How can cosmetic chemists make more money?

Someone on the forum said that they loved being a cosmetic chemist but were looking to make more money.  Here is what I responded.


This is an excellent question.  It’s also one of the most disappointing parts of being a smart person who went into a scientific field.

The truth is you could have made a lot more money going into finance or marketing or some other business degree.

And these degrees were much easier to get than science degrees.  Getting an MBA is simple compared to getting a Masters degree in Science.  If money is your primary motivation, I would encourage you to go get an MBA and switch to some business job.
But alas, money isn’t every thing.  Cosmetic science jobs are relatively low stress, they have standard hours, and they can be fun & creative.
Here is what I did to make up the income gap.

Cosmetic Chemist money ideas

 1.  Advance at the company.  This usually requires you to get into management.  Note the farther you advance in management, the further away from lab work you’ll go.
2.  Writing.  I did freelance writing outside my regular job.  I worked for an encyclopedia company, wrote for trade journals and eventually published books.
3.  Internet income.  It costs next to nothing to start a website and you can definitely make money at it.  At first it won’t be much but if you stick with it, it can provide a significant boost to your current income.  The nice part is that it is passive income which requires lots of work upfront but less work over time.
4.  Start your own line.  If you’re a cosmetic chemist who has some great ideas that aren’t being paid attention to by your marketing group, start your own product line.  Eventually, it might be successful enough that you can dedicate your time to it.  This could lead to big money (or lead to nothing).  There’s a lot of luck involved in whether something will be successful or not.  Be sure to get our free report on how to start a cosmetic line.
5.  Consulting.  You have an expertise in cosmetic science so you are qualified to answer questions and even formulate products for people who need it done.  This is harder to do if you have a job but some chemists have set up labs in their basements and taken on clients in an anonymous fashion.  This can work.
6.  Teach.  I started as an instructor for the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and have been doing the Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry course since 1998.  It doesn’t bring in a ton of money but it was enough to fund vacations.
7.  Dabble in the stock market.  A friend of mine and I put in $1500 each to “play” in the stock market.  Within 6 months we turned the initial $3000 into $12,000.  Very lucky.  I really had no idea what I was doing and just randomly chose stocks that I like.  The $12,000 proceeded to go down to $6000 in the next 6 months.  This proved to me that you can make money but it’s mostly luck.
8.  Games of skill.  There are 3 games in the casino in which you can develop enough skill to consistently make money.  Blackjack, Poker, and Sports Betting.  If you can get good at any of these games you can make a lot of money.  These things can be learned from books but be careful, it’s easy to convince yourself you know what you’re doing when you don’t.  Learn and practice.  Personally, I found this route to take too much time for the amount of money I could earn.  Time spent making money on the Internet was more fruitful.
If you want to give your income a boost without leaving the cosmetic industry or doing these side gigs, here are two more bits of advice…

Job income boosting tips

Change companies.  The best way to substantially increase your salary is to take a job with another company.  Move around every few years at the start of your career and you can bump the salary up significantly.  Eventually you’ll have to settle somewhere but don’t do it until you get into the company’s bonus pool.  Bonuses are a significant source of income for people who make good money in the cosmetic industry.  Of course, the downside is that if you like your job you could be leaving it for one that pays you more but you like less.
Get into sales.  Sales people in the cosmetic industry make more money than lab people.  But the lab people know the chemicals and can relate better to the people who might buy the materials.  Therefore, getting a job in sales is an excellent way to boost your salary and make the “big money”.

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