Article by: Perry Romanowski

Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry 3rd Edition

Sure it might be a bit much to include my own book on a list like this, but it cosmetic sciencereally is one of the best resources for introducing someone to the world of cosmetic science. The book is in its third edition and has been expanded to over 50 chapters. It covers everything from industry jargon, raw materials, formulating, and even testing. It also includes chapters written by other industry experts so it’s not just “my book”.

Chemistry and Manufacture of Cosmetics: Science 4th edition

This is one of the original, complete set of books about cosmetic science. It is packed full of technical information covering cosmetic science, formulating and cosmetic ingredients. Almost every industry expert has written a chapter for this 4 volume book series. If you have a question about cosmetic chemistry, no doubt this book will have the answer for you.

Harry’s Cosmeticology 8th Edition

The first edition of this classic book on cosmetic science was first published in 1940. It is now in its 8th edition and is one of the most comprehensive tomes on the subject. It covers all aspects of cosmetic science in 5 sections including the substrates (skin, hair, nails), formulation approaches, ingredients, specific formulations, and production. As a formulation chemist, you will find this single volume book an indispensable resource that you frequently reference.

Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Third Edition

Much like Harry’s, the Handbook of Cosmetic Science & Technology attempts to cover as many aspects of cosmetic science as it can in a single book. This 880+ page work covers everything from the biology of hair, skin and nails to cosmetic formula types, cosmetic ingredients and even cosmetic claims. Of all the books mentioned thus far, this one does the best job of covering cosmetic claims and testing. It’s definitely worth having on your bookshelf.

A Short Textbook of Cosmetology

I don’t know where I got this book but it is a nice, short volume that covers the basics of cosmetic science. It was written by an author from Switzerland so it has a more Euro-centric view of the cosmetic industry. Other books discussed many focus on the North American cosmetic industry. I particularly enjoyed the extensive historical section in this book. The book is significantly shorter than others weighing in at only 435 pages, but it packs a lot of information in those pages.

Surfactants in Personal Care Products and Decorative Cosmetics, Third Edition (Surfactant Science)

This book is a bit more technical about the science of surfactants than any others on the list. It has chapters written by a variety of cosmetic industry experts and is an excellent resource for the advanced cosmetic chemist. It is probably not one you want to start with but after a few years of formulating, you’ll definitely want to have it in your cosmetic science library.

Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair

This is the most specific of all the books on this list and its inclusion is more reflective of the fact that I spent most of my time formulating products for hair. However, if there is anything you want to know about the science and biology of hair, you need go nowhere else but this book. It explains all aspects of human hair and is based on the latest research. In the hair care world, the book is so ubiquitous it is simply referred to as “Robbins”.

Do you know of a cosmetic science book that helped you which wasn’t included on this list? Leave a comment below and let the cosmetic chemists of the world know about it.


  1. Avatar
    Bipad Bhanjan Dhali

    Sir I want to buy some books from the lists. Plz send me the address where I can buy. Thanks.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      I would search for them on Amazon.

  2. Avatar
    Isabel Grob

    Dear Perry, can you recommend a cosmetics dictionary? I am often asked at work what is the definition of a serum, elixir, etc. or other cosmetic terms. Even in the cosmetic industry, I keep hearing different definitions for some terms. There must be a dictionary that can provide more formal definitions.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      There really isn’t a definition for serum or elixir since these are marketing terms. They can mean whatever you want them to mean.

  3. Avatar

    does any of this book covers the name of cosmetic raw material suppliers??

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      You can find that in a buyer’s guide at

  4. Avatar

    Hello! I am looking to formulate an eyebrow tint-would any of your books help?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Yes, some of the books listed above have formulas for color cosmetics

  5. Avatar

    I am interested in specific book or course teaching how to make mineral make up? Any advise or course you suggest? Thasnks Perry

  6. Avatar
    Phuong Tran

    Hi Perry. Could you tell me how to find the patents which were publiced about the fomular cosmetic. thanks in advence!

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Just do a google search on Google Patents.

  7. Avatar

    Which book do you recommend with formulations in it and explanation of the recommended ingredients in the formulation? Thanks very much

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Any of the ones above. Harry’s Cosmeticology has some formulations.

      1. Avatar

        Perry, are any of these books including dental cosmetics?

        1. Avatar
          Perry Romanowski

          Yes, some of them include information about oral care products.

  8. Avatar
    Wardah Niswan

    Hello Dr Perry! I’m a final year chemistry undergraduate student who’s trying to develop a water-permeable nail polish. What books would you recommend? The ones you’ve listed are incredibly expensive so I’d be only be able to afford 1.

