Cosmetic chemistry vs. product formulation?

Hello everyone!

I am a PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), and my work has focused on polymer chemistry. I am looking to start a career in cosmetic science once I'm finished, however, I wanted to know a little more about the differences between cosmetic chemistry and product formulation. I have looked at a lot of job openings and these seem to be the two that I am mostly interested in. 

What I also would like an opinion on is whether having an MSE degree versus a chemistry degree makes me better suited in one versus the other? Would I not be considered for a position because I don't have a chemistry degree? All of my degrees will be in MSE, but like I mentioned, my PhD work has been on polymer synthesis and polymer chemistry. Thanks for your thoughts!

Comments

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    You would be better off getting an MS in Cosmetic Chemistry as opposed to a PhD in MSE.  If you are not too far along in your PhD program, you might consider wrapping it up with an MS MSE and pursuing an MS in Cosmetic Chemistry.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Thanks @MarkBroussard! Unfortunately I am a little too far along my program to consider leaving!

  • @aliciacintora ;
    It is difficult to answer your question 
    i just learn formulating the cream / lotion by myself for fun. But, I do have strong background on chemistry. It helps me learning fast. For example, lotion or cream is emulsion process to merge oil and water together and pH on final product to make sure in the range of pH of skin.On other side I do have background on herbs and skin structure and aging process. Those help to learn quickly. 
    The hlb system is also helpful to select  emulsifiers and oils..,
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @aliciacintora

    In that case, you might contact the Universities that offer MS Cosmetic Chemistry and see if you could do a Post-Doc in Cosmetic Chemistry
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    First, the question of cosmetic chemistry vs product development. Cosmetic chemistry will generally apply to all jobs you might get in R&D. This would include Formulating, QA/QC, Analytical lab jobs, Process Engineering, Regulatory, etc. Product development refers primarily to Formulating. But for most medium sized and smaller companies, all the R&D people work on product development to some extent.

    As far as your background goes, this is going to depend on the company who's doing the hiring. For most medium sized and smaller companies, the fact that you have a PHD and science background would be enough to get you an interview for a product development / cosmetic chemist job. Larger companies are more interested in people with degrees that are more specified to the job they want done. So, Chemical Engineering students are hired more frequently for formulation jobs. 
  • Very few universities teach cosmetic formulating
    you may need to travel to another state/abroad to take such courses.

    So, any chemistry degree helps get a job
    but you'd need to teach yourself by making your own formulations.

    Consider getting  swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com  paid membership,
    begin experimenting,
    and add your new hands on experience to your resume in a comprehensive, yet easy to read way.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Our course also gives a nice overview of the field from the perspective of an industry insider. https://chemistscorner.com/formulating-cosmetics
  • Perry said:
    Our course also gives a nice overview of the field from the perspective of an industry insider. https://chemistscorner.com/formulating-cosmetics
    Great
    @Perry do students get a diploma?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Yes, you get a certificate of completion if you go through all the modules and score high enough on the quizzes. It's the kind of certificate you would get for completing continuing education courses through the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. 

    But it's not like a diploma you would get from the University of Cincinnati or another college. 

    I know there are a number of online courses that claim you get a "diploma" but I think that is misleading to students. Certificates and diplomas are only worth something if the people you are showing it to find that compelling. Our course is primarily focused on teaching you information. The certificate is a bonus.
  • Thanks for the feedback @Perry! I was looking into your course a couple of years ago when you mentioned it in the Beauty Brains podcast. Is there a starting date for the course? Or can I join anytime?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @aliciacintora ; - you can join at any time.

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