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Top 10 Reasons to Become a Cosmetic Chemist

If you’re like me, you went through college and focused on learning & passing some of the toughest courses they had to offer. You didn’t give much thought to what you would be doing once you left college.

Well, I was fortunate enough to stumble into the cosmetic industry. Certainly, there were other fields that need good scientists, but the cosmetic industry has a number of benefits that make it one of the best places for a scientist to work. The brain trust here at Chemists Corner pondered what we think is the best part of this job and came up with the following list.

Why Become a Cosmetic Chemist

You get to practically apply what you learned in chemistry — While most of what you learned in college won’t be applicable; the skills you developed in Organic lab will be incredibly helpful. As a cosmetic chemist you will spend some of your time actually applying your knowledge & not just working on theoretical problems.

You love science and can express your creativityCosmetic science is as much an art as it is a science. You have to sharpen your creative skills to come up with new product ideas, new formulating approaches, and new ways to solve unique manufacturing problems.

You get to be an inventor – Painters paint, sculptures sculpt, writers write and cosmetic chemists invent. Your “art” takes the form of a beauty product that is uniquely yours. If you’re good, you may develop a patentable invention or better yet, something that people the world over recognize and love.

You get to make people happy – Consumers love their beauty products. It makes them feel better about themselves. You, as a cosmetic chemist, are responsible for this happiness. Chemistry majors who ended up in the oil industry aren’t so lucky.

You don’t have to work with dangerous chemicals – The compounds used by a cosmetic chemist have to be gentle enough for consumer exposure. So, you won’t have to work with the kind of nasty chemicals that people in the pharmaceutical, oil, and sanitizer industries have to use. Cosmetic chemicals are (mostly) harmless.

You are respected as the smartest people in your company – While you might not be the best paid workers at your company, you’ll certainly be looked at as the smartest. The business majors know how complicated chemistry can be and they respect people who know about it. Being respected for your brain is nice.

You can make a difference in people’s lives – Cosmetic chemists help solve people’s problems in direct ways. Your work can literally change someone’s life. How cool is that?

You get to create formulas – As a cosmetic chemist you get to learn how to make any beauty product and really any kind of formula you want. You can then create nearly anything you want. This gives you a sense of power and satisfaction.

You get free product – I haven’t paid for hair care products since 1992. Why? Because I’m always trying my own products or evaluating a competitor’s. This is a great perk of the cosmetic chemist’s world.

It’s fun! – Being a cosmetic chemist is a relatively low-stress job, with steady hours, that is just fun. There is enough science to keep it interesting and enough problems that still need to be solved. It is a great job to have.

Are you a cosmetic chemist already? What do you like about your job? Leave a comment below.

{ 56 comments… add one }

  • Alondra 11/19/2014, 4:52 pm

    Hi Perry,
    I wanted to eventually get a degree and be able to create my own cosmetic line. I’m looking into using hemp in the cosmetics and I was wondering which field I should study to achieve this goal of mine?

    • Perry Romanowski 11/25/2014, 5:47 pm

      A degree in Chemistry would be best.

  • Saeed 11/03/2014, 11:02 am

    Hi Perry,

    To be able to find and identify new compounds in Plants or other natural resources and use it to produce cosmetic products , which field should i study?
    Cosmetic Science or Pharmacognosy or …? Please Help.

    Thanks

    • Perry Romanowski 11/03/2014, 12:34 pm

      Pharmacognosy.

  • Maya 07/15/2014, 2:37 am

    Do you think I could get a job with a degree in Medicinal Chemistry? I live in New Zealand. Is there an industry over here at all?

    • Perry Romanowski 07/15/2014, 10:28 am

      Yes, you should be able to. Check into the society of cosmetic chemists in your area.

  • Danica S 04/26/2014, 12:43 pm

    Hi Perry, I’m quite interested in becoming a cosmetic chemist. I’m currently doing a BS in Biology and Environmental Science and was looking at the EFCM program to do my masters. What are your views on the school and it’s program?

    • Perry Romanowski 04/28/2014, 6:57 am

      I’m not familiar with the EFCM program.

  • Rachael 02/27/2014, 11:21 am

    Hello! I am a sophomore in highschool and I’m very interested in Cosmetic Chemistry. I plan on studying Chemistry at USM. I am not sure whether I would enjoy working as a formulator or in sales, what is your opinion on each? Also, is there anything I can do now to prepare for after college, possibly an internship or something along those lines?

    Thank you!:)

    • Perry Romanowski 03/05/2014, 9:07 am

      If you like making formulas, then you’ll want to be a formulator. If you want to make a lot of money & spend time with people, you’ll probably be happier in sales.

