Article by: Perry Romanowski
I first became aware of Johann Wiechers, the author of Memories of a Cosmetically Disturbed Mind, through the pages of the IFSCC magazine. He was the president of the IFSCC at the time and he had an interesting monthly column that treated cosmetic chemists like research scientists. He always had some interesting opinion or challenging puzzle for the reader to work through. I very much enjoyed it.
A few years ago when we started the Chemists Corner podcast we had him on as a guest. First, to talk about his articles in C&T magazine and next to talk about his optimization of formula software. You can still listen to those interviews here and here. I even met Johann at InCosmetics back in 2011. Sadly, Johann passed away shortly after we recorded our second interview.
Johann’s book, Memories of a Cosmetically Disturbed Mind, was published posthumously in 2013. It is made up of editorials that he had written over the course of a number of years for Cosmetics and Toiletries magazine. The work perfectly reflects Johann’s personality.
The book is organized in 55 “chapters” which are more descriptively considered articles. They cover numerous aspects of the cosmetic industry from cosmetic marketing, testing, raw materials, to the interaction with pop culture. The articles frequently start with some obscure subject which he then brings back around to the cosmetic chemist with the question, “What does this have to do with cosmetic science?” Each article is engaging, witty, and fun to read. The book also has a habit of sage advice that will be helpful to any cosmetic formulator.
Additionally, Johann challenges the cosmetic industry, and cosmetic chemists in particular, to change the way we do things. To be more scientific. This is perfectly summed up in the last few chapters which asks and answers the question “Is Cosmetic Science Really Bad?”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I believe most any cosmetic formulator or other person involved in the cosmetic industry will too. It is well worth a read. It may even inspire some of you to get out there and put your opinions and thoughts on paper (or digitally on a blog). While Johann is no longer around to keep pushing the cosmetic industry to improve, this book is a touching tribute to the man that he was.
You can get your copy of the book here – Memories of a Cosmetically Disturbed Mind.