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The Top 7 Cosmetic Science Books

Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry 3rd Edition

Sure it might be a bit much to include my own book on a list like this, but it cosmetic sciencereally is one of the best resources for introducing someone to the world of cosmetic science. The book is in its third edition and has been expanded to over 50 chapters. It covers everything from industry jargon, raw materials, formulating, and even testing. It also includes chapters written by other industry experts so it’s not just “my book”.

Chemistry and Manufacture of Cosmetics: Science 4th edition

This is one of the original, complete set of books about cosmetic science. It is packed full of technical information covering cosmetic science, formulating and cosmetic ingredients. Almost every industry expert has written a chapter for this 4 volume book series. If you have a question about cosmetic chemistry, no doubt this book will have the answer for you.

Harry’s Cosmeticology 8th Edition

The first edition of this classic book on cosmetic science was first published in 1940. It is now in its 8th edition and is one of the most comprehensive tomes on the subject. It covers all aspects of cosmetic science in 5 sections including the substrates (skin, hair, nails), formulation approaches, ingredients, specific formulations, and production. As a formulation chemist, you will find this single volume book an indispensable resource that you frequently reference.

Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Third Edition

Much like Harry’s, the Handbook of Cosmetic Science & Technology attempts to cover as many aspects of cosmetic science as it can in a single book. This 880+ page work covers everything from the biology of hair, skin and nails to cosmetic formula types, cosmetic ingredients and even cosmetic claims. Of all the books mentioned thus far, this one does the best job of covering cosmetic claims and testing. It’s definitely worth having on your bookshelf.

A Short Textbook of Cosmetology

I don’t know where I got this book but it is a nice, short volume that covers the basics of cosmetic science. It was written by an author from Switzerland so it has a more Euro-centric view of the cosmetic industry. Other books discussed many focus on the North American cosmetic industry. I particularly enjoyed the extensive historical section in this book. The book is significantly shorter than others weighing in at only 435 pages, but it packs a lot of information in those pages.

Surfactants in Personal Care Products and Decorative Cosmetics, Third Edition (Surfactant Science)

This book is a bit more technical about the science of surfactants than any others on the list. It has chapters written by a variety of cosmetic industry experts and is an excellent resource for the advanced cosmetic chemist. It is probably not one you want to start with but after a few years of formulating, you’ll definitely want to have it in your cosmetic science library.

Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair

This is the most specific of all the books on this list and its inclusion is more reflective of the fact that I spent most of my time formulating products for hair. However, if there is anything you want to know about the science and biology of hair, you need go nowhere else but this book. It explains all aspects of human hair and is based on the latest research. In the hair care world, the book is so ubiquitous it is simply referred to as “Robbins”.

Do you know of a cosmetic science book that helped you which wasn’t included on this list? Leave a comment below and let the cosmetic chemists of the world know about it.

{ 100 comments… add one }
  • Charlotte G 11/26/2015, 12:48 am

    Dear Dr Perry
    Could you recommend a beginner’s guide to cosmetic science for a beauty therapist (I don’t have a science background).

    Thank you

    • Perry Romanowski 11/30/2015, 9:11 am

      You might find our course useful. http://chemistscorner.com/members
      But a book to check out is “Cosmetics Made Absolutely Simple”

      • Becky 02/01/2016, 9:44 am

        Hello, I would like to start my. Own cosmetics business how can I get the book for that covers all about the fomular about skincare

  • Nasim 11/03/2015, 12:44 pm

    Dear Dr. perry
    I am looking for some solvents used in cosmetics. In which book can I find them?
    thanks in advance

    • Perry Romanowski 11/03/2015, 9:09 pm

      What type of products are you making. The main solvents in cosmetics are Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, and Alcohol

  • John 10/02/2015, 1:04 pm

    Dear Mr.Perry,

    We would like to start manufacturing solid bar soaps from soap noodles. And for making different types of bar soaps (different color, fregnancy, for different kind of skin), what kind of books are useful for us?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Perry Romanowski 10/22/2015, 8:49 pm

      You should be able to find information in Harry’s Cosmeticology Edition 9

  • Kitty Mattina 09/20/2015, 7:38 pm

    Dr. Perry Romanowski, I come from Italy and I am working for a new company in USA. I attended a master in Cosmetic Science and Technology and of course I am not really prepared about the cosmetic american law, please can you help me to figure out which book could let me to understand better this field? and how start to formulate in a company? Thank you

    • Perry Romanowski 09/21/2015, 7:34 am

      the Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry book would be good for helping you understand that.