  • Shannon Brown 01/13/2014, 11:52 am

    Hi there
    I live in the UK and will be getting ready to apply for university soon. I’m really interested in cosmetic chemistry and I’m wondering what the best course for me to do at university is? There are no universities in Scotland which currently do a cosmetic chemistry course. Thanks!

    • Perry Romanowski 01/13/2014, 11:54 am

      Your best bet is to get a degree in Chemistry.

  • Krista 09/14/2013, 7:58 pm

    Hi Perry,

    I recently graduated from school as pharmacist. I’m looking to get into the cosmetics industry but finding it difficult to find a position that fits my background…I have a PharmD, Master of Public Health and a BS in Pharmacology. Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    • Perry Romanowski 09/15/2013, 3:47 pm

      I’d suggest you take a look at our Career section. We’ve written a number of articles already.

  • Saira Ahmedi 08/17/2013, 2:45 pm

    I am going to get my BS in Biology this spring in a top school in NY. Do people normally just apply for a million jobs before they graduate? I am hoping to become employed before graduation. Or is it more likely to become a full-time employee after doing an internship?

    • Perry Romanowski 08/19/2013, 7:33 am

      Apply for lots of jobs while you are in school. If you are lucky and get an internship that’s great but getting a full-time job out of school is a better option.

  • priyanka patil 08/10/2013, 12:27 am

    Hello sir, I pursuing my education in BACHELOR OF COSMETIC TECHNOLOGY in Nagpur university INDIA..i get many problems during my studies.. I am very worried about my carrier.. please suggest me.. what should I do for doing cosmetic chemist… ? please do reply

    • Perry Romanowski 08/12/2013, 9:33 am

      See our posts on career for this kind of advice. I’m unfamiliar with the cosmetic industry in India but you can contact the India Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Here is their contact info. http://www.ifscc.org/AllMemberships

  • Teiko Way 03/11/2013, 5:02 pm

    Hi, I’m a junior chemical engineering student. I want to learn more about cosmetic chemistry but my university doesn’t offer any specific courses on it. Do you have any suggested courses? Also, I can’t find any internships available for cosmetic chemistry, do you have any advice?
    Thanks!!

  • Daniel 07/16/2012, 12:33 am

    Hi,
    I’m dying for some good advice on how to secure this type of job upon graduation, any thoughts? I’ll be a junior this year and I just switched from geophysics, so I’m exploring possible career routes right now. Also, do you have any recommendations for other high paying areas of chemistry where you get to be an experimenter/inventor?

    Thanks,
    Daniel

    • Perry 07/16/2012, 1:17 pm

      I would suggest you take a look at the articles we’ve written in the ‘Career’ section. See the tab above.

  • mariam 07/06/2012, 3:22 am

    Hi,
    I am thinking of the cosmetic science route. However, will doing a pharmacy degree entitle me to go into cosmetics.
    Also, i live in the uk do you think its possible to succeed in cosmetics compared to america.

    thanks.

    • Perry 07/06/2012, 6:08 am

      Yes, this will help. For more Career information see the Career tab at to the top the website. It lists a number of articles that you will find helpful.

  • Dennis A 05/31/2012, 12:13 pm
  • Natalie 05/31/2012, 11:28 am

    Hi,
    I’m interrested in becoming a cosmetic’s chemist,
    I was wondering what degree would be best to take in order to become a cosmetic’s chemist and what the average wage is for sales cosmetic chemist and a cosmetic chemist in general?

  • Lyniee 05/28/2012, 4:06 pm

    Can you be a cosmetic chemist when you earned your B.S. Registered Nurse?

    • Perry 05/28/2012, 8:19 pm

      You can but it is more difficult.

  • tahmin 05/05/2012, 5:14 pm

    Can you take biochemistry in order to get into the cosmetic science industry?

    • Perry 05/06/2012, 2:04 pm

      Yes. I had a degree in biochemistry and was in the cosmetic industry.

      • tahmin 05/08/2012, 5:00 pm

        Thank you much help!

  • Sarah 12/22/2011, 1:05 pm

    Hi:)
    I was wondering, what subjects should I take to become a cosmetic chemist? And could I open up my own cosmetic line if i become one? Also, what is the median wage for a cosmetic chemist?

  • Elly 11/06/2011, 7:46 pm

    Dear Perry,
    I am currently a High School senior.
    I was wondering, if I majored in Biochemistry, would that fulfill the requirements of eventually being in the cosmetic industry?
    Also, do cosmetic chemists go into the sales and marketing?

    Thank you!

    • Perry 11/06/2011, 8:05 pm

      Hello Elly,

      Yes, majoring in Biochemistry would prepare you for a career in the cosmetic industry. It’s a good one because you’ll cover both biology and chemistry. And yes, some cosmetic chemists eventually go into sales and marketing. Many start their own cosmetic lines.

      • Elly 11/06/2011, 11:05 pm

        Thank You, Thank You!

