Article by: Kelly Dobos
There are a variety of trade organizations that you can join in your professional career, and there are some targeted specifically for the cosmetic industry and cosmetic chemists. These groups provide many benefits like education, networking opportunities and career development. Most groups offer deep discounts for student members and are an excellent way to immerse yourself in the industry. These trade groups are often run by volunteers within the organization, this provides you with a potential opportunity to gain some organizational and management skills while getting to know your peers.
Below are just a few examples of industry trade groups. We’d also like to know your suggestions for valuable trade groups, please post your suggestions!
Dedicated to the advancement of cosmetic science, the Society has 18 Chapters throughout the United States and Canada which meet regularly to exchange information and expertise. Local groups organize educational seminars, publish newsletters, and hold supplier’s day events (a venue for many raw material suppliers showcase their ingredients). The Journal of Cosmetic Science is only available to members and was just recently archived online. The SCC holds two national meetings each year which feature two days worth of presentations on the industry’s leading research and technologies. Membership in the SCC also entitles you to membership in the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists and access to IFSCC magazine.
Countries around the world have trade organizations for cosmetic scientists. Start with the IFSCC to find your country’s allied society.
Originally formed as a social organization, today CEW has grown to include education, career development, and philanthropic endeavors. The group is based in New York City and membership ranges from entry level positions to senior executives. Networking opportunities, interviews with industry newsmakers, access to online mentoring and podcasts are all part of the package. CEW also runs a beauty awards ceremony on a yearly basis, giving you insights into the industry insiders’ top picks and innovative new products. The CEW Foundation’s Cancer and Careers program works to provide support to women with cancer in the industry who wish to continue working.
Fats and oils are used in a variety of industries including food, industrial, and cosmetics, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your trade group membership. Innovative concepts and unique ingredients can cross-over. AOCS offers a broad range of technical services, publications, courses, and eLearning modules. The group boosts over 4,000 members around the globe and holds multiple international meetings each year.
Personal Care Products Council (formerly CTFA)
PCPC represents 600 member companies and acts as the voice of the industry by providing information regarding ingredient safety, safety assessment and promotion of regulatory standards. The group is also responsible for assigning new ingredient names in the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI).
The PCPC publishes in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, and provides access to the ingredient database to members online along with safety and regulatory information that is extremely valuable to scientists in the industry. The database also features supplier information which is very helpful when sourcing ingredients. Group meetings include scientific conferences, legal and regulatory conferences, and other issue-specific seminars.
The ACS is the oldest chemical society in the United States and covers all areas of chemistry including the cosmetic industry. It is the one you were most likely familiar with since they have a large presence on college campuses. Membership has many benefits including local chapter group meetings, national conferences and even health insurance if you need it. Additionally, all members are automatically signed up for their weekly publication Chemical & Engineering News. Other groups discussed are more relevant to cosmetic chemists but if you are interested in meeting other working chemists, the ACS has many.
For a list of more relevant trade associations, see this useful list from the cosmetic index website.
Do you have suggestions for valuable trade groups that we missed? Post your suggestions in the comments below.