Over time, the job of a cosmetic chemist can occasionally get boring. With the endless stability test measurements and prototypes that fall apart, you can just get plain worn out. You don’t want to quit formulating but you do want to recapture some of the magic of the old days. Here are a few tips for reviving those early days of wonder.
1. Learn something new.
A simple thing to do is to start reading up on some cosmetic subject that you don’t know a lot about. If you’re a skin product formulator, learn something about hair products and hair biology. If you formulate hair products, look into skin or color cosmetics. There is so much to learn that we tend to specialize in a particular area. To shake off the formulating doldrums, learn something new.
2. Make something new.
While learning something new is helpful, it’s even better if you can apply your new knowledge to a tangible thing. So go ahead and make a formula that you’ve never made before. Try making a lipstick or shampoo or skin lotion or styling product. There are so many different formulas possible that there will always be something you haven’t made. And here’s a handy link for starting cosmetic formulas.
3. Mentor someone.
There is nothing like teaching people things you know to help reinvigorate your interest in a subject. Find someone new at your company or take advantage of online resources like the cosmetic science forum to help a fellow chemist out. Another great way to do this is to offer to give a presentation at an upcoming Society of Cosmetic Chemists meeting.
4. Connect with some other formulators.
You can learn a lot from other cosmetic chemists and doing so can help revive your interest in the work that you are doing or in the subject of cosmetic science. Finding out the different types of things that others are working inspires your own work. It also makes you feel more connected to people in the industry which will make you feel better about being part of it. A great way to connect is online using LinkedIn or the SCC Facebook page.
5. Pick up cooking.
Alright, if formulating is getting you down why not take the skills you’ve learned at work and apply them to a useful hobby like cooking? You have to eat, so you might as well try getting good at making food. Who knows you might learn some useful techniques that you could apply to your cosmetic formulating efforts.
6. Write your formulating manifesto.
One of the things that leads to boredom in a career is not being able to stand out. Figure out how you stand out. Figure out what makes you different and what you stand for. Come up with 10 or so core values that define you and your career as a formulator. Avoid useless platitudes like “excellent quality”. Make them specific values that define you as a formulator. Are you dedicated to only using sustainable ingredients? Are you focused on creating the best performing formulas or the least expensive? Write your formulating manifesto that defines the kind of formulator that you are or that you want to be.
Next figure out how you are going to show the world what you stand for. Do things to demonstrate how you are different.
7. Schedule time away from formulating.
And if you’re cosmetic science career gets too dull, it’s always a good idea to take a break. Go on a vacation. When you’re gone, stop thinking about your work. Focus on where you are and what you are doing. When you come back you’ll be recharged and may fall in love with formulating all over again.
Happy Valentine’s Day!