cosmetic science book

Article by: Perry Romanowski

I’m a huge fan of the Harry’s Cosmetology book and have gotten a lot of use out of my copy of the 8th edition. That’s why I was excited to get a hard copy of the latest, 9th edition. It is 3 books instead of 1 and has been expanded to nearly 2300 pages. For comparison the previous book had 966 pages. The pages in the new edition are a bit smaller and the font is a little larger but it still represents about 40% more information than the 8th edition. cosmetic science book

Overall, I liked this new edition and believe it would be a helpful addition to the library of any cosmetic formulation lab. Since much of the content has changed from the 8th edition, I believe this new work should be looked at as an expansion of the previous book rather than a replacement for it.

Book Structure

The 9th edition of Harry’s Cosmeticology is divided into three volumes. The first volume is an introduction to the cosmetic industry and has excellent information about regulations around the world. It also delves into the biology of the human body including chapters on skin, hair, nails and most any other body part where you would use a cosmetic. It’s a much more thorough treatment of the subject than in past editions.

The second volume focuses on ingredients used in cosmetics and has useful chapters on surfactants, botanicals, preservatives, antioxidants, and many more. This volume explores the latest and emerging technologies in cosmetics but still covers most standard technologies.

The third volume is the largest of the three and looks at everything from product development, formulation, testing, packaging, manufacturing and more. There is a lot of great information here but even with 1000 plus pages, there were some topics that could have been covered in more detail.


There is a lot to like about this new edition of Harry’s. The expanded content is great, as was the addition of green chemistry topics and cutting edge science in the field of cosmetics. The new information on anti-aging pathways was particularly interesting and will be helpful to anyone formulating skin care products.

The book was written by dozens of experts who have many years of experience in the cosmetic industry. These authors range from formulating chemists, to dermatologists to college professors. The different voices helps make the work even more comprehensive.

I also like the inclusion of mind maps to help navigate the book. This gives a good sense of the entire topic in a single page. And while I have not tried the digital version I think this would in some ways be even more useful than the print version. One of the drawbacks of this new edition is that it doesn’t contain an index so when you are looking for specific topics it can be difficult. The search function on the digital version removes this obstacle.


Although my overall impression of this new work is positive there were a couple of things I thought could have been done differently. One of the things I liked most about the 8th edition of Harry’s was the inclusion of a number of example formulas. While this new edition has some example formulas this really could have been expanded. This would likely have made the book even longer and perhaps this is something that can be included in digital versions. I just think for cosmetic formulators, having example formulas and starting formulas is really one of the main reasons we consult a book like Harry’s.

The only other issue I had with the book was the fact that there wasn’t an index, but the table of contents was repeated in each of the three books. If this was only a few pages that wouldn’t be a problem, but the table of contents is around 50 pages long, repeated in each book. That’s a lot of additional pages that could have been filled with example formulations.

Overall review

As I said in the beginning I think this is an excellent book series and would be a fine addition to anyone’s cosmetic science laboratory. This doesn’t completely replace the 8th edition but rather expands on it. And with the two books together (8th and 9th edition) you probably don’t need any other book on the subject.

You can hear an interview with the editor-in-chief Meyer Rosen of Harry’s Cosmeticology here.

And see the Harry’s Cosmeticology website for more information.



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  3. Nomhle Leshomo

    The report is an eye opener,I understand the basic and willing to learn further.It also helped me in my laundry detergent manufacturing. Knowing functions of all the raw materials can help you to come up with new products.I am really impressed

  4. parag

    Sir, is this book available in India

  5. amanthani

    thank you for the review, very useful and informative..

    i agree with you, wholeheartedly.. i recently came upon a copy of ‘harry’s cosmetology’ and was pleasantly surprised by how much of a resource it turned out to be for me.. those sample formulations you mentioned, yea.. *nods* certainly an asset.. too bad this wasn’t a focal point of the nearly-doubled-in-size new edition, or else i would be more enthusiastic about obtaining an updated copy..

    after reading your review, i am just as happy with my current copy as i was before i realized a new edition had been released..

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