    • Jasmina 09/21/2015, 4:00 pm

      Hello Mattina,
      I would like to ask you about your masters in Cosmetic Science and Technology, at what university you have studied at and other info like that. Currently I am studying Cosmetology at the faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and I’m planing to continue my postgraduate studies elsewhere in the same field. So, I would be very grateful if we can exchange e-mails, of course if it is OK to you?
      Just in case, you can contact me at jasmina_minova@hotmail.com.
      Thank you in advance.

  • Aurelia 07/14/2015, 10:08 am

    Hi, I am currently doing my MSC in cosmetic science in Faculty of pharmacy in brussels free university and i lookking for an internship in canada or usa do you have any plans for me?? And i am thinking about a PH Degre, can you recommend one to me? Thanks in advance for your time

    • Perry Romanowski 07/14/2015, 11:52 am

      I don’t know of any PHD programs in cosmetics. For internships you can search our site for ‘internships’ or post a request on our forum. http://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk

    • Ximena 08/05/2015, 5:31 pm

      Hello Aurelia! I bumped into your message and it is great to hear you’re studying that MSC in ULB, I am myself interested in applying to the same programme! But have some questions on application process and so on, that of course give me your opinion as well on the programme
      Do you think we could exchange email accounts for further details? :)

      • Jasmina 09/21/2015, 3:33 pm

        Hey Aurelia,
        Similar to Ximena, I also bumped into your message and I would be very grateful if you could give me more information about the process of applying, because currently I’m studying Cosmetology at the faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and I’d rather continue elsewhere in the same field of studies. So once again, if I am not bothering you, it would be nice if we can exchange e-mails, to ask you a couple questions on private.
        Thanks in advance.

  • payal 04/12/2015, 11:36 am

    hello perry,
    I have completed my b.tech on chemical engineering. Now, I am working in quality control department in a cement industry, I want to switch over to a cosmetic industry. I am confused as on how to pursue it. Should I go for masters in cosmetic science. And, also I am from India so can you suggest me some university which will be convenient for me. Please I need your help.

    • Perry Romanowski 04/21/2015, 2:54 pm

      That would help. University of Cincinnati would be a good choice or Fairleigh Dickenson university. Both would make it easier to transition.

      • odusanya sakiru 07/31/2015, 3:59 pm

        Pls can u help in getting one of these books Handbook of cosmetic science and technology…..thanks

        • Perry Romanowski 08/03/2015, 9:35 am

          I don’t have access to these. you can get the book through the links on this page.

  • Tom Vichroski 03/24/2015, 10:17 am

    Certainly agree about “Preservatives For Cosmetics” by David Steinberg.
    Also “Fragrance Applications: A Survival Guide” by Stephen J. Herman.

  • Michelle 03/07/2015, 12:39 am

    Hallo Perry! I would like to be a cosmetic chemist. I have completed my bachelor degree in applied chemistry and I am now doing an MPhil in analytical chemistry. I am planning to go further in the field of cosmetic chemistry/sciences. Should I look for a PhD position in pure chemistry (e.g. organic chemistry) or in pharmacology or diplomas in cosmetic science? Thank you very much!

    • Perry Romanowski 03/09/2015, 8:39 pm

      If you want to get into the cosmetic industry getting a masters degree in cosmetic science is better than getting a PhD.

  • Kristy 01/02/2015, 10:56 pm

    Hi I was wondering if there is a text book you would recommend for learning about formulating? I am woking on my chemistry degree but I would like to jump start my knowledge as a soon to be cosmetic chemist.

    • Perry Romanowski 01/07/2015, 6:13 pm

      Any of the books above are recommended.

  • Matteo 12/17/2014, 4:53 am

    Hello mr. Perry,
    Is it possible to download these books? I’m a very interested student in cosmetology and i’ll be working for one year in a quite famous laboratory in milan for my thesis (pharmacy master degree). They’re too expensive for me, but i think i need to improve my knowledge!!

    • Perry Romanowski 12/22/2014, 5:38 pm

      Hello Matteo – sorry, I am not the publisher of the books. You’ll have to ask them.

  • annemariemoses 09/22/2014, 11:14 pm

    Did receive your emails. However, when I tried to download the information, nothing happened.
    please try again.
    anne moses

    • Perry Romanowski 09/24/2014, 5:45 am

      You should try right-clicking on the link and choosing ‘save as’. That will save the book to your computer where you can read it.

  • Jenny 06/02/2014, 11:53 am

    Hi, I am looking to start my own product line, mainly eyeshadows, could you recomend a good book. I am looking for good pigment colours and also natural, non-toxic ingredients. Thank you.

    • Perry Romanowski 06/16/2014, 5:40 pm

      There was a book we reviewed on Color Cosmetics. Search the site for the link.

