Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Cosmetic Industry Career How many active projects should a Cosmetic Chemist have at a time?

  • How many active projects should a Cosmetic Chemist have at a time?

    Posted by MsCheddar on October 11, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    I’ve been working at a startup Contract Manufacturer for Cosmetics. As the business has grown rapidly, so too has my number of active projects in the lab. How many custom formulas should a single Cosmetic Chemist be expected to output and get approved in a year? As I’m the only Formulator in the lab, I have no one to benchmark myself against.

    em88 replied 2 years, 9 months ago 6 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • David

    October 11, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    I would say…at least 3834068 formulations per year. No kidding… This depends very much on what has to be done and how you define a project. Some projects/formulations are done in days, others take years. If you feel you run of time, first you should ask for is an assistant who can help you with routine tasks such as stability testing and sampling of formulation variants.

  • CedarS

    October 11, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    I’m curious about this as well, being in a similar situation and relatively new to cosmetics (came over from Pharma). I challenge myself to be in the lab mixing something up four days a week, but often that’s not *new* it’s testing a client-provided formula, or checking a new raw material for acceptability or a dozen other things. We have a small lab, so I can’t really be mixing on multiple batches at a time, so there’s that at least. 

  • OldPerry

    October 11, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Good question. I think it depends on the contract manufacturer or company.

    If you are making primarily new formulas, then each one will take a lot of time to develop (1 year at least).  Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll be working on  the same formula every day for a year but that does mean it will take that long to have a finished, stability tested formula.

    If you are just taking a stock formula, changing color, fragrance, and extracts then it won’t take as long. Maybe just 4 months.

    In any case, it seems reasonable that at most you could develop is 
    12 completely new formulas a year
    52 formulas if you already have a starting  formula

    That would be my guess. Making more than 2 batches a day is pushing it.

  • MarkBroussard

    October 11, 2021 at 10:12 pm


    There’s really no “correct” answer to this … it’s all a function of the type of formulas you are working on and your level of proficiency/productivity.

    If you figure you have the capacity to start work on 2 to 3 new formulas per week and the rest of your time is spent on stability testing, etc., then you are looking at 8 to 12 new formulas per month.

  • MsCheddar

    October 12, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks, everyone. My output increased once we found a Lab Tech to help with  the data entry and stability testing.

    @Perry , those numbers seem about right to me. I’m averaging just over 1 approved Custom Formula or Reverse-Engineer per month, not including tech transfers. 

  • em88

    October 14, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    It depends on how deep your research goes. Considering that you are talking about cosmetic products and that you are alone in the lab, one product a month is feasible. 
    Reverse engineering is a fancy way to say formulating a generic cosmetic product. 
    Tech transfers are usually easier to do, but it depends on how robust is the formula. 

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