    Many thanks in advance,

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      I’d suggest you get your hands on Harry’s Cosmeticology.

  9. Avatar

    Hey Perry! Love love love your site and all the information you provide. I just realized you have a course – would love to see it marketed more! I’ll definitely be signing up after I complete a course I’m currently in. I have a few questions:
    1) Is the only payment option to pay in full or are there monthly payment plans available as well? That would make a big difference for me (and I’m assuming for others in your audience).
    2) Of all the books on this list – which has the most comprehensive skincare section? I know some of the editions are now outdated, but I’m looking for a book focused on skincare, particularly for acne formulations (with more of a focus on salicylic acid vs benzoyl peroxide), and using (or including) formulas with more natural ingredients. Ideally, it would have a comprehensive overview of anti-aging antioxidant formulas as well, but acne is currently the priority.
    3) Does your course include an in-depth overview of acne formulations as well?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Hello Renee – Thanks for the kind words.

      1. Contact me directly and I can give you a link to a payment plan.
      2. Harry’s Cosmeticology probably is the best for skin formulating of this group. (edition 8)
      3. Our course does not focus on acne formulas but I could help get you started.

  10. Avatar

    Sir all your suggestions are very useful but sir I really need to know if their is any book or program that can help me in the making of relaxer, gel and shampoo. If there is any please recommend them for me please I really need that as I am an amateur in the cosmetic science.

    1. Avatar
      Hong Ngoc

      Hi, Perry! I can not download Harry’s Cosmeticology book. Can you teach me how to have this book? I really need it

      1. Avatar
        Perry Romanowski

        Hello – Harry’s Cosmeticology is a book that you have to purchase.

  11. Avatar

    Hey, i needed help in doing a Masters level seminar on cosmetic science could you suggest me some good books
    Thank you

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Harry’s Cosmeticology is a great book for something like this.

  12. Avatar

    Dear, could you please suggest a book for QC chemist ?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      What do you want to learn?

      1. Avatar

        Hi Perry, I am a cosmetic formulator, but now I’m going to apply to QC Cosmetic Chemist. As a formulator, I have experience in formulating and testing products, but it seems that Cosmetic QC chemist position requires more knowledge not only in testing products but also in QC processing and analysis, etc (I’ve got a phone call from a cosmetic company for QC Cosmetic Chemist’s test. Unfortunately, I didn’t do it as well as I expected).
        So I want to learn more about QC in cosmetics. Could you please suggest a book from which I can get general knowledge about QC in cosmetics?
        Thank you so much in advance ! And thanks for sharing with us a lot of wonderful things on Chemist Corner.

        1. Avatar
          Perry Romanowski

          Well, the book above Chemistry and Manufacture of Cosmetics has a section on Quality Control testing. But any good Quantitative Analysis book would be useful. They tell all about things like IR, HPLC, Mass Spec which are all used in QA testing.

  13. Avatar
    Charlotte G

    Dear Dr Perry
    Could you recommend a beginner’s guide to cosmetic science for a beauty therapist (I don’t have a science background).

    Thank you

      1. Avatar

        Hello, I would like to start my. Own cosmetics business how can I get the book for that covers all about the fomular about skincare

  14. Avatar

    Dear Dr. perry
    I am looking for some solvents used in cosmetics. In which book can I find them?
    thanks in advance

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      What type of products are you making. The main solvents in cosmetics are Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, and Alcohol

  15. Avatar

    Dear Mr.Perry,

    We would like to start manufacturing solid bar soaps from soap noodles. And for making different types of bar soaps (different color, fregnancy, for different kind of skin), what kind of books are useful for us?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      You should be able to find information in Harry’s Cosmeticology Edition 9

  16. Avatar
    Kitty Mattina

    Dr. Perry Romanowski, I come from Italy and I am working for a new company in USA. I attended a master in Cosmetic Science and Technology and of course I am not really prepared about the cosmetic american law, please can you help me to figure out which book could let me to understand better this field? and how start to formulate in a company? Thank you

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      the Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry book would be good for helping you understand that.

    2. Avatar

      Hello Mattina,
      I would like to ask you about your masters in Cosmetic Science and Technology, at what university you have studied at and other info like that. Currently I am studying Cosmetology at the faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and I’m planing to continue my postgraduate studies elsewhere in the same field. So, I would be very grateful if we can exchange e-mails, of course if it is OK to you?
      Just in case, you can contact me at
      Thank you in advance.