  • kurtulus 05/24/2014, 2:43 pm

    about cosmetic chemistry What is the best book that can help me?

    • Perry Romanowski 05/29/2014, 6:40 pm

      Any of the books in the above post.

  • Ms E 05/07/2014, 12:02 pm

    i wanted to create Matte lipsticks Pressed Pigments/Gel liners which book has the best formula? In addition to that which book best cover skincare formulations?

  • SHEIKH DASTAGIRI 01/07/2014, 4:54 am

    Mr. Perry,
    Are there any institutes in INDIA offering courses in Cosmetic Science. I would like to know more about natural cosmetic chemistry or short courses on Natural Cosmetic Science in INDIA.

    • Perry Romanowski 01/07/2014, 9:04 am

      I’m unaware of any cosmetic science courses in India.

    • Jwalaprasad 04/01/2014, 1:41 am

      In India 3 institutes are conducting Cosmetics courses
      1) V. G. Vaze College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Mumbai University
      (Post Graduate Diploma In cosmetics and Perfumery Management)
      2) Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University
      [B.Tech. (Cosmetics)]
      3)L.A.D. & S.R.P. College for Women, Nagpur
      [B.Tech, M.Tech., Ph.D., Quality Assurance (Cosmetics)]

  • Udorji Festus.O. 01/01/2014, 4:39 pm

    Sir Perry,In which of this books can i get a good formular for hair relaxer & skin whitening body lotion formular/ agents. Thanks, Best Regard. Lagos-Nigeria.0

  • Raphaelle 12/09/2013, 4:59 pm

    Are there any books specific to nail polish formulation? Can these textbooks help amateur chemists or are they for more advanced chemists?

    • Perry Romanowski 12/09/2013, 10:39 pm

      These books can help amateur chemists but I don’t know any specific to nail polish formulas.

  • Marycolette 11/26/2013, 10:28 am

    I wish to have a product line, how can I go about it. I have an M.Sc in industrial microbiology and currently doing a Ph.D in natural products. what do i need to do to begin

  • mohamadkamal 11/21/2013, 7:20 am

    i am mohamad kamal from egypt and i am graduated from microbiology and biochemistry department ,diploma of physiology and biochemistry
    work as medical rep in many pharmaceutical and cosmetic field
    now i am marketing or product manager in cosmetics company
    i wish you to be my guide and tell me what can i do to grow my exp.

  • eve 10/15/2013, 5:36 am

    I am very interested mainly in hair and a little in skin products and need a book that covers natural oils, plants butters and minerals such as clay from around the world. Do you have any suggestions i am running out of places to look . Kind regards

    • Perry Romanowski 10/15/2013, 5:37 pm

      Try Allured.com in their bookstore.

  • Anna 09/12/2013, 2:34 pm

    Hi Perry

    I am looking for a book on formulating natural & organic cosmetics and every-day products.

    Hope you can help!

    Best regards.


  • stephanie 08/07/2013, 9:58 am

    At the moment I’m studying cosmetic and detergent technology. I’d like to study more about phytocosmetic . Does anyone know where i can study more about phytocosmetic ? Is it possible from my course to continue to bioscience course or pharmaceutical?

    • Perry Romanowski 08/07/2013, 5:21 pm

      Thanks for your question. Phytocosmetic is a marketing term and doesn’t have any real meaning among the scientists in our industry. It roughly means cosmetics made using plant derived ingredients. Look up information about Natural cosmetics and you will learn all you need to know about phytocosmetics. Yes you can continue to study bioscience and still get into the cosmetic industry.

  • Christine 08/05/2013, 3:59 am

    I am Christine from Greece.
    I’ve just obtained my degree in department of chemistry and i am searching for a good Msc (in Europe or in Montreal) in order to work… Could you recommend me some in cosmetic-science?
    Are there any programs with which i can work for a couple os months?

  • Mika Nenonen 05/29/2012, 3:43 pm

    Hi, do you have any tips for working with organic ingredients for color makeup? Where could I find information regarding manufacturing, possible lab chemist contacts, contract labs that are working with organic raw materials etc. Million thanks!

    • stan Idelsen 02/09/2013, 4:29 pm

      Hi Mika,
      at WNC we are launching a program of min one M€ on naturally colored pigments. If u have specific requirements we can put u as a reference customer & get samples for free etc. to help us move ahead.
      Stan Idelsen
      CEO & co-founder

  • Ashley 05/10/2012, 12:18 pm

    A book to know more information about mascara.

  • Dr. Ashawat 04/15/2012, 3:43 am

    I wish to publish a scientific novel on cosmetic

  • Rashed Ahmad Kabir 01/23/2012, 10:44 am

    I m Rashed from Bangladesh..Its a matter of thoughts that there is no instituion in Bangladesh offering courses on Cosmetic Science. So I would like to know about cosmetic chemistry and short courses on Cosmetic Science where its offered.

