool Treatments)
  • Soaps (Facial, Hand, Anti-Bacterial, Etc.)
  • Rubber & Latexes (TPE, EPDM, Neoprene, Natural, SIS, EVA, PUR, NBR, Silicone, Etc.)
  • Food & Beverages (Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks, Candy, Vodka, & other Liquors)
  • Composites, Fibers, & Textiles (Carob, Graphite, Kevlar Fibers, Garment, Upholstery, Etc.)
  • Manufactured Goods, Process Solutions, & Fabricated Parts
  • Lubricants (Commercial & Industrial)
  • Solvent Mixtures & Surfactant-Based Products or Mixtures
  • Home, Health, & Beauty Products
  • Cosmetics (Shampoos, Conditioners, Creams, Gels, Ointments, Powders, & Feminine Products)
  • Car Care Products (Waxes, Soaps, Creams, Sprays)
  • Packaging Materials
  • Decomposition products
  • Automotive Parts (Metals, Polymers, Coatings, Cleaners, Etc.)
  • Spa Treatments (Sun-Tanning & Bronzing Lotions)
  • E-Liquid / E-Cigarette Formulations
  • Water Treatment Chemicals
  • Unknown Materials & Substances

We utilize many advanced separation and analytical techniques as well as state-of-the-art instrumentation during our deformulation analyses. We will develop customized analysis to meet your specific needs and solve your toughest problems.

Instruments often utilized for deformulation analysis include:

  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS)
  • Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectroscopy (LC/MS)
  • Ion Chromatography (IC)
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR)
  • Gas Chromatography / Flame Ionization Detection (GC/FID)
  • Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
  • Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy / Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS)
  • Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)
  • Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • SVOC Analysis
  • Ultraviolet / Visible Spectroscopy (UV/VIS)
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP)
  • X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)
  • Elemental Analysis
  • Rotary Evaporator Concentration
  • Soxhlet Extraction
  • Distillation
  • And More

Deformulation Services performed for:

  • Manufacturing and R&D Firms
  • Pharma Researches & Manufactures
  • Product Distributors
  • Patent Law Firms
  • Insurance Firms
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Other Laboratories
  • Entrepreneurs

Does the product you would like to deformulate have a patent?

We can perform a patent search to ensure that there are no patents that would prevent you from producing the product and entering the market. We have partnerships with IP law firms to insure compliance with the laws and regulations.

Do you share client’s information?

We do not! We value the privacy of each of our clients! All testing data and results produced through work on behalf of our clients is owned by our clients. We also offer a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement which can be found at

Our clients use deformulation analysis for a variety of reasons, contact PLSanalytical today at (800) 800-8000 for a free initial consultation with one of our Ph.D. chemists who can help you solve even your most complex analytical or product development challenges.

Call: 800-800-8000