Article by: Perry Romanowski
One of the goals of Chemists Corner is to help people who are curious about the cosmetic industry learn how they could start a career in cosmetics. That naturally attracts a number of questions which we have usually responded to via email. However, other people likely have similar questions so we’re going to edit and publish those questions and answers about cosmetic science careers here.
What kind of degree should I get?
I really enjoy Chemistry but I’m not sure I would like to do it for a living for the rest of my life. What I
really am interested in is going into cosmetic sales. Would a Chemistry degree be a good way to get into Cosmetic Sales? Or do most sales employees you know start with a business degree?
Answer: If sales is what you really want to do, you’d probably be best served by getting a business degree first with a minor in Chemistry. However, lots of cosmetic industry sales people start out in the lab (with chemistry degrees), then get an MBA and switch to sales.
What should my area of concentration be?
I have decided to major in Polymer and Color Chemistry, the only thing is I do not know what concentration I should chose. There is ACS certified, Science and Operations, and Medical. I would like to concentrate in Science and Operations and attend grad school for Cosmetic Science. My question is, are my chances still good for getting into grad school with regular physics and calculus courses versus more advanced?
Answer: I think that you would be fine following the Science and Operations route. If you really want to be a cosmetic chemist, you will not need to know as much of the math behind things. It is more important to know the characteristics of the chemicals that you are mixing together.
What can you expect when starting a cosmetic science career?
Hi i’m going to study Chemistry at University in the UK , at the end of this year and have a lot of questions. What is the average salary? (although money isn’t my only target it is significant)Do you
get a chance to meet people like you would if you were working as a pharmacist? What is the most important factor for loving your job? Do you ever get the feeling that you could do more with your skills? How hard is it to get a job with a big company e.g. Estee Lauder?
A. In the US, the average salary for a starting cosmetic chemist is ~$35,000 per year. I don’t know what that would be in pounds but you get the idea.
B. You don’t get much interaction with the general public but you certainly get to meet people who work in the cosmetic industry.
C. Loving my job involves doing something I’m interested in, feeling like I can make a difference, and making people happy. Cosmetic chemistry satisfies all those.
D. I certainly did think I could do more with my skills. That’s why I started my own business and it’s what I currently do.
E. If a company like Estee Lauder is hiring, it’s not too hard to get a job (if you have a good resume, degree, and interview).
Where are all the cosmetic science jobs?
I am currently in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area and was working on high-end skincare products and absolutely loved it, that is, until I got laid off! Immediately, I realized it was my opportunity to move and find a new job. I have been reaching out to vendors and recruiters about possible places throughout the U.S. that have a pretty fairly large number of cosmetics companies such as Dallas does. Do you have any ideas for possible cities that are good areas to move to in order to remain a cosmetic scientist? I’ve been told L.A., NY,and New Jersey. I was considering Oregon/Washington, Florida, and South Carolina or Georgia–do you think any of these are good ideas?
Answer: The places you mentioned (LA, New Jersey & NY) are the best places to go for cosmetics jobs. Jobs in Utah are looking good as are those in Ohio (Cincinnati). You should also be able to find something in Florida or in the Southeast. I’m not certain about the Oregon/Washington area.
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