  • abi 12/24/2011, 6:55 am

    hi,this is abi from srilanka.working as a government pharmacist.shall i turn my job as a cosmetic researcher? B’cos i’m very interest in cosmetic flied.

    • Perry 12/24/2011, 8:18 am

      Hello Abi – If you are interested in cosmetics then you would certainly have the background for a successful career in the field.

      • hafez 03/30/2012, 3:40 pm

        hi Perry
        i need a books in cosmetic formulation basics
        can you help me please

  • Inemesit Archibong 12/17/2011, 7:00 am

    My name is Inem Archibong from Nigeria. I wish to take up a course in Cosmetic Science but have no elementary knowledge of chemistry.
    I would like to know if i stand a Chance.
    Thank you.

  • Science Jon 08/09/2011, 7:27 pm

    Harry’s Cosmeticology is a MUST have for any cos sci student

  • Abigail Buina 06/16/2011, 2:14 am

    i want to do cosmestic science as a career, but in my country there are no schools taking people for the program. how do i appl for the training? and how can i get the books at discounted prices? abby, Ghana

  • Tanushri Sen 06/02/2011, 3:48 am

    cosmetic microbiology is one book dat helped me a lott….

  • denzel 05/10/2011, 12:28 pm

    do you know a school in Thailand which offers the best education in cosmetic science?

    • Vanessa 10/03/2011, 8:29 am

      There are 2 famous school of cosmetic science in Thailand

      1. Mae Fah Luang University
      2. Naresuan University

      you can search the name on Google

      • Seizhin 07/23/2013, 6:26 pm

        I dont know where you get your “famous” list from.
        Naresuan and Mae Fah Luang isnt a top tier in cosmetic science.

        Churalongkorn University is No. 1 in Thailand.
        Mahidol University is No. 2 ( Both are top tiers, taking each other’s place every year.)
        Mae Fah Luang is like third to fifth.

        There are other famous universities such as Kasetsart, etc.

        Just because search on google gave visible result doesnt mean they are “famous.”

  • ravi saini 04/11/2011, 5:10 am

    I have need a cosmetic book and guide . thank you sir/madam

  • sultan imran 04/10/2011, 5:24 am

    i want to know formulation of cosmetics items please help me

  • Kelly 03/26/2011, 5:37 pm

    If you click on the title of each book you will see all the information about that book, including the author.

  • vyshu 03/26/2011, 2:42 am

    please send authors name to each book

  • Kelly 08/23/2010, 12:31 pm

    Your method does not appear to be a typical stability test. Samples should be stored in several temperatures including elevated temp for several months and analyzed. Please read Perry’s post on stability testing for more information. Thanks, Kelly

  • adib 08/22/2010, 6:02 am

    In accelarating tests I leave sample in heat for 24 hr and after that immidiatly i put it in refrigretor.Is it right test or not?

  • yousry hassan 07/03/2010, 10:34 am

    i want to know about the cosmetics training program online

  • divya 05/14/2010, 8:10 am

    i want to know about cosmetic chemistry

  • divya 05/14/2010, 8:07 am

    i have comleted pg in chemistry.what are the jobs acc 2 my qualification

  • GG 05/08/2010, 3:33 pm

    I am very appreciative for this list. One of my goals is to master cosmetic chemistry, this list will be of much use for me and my members.

  • Tony Hunting 03/10/2010, 1:23 pm

    You may have got the Short Textbook of Cosmetology from my company, Micelle Press.
    There are many other books on Cosmetic Science listed in our catalogue.


    Tony (SCS and SCC member, Emeritus)

  • sarita kulkarni 02/16/2010, 1:44 am

    hello,i m qc incharge i want to know that after preparation of emulsion after sometimes it gets liquify how can we overcome from this.how this is formed.please sent us thge information

  • Loretta Storch 01/25/2010, 2:04 pm

    I would also recommend Multifunctional Cosmetics (Cosmetic Science and Technology Series), Volume 26, edited by Randy Schueller and Perry Romanowski. Multifunctional products continue to gain priority and attention as consumers are seeking and demanding more for their $$. This publication helps to define and clarify multifunctional cosmetics, provides practical examples and explains the associated value and impact of these products in various formulations. A very good read, easy to understand and a handy reference.

  • Kelly 12/17/2009, 8:48 pm

    Preservatives for Cosmetics by David Steinberg is another must have book for any cosmetic chemist. Preservation is such an important part of formulation and this book is the most convenient reference guide.

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