  17. Avatar

    Hi, I am currently doing my MSC in cosmetic science in Faculty of pharmacy in brussels free university and i lookking for an internship in canada or usa do you have any plans for me?? And i am thinking about a PH Degre, can you recommend one to me? Thanks in advance for your time

    1. Avatar

      Hello Aurelia! I bumped into your message and it is great to hear you’re studying that MSC in ULB, I am myself interested in applying to the same programme! But have some questions on application process and so on, that of course give me your opinion as well on the programme
      Do you think we could exchange email accounts for further details? 🙂

      1. Avatar

        Hey Aurelia,
        Similar to Ximena, I also bumped into your message and I would be very grateful if you could give me more information about the process of applying, because currently I’m studying Cosmetology at the faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and I’d rather continue elsewhere in the same field of studies. So once again, if I am not bothering you, it would be nice if we can exchange e-mails, to ask you a couple questions on private.
        Thanks in advance.

  18. Avatar

    hello perry,
    I have completed my on chemical engineering. Now, I am working in quality control department in a cement industry, I want to switch over to a cosmetic industry. I am confused as on how to pursue it. Should I go for masters in cosmetic science. And, also I am from India so can you suggest me some university which will be convenient for me. Please I need your help.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      That would help. University of Cincinnati would be a good choice or Fairleigh Dickenson university. Both would make it easier to transition.

      1. Avatar
        odusanya sakiru

        Pls can u help in getting one of these books Handbook of cosmetic science and technology…..thanks

        1. Avatar
          Perry Romanowski

          I don’t have access to these. you can get the book through the links on this page.

  19. Avatar
    Tom Vichroski

    Certainly agree about “Preservatives For Cosmetics” by David Steinberg.
    Also “Fragrance Applications: A Survival Guide” by Stephen J. Herman.

  20. Avatar

    Hallo Perry! I would like to be a cosmetic chemist. I have completed my bachelor degree in applied chemistry and I am now doing an MPhil in analytical chemistry. I am planning to go further in the field of cosmetic chemistry/sciences. Should I look for a PhD position in pure chemistry (e.g. organic chemistry) or in pharmacology or diplomas in cosmetic science? Thank you very much!

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      If you want to get into the cosmetic industry getting a masters degree in cosmetic science is better than getting a PhD.

  21. Avatar

    Hi I was wondering if there is a text book you would recommend for learning about formulating? I am woking on my chemistry degree but I would like to jump start my knowledge as a soon to be cosmetic chemist.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Any of the books above are recommended.

  22. Avatar

    Hello mr. Perry,
    Is it possible to download these books? I’m a very interested student in cosmetology and i’ll be working for one year in a quite famous laboratory in milan for my thesis (pharmacy master degree). They’re too expensive for me, but i think i need to improve my knowledge!!

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Hello Matteo – sorry, I am not the publisher of the books. You’ll have to ask them.

  23. Avatar

    Did receive your emails. However, when I tried to download the information, nothing happened.
    please try again.
    anne moses

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      You should try right-clicking on the link and choosing ‘save as’. That will save the book to your computer where you can read it.

  24. Avatar

    Hi, I am looking to start my own product line, mainly eyeshadows, could you recomend a good book. I am looking for good pigment colours and also natural, non-toxic ingredients. Thank you.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      There was a book we reviewed on Color Cosmetics. Search the site for the link.

  25. Avatar

    about cosmetic chemistry What is the best book that can help me?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Any of the books in the above post.

  26. Avatar
    Ms E

    i wanted to create Matte lipsticks Pressed Pigments/Gel liners which book has the best formula? In addition to that which book best cover skincare formulations?

  27. Avatar

    Mr. Perry,
    Are there any institutes in INDIA offering courses in Cosmetic Science. I would like to know more about natural cosmetic chemistry or short courses on Natural Cosmetic Science in INDIA.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      I’m unaware of any cosmetic science courses in India.

    2. Avatar

      In India 3 institutes are conducting Cosmetics courses
      1) V. G. Vaze College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Mumbai University
      (Post Graduate Diploma In cosmetics and Perfumery Management)
      2) Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University
      [B.Tech. (Cosmetics)]
      3)L.A.D. & S.R.P. College for Women, Nagpur
      [B.Tech, M.Tech., Ph.D., Quality Assurance (Cosmetics)]

  28. Avatar
    Udorji Festus.O.

    Sir Perry,In which of this books can i get a good formular for hair relaxer & skin whitening body lotion formular/ agents. Thanks, Best Regard. Lagos-Nigeria.0

  29. Avatar

    Are there any books specific to nail polish formulation? Can these textbooks help amateur chemists or are they for more advanced chemists?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      These books can help amateur chemists but I don’t know any specific to nail polish formulas.

