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The Basics of Cosmetic Chemistry

I found a couple of interesting articles that explain the absolute basic compounds used in modern day cosmetics.  Neither of these are particularly thorough, but if you want a quick understanding of the chemistry and science of cosmetics, both of these articles do a good job. female cosmetic chemist

For people just coming into this industry the following articles will be helpful background information for some of the more in-depth topics we will talk about here in the future.

For cosmetic scientists working in the cosmetic industry, you can use these to brush up on your basics and also as a way to explain the chemistry to people in your marketing department & other groups outside R&D.

1. Chemistry of cosmetics. – A piece written by the Australian Academy of Science.  Short but hits the primary raw materials and provides links to pages with some demonstrations.

2.  Cosmetic Chemistry explained – From the title Chemistry explained.  The author gives a little more information than the first reference.  Should be particularly useful for background information to share outside R&D.

Neither of these resources should be considered “high science” but if you need a quick introduction to the primary compounds used in cosmetics, they’re useful.

Do you have a favorite source for background information about cosmetic science?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Patrick 06/28/2014, 5:47 am

    Hi, I’m looking for a Starting Formulation for a “Rinse-Free/No-Rinse Hair Shampoo/Conditioner” that can be Used in a Shower Cap & needs no Rinsing.
    Can anyone help?
    Regards Patrick

    • Perry Romanowski 06/29/2014, 3:51 pm

      See our post on sources for free cosmetic formulas.

  • Anna 05/07/2014, 9:07 pm

    can u please talk about how the cosmetics are bad for ur skin that would be a great help


    • Perry Romanowski 05/07/2014, 9:18 pm

      What do you mean they are “bad for your skin”? Used normally, cosmetics are not bad for your skin.

  • Leticia 05/01/2014, 7:24 pm

    Could I put a duplicate on my magazine? I desire to talk about it with my readers

    • Perry Romanowski 05/02/2014, 8:36 am

      sure. Just provide a link back and credit the source.

  • zhian 09/21/2012, 10:31 am

    hey i have a few questions about cosmetic chemistry and i would really appreciate it if you replied soon.

    what kind of education is required for an entry level postition? i checked your website and couldnt find the answers.
    also what skills are required for an entry level postition?
    also what are the hazards or drawbacks associated with this occupation?
    I would really, really appreciate the answers to these questions because i am doing research on cosmetic chemists and this website has been very helpful so far. Thank you very much for your time.

  • Starr 08/14/2012, 2:55 pm

    I need some for a chemistry project?
    for my high school, and it has to be good. and when i read through it, i have to be able to answer these questions;
    please and thank you.

    • Perry 08/17/2012, 7:00 am

      We would be happy to help but your questions need to be more specific.

      • Jane 06/08/2013, 5:30 pm

        Hi Perry, could you please share some on your knowledge about the effect of functional groups, Hydrocarbons, Alkanes, Alkenes, Alkynes, Ethers, Aldehydes, Ketones, Carboxylic Acids, Esters, Amines, Amides, Nitrile and Thiol, on the reactivity of molecules in cosmetic/skincare products.

        • Perry Romanowski 06/09/2013, 5:12 pm

          I’ll try to do that in a future blog post. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Sanjeewa 07/06/2012, 1:19 pm

    how to start a research for cosmetic product

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