Article by: Perry Romanowski

The slower holiday season is an excellent time for cosmetic chemists to brainstorm some new ideas to work on in the upcoming year.  So, try out this week’s innovation question and see what kind of ideas you can come up with.

Scenario 6

Suppose you were not allowed to sell any cosmetics that contained chemicals.  Assuming the need for cosmetic products doesn’t change, how would that change the cosmetic industry?


1.  Cosmetic companies would become become publishers and sell formulas rather than products.
2.  Formulators wouldn’t need cosmetic manufacturers to sell products.
3.  Raw material suppliers would have to sell ingredients directly to consumers.
4.  Formulating would become a service job.
5.  Store shelves at Walmart and Target would be empty or be books.
6.  More people would become experts at creating their own products.
7.  Chemical accidents in the home would increase.
8.  There would be a reduction in plastic waste.
9.  A black market of people who sell products to friends and family would develop.
10. Brands would not mean as much or anything.

Now it’s your turn.  How do you think the cosmetic industry would be different?


  1. Avatar
    Nancy Liedel

    No chemicals, no product, no original source, no nothing. If a company brags it’s products are, “chemical free,” you should expect a vacuum in a box. I’m talking the black hole kind, not a, “Hoover.”

    No chemicals, no life, it’s space.

    So banning the manufacture of anything without chemicals is essentially breaking the ability to create products. There would be no water, because it has chemicals in it. Never mind, food, clothing, plants…I want broccoli now.

    1. Avatar

      Ah, well, you’re thinking to literally. People who write books and distribute them digitally, create products without chemicals.

  2. Avatar

    I like your examples very much. I assume with chemicals you also mean vegetable oils or other food grade cosmetic ingredients?

    I think a potential problem would be the price of special ingredients. With many people only buying small quantities, the prices will sky-rocket. Just like the economical impact and job losses.

    My take is that the ‘herbal’ way will probably increase like herbal baths, more people gardening or bees keeping or making soap out of tallow.

    It could also be possible for the clothes and/or the paint industry to develop some kind of ‘breathing coating’ of the skin, to protect from the sun and also making daily washing and moisturizing less of a need. Cosmetic scientist could work on such projects.

    I also see an increase in home making of perfumes as there would be more need to cover up body odors. Just like more need for permanent or henna tattoo’s instead of color cosmetics. And probably an increase in supplements that would be taken internally and have a exterior beautifying effect (like taking a pill to change the color of your hair).

    1. Avatar

      Great ideas Eliza.

      I was actually talking about all chemicals. Essentially, companies would have to figure out how to solve personal care problems without using any chemicals (even water). That’s the challenge.

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