        Also- Should I pursue both M.S and Ph.D degrees to get the job I want? or would I get hired first, then move up in the business?

        Thanks again (: Love this article

        • Perry 11/06/2011, 11:42 pm

          If it were me, I’d get the job first then go back to school to get an advanced degree. Often you can get the company to pay for additional schooling. In truth, you don’t need an advanced degree to be successful in the cosmetic industry. It helps, but it is not critical.

  • Sasipim 10/15/2011, 5:04 am

    @Vinita Jayant
    Hi Vinita
    I’m interested in applying for Cosmetic Science Program fall 2012 at FDU. Currently I’m trying to collect information as much as possible, I would like to ask you some questions if it’s not bother you. Can I have your email? You can contact me via this email.
    rum.rai.sin@hotmail.com
    Looking forward to hearing from you
    Thank you

  • Vinita Jayant 10/12/2011, 11:20 am

    Dear Perry

    I would like some guidance and advice on finding internship opportunities in the Cosmetic Science industry.

    I am currently a MS in Cosmetic Science grad student at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

    Thank you

  • Riya Mehta 09/15/2011, 4:11 pm

    Hi,

    I’m Ph.D (Chemistry) and working as Postdoctoral fellow for last 2 years on a project based on dermatological products from large consumer goods company in Toronto, Canada.

    In future, In USA, Is it good to go for Cosmetic formulation Chemist position? How much will I make? Just curious to know.

    • Perry 09/15/2011, 4:24 pm

      If you enjoy formulating I would say that it would be a good idea to look for a formulation chemist position. A company like P&G or Unilever would be interested in a Ph.D. chemist with some cosmetic chemistry experience. As far as salary goes, that really depends on the company. Say starting ~$50,000 to $70,000 depending on where you end up.

      • Riya Mehta 09/22/2011, 4:26 pm

        Thanks Perry. I appreciate your reply.

  • Zenith Czora 09/14/2011, 7:39 pm

    Hi, i am chemical engineer by profession, but i mainly work in R & D lab as a senior chemist for a paint company. I have almost 19 years of experience in product formulating specifically coatings/paints. what are my chance to be a cosmetic chemist?

    • Perry 09/15/2011, 8:06 am

      I would say your chances are pretty good. You have the necessary lab experience now you just need to learn the basic chemicals used in cosmetics.

  • Talie 09/12/2011, 5:32 pm

    Dear Mr. Perry,
    I am pursuing a BS in Chemistry and wondering what minor or double major would be a good for this industry. Should I opt for something like marketing?
    Thanks I would really appreciate some advice!

    • Perry 09/15/2011, 8:08 am

      If you are interested in ultimately starting your own business then you should definitely take some marketing classes. Even if you want to stay in the lab learning about marketing, sales, and market research will be immensely helpful in a career as a cosmetic chemist. If you really don’t like marketing and want to be strictly a scientist, then biology would be the next most helpful major.

  • Rosario S. Santos 08/17/2011, 10:51 pm

    being a retired cement chemist am now enjoying the the practice of cosmetic formulation and preparation for future cosmetic manufacturing business.

    • Perry 09/15/2011, 8:08 am

      It is definitely a fun job.

  • afra 04/06/2011, 12:56 am

    I am already work as a cosmetic formula for 5 years,i am agree with Melanie,sometimes this work is a challenge,and we are service for the sales who can directly earn money for company.
    However,i love my job too.
    At least,it make me beaty and happy,and also others.

  • Sharon 05/28/2010, 8:28 pm

    Hi Melanie
    I was wondering if you could tell us the steps and the education required to become a cosmetic scientist??

  • Melanie 10/13/2009, 6:39 am

    Hi,

    I am a cosmetic chemist myself and I’ve always wanted to be one.
    But I wouldn’t say it is a low stress job, quite the contrary!
    We’ve got deadlines to meet, fulfill to marketing expectations (sometimes impossible) and now REACH regulation.
    Besides, in some companies, we are far from be respected as the smartest people! Unfortunately we are just the ”lab coat people!” (from mktg point of view)…
    However I love my job! And I encourage people to get informed about it!

  • RS 09/17/2009, 8:22 pm

    Nice post and even nicer picture. Gee I wonder who took it? Maybe Chemists Corner should add a photo credit.

    • Perry 09/17/2009, 8:24 pm

      Ah, the framing is excellent!

  • Perry 08/13/2009, 4:56 pm

    Ah, the good old days in the old lab. Things were much less “corporate” back then.

  • Dennis 08/13/2009, 2:28 pm

    Nice pic, Perry!

  • Shawn Brown 08/13/2009, 12:53 pm

    This is a great list (and site) to educate anyone who wants to know some of the things that help make a Cosmetic Chemist’s job enjoyable!

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