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Careers in Cosmetic Science

There are many opportunities for careers in the cosmetic industry. Graduates with a background in various science disciplines have skills and expertise that are marketable in many areas of the industry. The cosmetics industry can be divided into five basic categories:

  • - Finished goods manufacturers
  • - Raw Material Suppliers
  • - Consultants and Testing
  • - Laboratories
  • - Government
  • - Academia

Further more, job descriptions in the cosmetic industry are numerous and varied including:

  • - Product Development Chemist/ Cosmetic Chemist
  • - Analytical Chemistry for raw materials and production
  • - Cosmetology
  • - Manufacturing Engineer
  • - Safety Specialist evaluates raw materials and finished goods to establish their safety during use
  • - Regulatory Specialist ensures compliance with local and global regulations
  • - Toxicologist/Safety Specialist evaluates raw materials and finished goods to establish their safety during use
  • - Microbiologist
  • - Packaging Engineer
  • - Perfumer
  • - Claims development to support product performance
  • - Perfumer
  • - Quality Assurance
  • - Technical Sales Representative assists customers (product developers) with formulation and technical support
  • - Marketing
  • - Science Public Relations
  • - Educator

So you can see there are a wide range of career possibilities depending on what you find most interesting.  If you’d like me to elaborate further on any of these roles in the cosmetic industry, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to do a more in-depth discussion.

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Cecilee 09/05/2014, 6:49 pm

    Hello Kelly,
    I am so glad I stumbled upon your article! My name is Cecilee, and I will be graduating in May of 2015 with my Bachelors degree in Communication Arts.

    Currently I am in the process of deciding if I want to further my education and get a possible minor or major in chemistry.

    Working at an Aveda salon I have developed a fascination for our products and the ingredients used to create them and having a gluten intolerance I’ve had to make myself more aware of the cosmetic products I use.

    I hope that you could share more details with me about:
    “- Technical Sales Representative assists customers (product developers) with formulation and technical support
    – Marketing”

    If you any other information/tips that you would be willing to share I would greatly appreciated it. By chance, do you know of any cosmetic companies that offer internships? Thank you.

    All the best,
    Cecilee

    • Kelly 09/08/2014, 5:49 pm

      Hi Cecilee
      A technical sales rep works for a raw material supplier. They have a deep understanding of the products they sell and help formulators by sharing this knowledge when it comes to things like stability and incompatibility with other raw materials or processing concerns. They also create prototype formulations to showcase the materials they sell. Travel is often involved. Hope this helps!

  • PaviElle 08/24/2014, 9:12 pm

    Hello Kelly,
    I have been interested in cosmetic industry recently, and I am not sure what my next steps would be towards the career. My background is in physical chemistry. I will be graduating in December with my doctorate degree. I am mostly interested in working in quality assurance or with raw materials, but my background is limited to chemical interactions, which does not include organic synthesis. Do you have any advice as to how I can make myself a prospective candidate for either career options?
    Thank you,
    PaviElle

    • Kelly Dobos 08/25/2014, 1:44 pm

      Hi PaviElle,
      I have to admit that with your background it may be hard to get into this industry. I would look primarily a larger companies that are able to take on PhDs. There are plenty of large scale raw material suppliers in the US, try Merck and Ashland for starters. Hope this helps.

  • Rashmi 08/05/2014, 8:24 pm

    Hi ,
    10 years ago I did my M.sc & Phd in Organic chemistry from India. After Ph.d I didn’t get chance to work . Now I am in Canada and I’m looking for career advise. Can I directly apply for the job or do I need take any certificate course in Canada.

    Thank you,
    Rashmi

    • Kelly 08/07/2014, 1:39 pm

      I’m unsure about the nature of the industry in Canada, but would guess that you can find employment with your existing credentials.

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  • Nicola 08/01/2014, 8:43 am

    Thanks for this post – most timely! I’ve just graduated with a BSc in Physiology and am looking to find out more about careers in the cosmetic science industry that make use of my scientific interest and knowledge but don’t involve being a cosmetic scientist in the lab. So far I’m struggling to find much information about this – I’d love to hear more about the roles and any pointers you have in terms of where to find further info.

    • Kelly Dobos 08/01/2014, 9:05 am

      Hi Nicola
      Are there any specific roles you are interested in? Each one has far too much detail to cover all at once. Thanks! -Kelly

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