  30. Avatar

    I wish to have a product line, how can I go about it. I have an M.Sc in industrial microbiology and currently doing a Ph.D in natural products. what do i need to do to begin

  31. Avatar

    i am mohamad kamal from egypt and i am graduated from microbiology and biochemistry department ,diploma of physiology and biochemistry
    work as medical rep in many pharmaceutical and cosmetic field
    now i am marketing or product manager in cosmetics company
    i wish you to be my guide and tell me what can i do to grow my exp.

  32. Avatar

    I am very interested mainly in hair and a little in skin products and need a book that covers natural oils, plants butters and minerals such as clay from around the world. Do you have any suggestions i am running out of places to look . Kind regards

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Try in their bookstore.

  33. Avatar

    Hi Perry

    I am looking for a book on formulating natural & organic cosmetics and every-day products.

    Hope you can help!

    Best regards.


      1. Avatar

        Many thanks perry.

        Best regards.


  34. Avatar

    At the moment I’m studying cosmetic and detergent technology. I’d like to study more about phytocosmetic . Does anyone know where i can study more about phytocosmetic ? Is it possible from my course to continue to bioscience course or pharmaceutical?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Thanks for your question. Phytocosmetic is a marketing term and doesn’t have any real meaning among the scientists in our industry. It roughly means cosmetics made using plant derived ingredients. Look up information about Natural cosmetics and you will learn all you need to know about phytocosmetics. Yes you can continue to study bioscience and still get into the cosmetic industry.

  35. Avatar

    I am Christine from Greece.
    I’ve just obtained my degree in department of chemistry and i am searching for a good Msc (in Europe or in Montreal) in order to work… Could you recommend me some in cosmetic-science?
    Are there any programs with which i can work for a couple os months?

  36. Avatar
    Mika Nenonen

    Hi, do you have any tips for working with organic ingredients for color makeup? Where could I find information regarding manufacturing, possible lab chemist contacts, contract labs that are working with organic raw materials etc. Million thanks!

    1. Avatar
      stan Idelsen

      Hi Mika,
      at WNC we are launching a program of min one M€ on naturally colored pigments. If u have specific requirements we can put u as a reference customer & get samples for free etc. to help us move ahead.
      Stan Idelsen
      CEO & co-founder

  37. Avatar

    A book to know more information about mascara.

  38. Avatar
    Dr. Ashawat

    I wish to publish a scientific novel on cosmetic

  39. Avatar
    Rashed Ahmad Kabir

    I m Rashed from Bangladesh..Its a matter of thoughts that there is no instituion in Bangladesh offering courses on Cosmetic Science. So I would like to know about cosmetic chemistry and short courses on Cosmetic Science where its offered.

  40. Avatar

    hi,this is abi from srilanka.working as a government pharmacist.shall i turn my job as a cosmetic researcher? B’cos i’m very interest in cosmetic flied.

    1. Avatar

      Hello Abi – If you are interested in cosmetics then you would certainly have the background for a successful career in the field.

      1. Avatar

        hi Perry
        i need a books in cosmetic formulation basics
        can you help me please

  41. Avatar
    Inemesit Archibong

    My name is Inem Archibong from Nigeria. I wish to take up a course in Cosmetic Science but have no elementary knowledge of chemistry.
    I would like to know if i stand a Chance.
    Thank you.

  42. Avatar
    Science Jon

    Harry’s Cosmeticology is a MUST have for any cos sci student

  43. Avatar
    Abigail Buina

    i want to do cosmestic science as a career, but in my country there are no schools taking people for the program. how do i appl for the training? and how can i get the books at discounted prices? abby, Ghana

  44. Avatar
    Tanushri Sen

    cosmetic microbiology is one book dat helped me a lott….

  45. Avatar

    do you know a school in Thailand which offers the best education in cosmetic science?

    1. Avatar

      There are 2 famous school of cosmetic science in Thailand

      1. Mae Fah Luang University
      2. Naresuan University

      you can search the name on Google

      1. Avatar

        I dont know where you get your “famous” list from.
        Naresuan and Mae Fah Luang isnt a top tier in cosmetic science.

        Churalongkorn University is No. 1 in Thailand.
        Mahidol University is No. 2 ( Both are top tiers, taking each other’s place every year.)
        Mae Fah Luang is like third to fifth.

        There are other famous universities such as Kasetsart, etc.

        Just because search on google gave visible result doesnt mean they are “famous.”

  46. Avatar
    ravi saini

    I have need a cosmetic book and guide . thank you sir/madam

  47. Avatar
    sultan imran

    i want to know formulation of cosmetics items please help me

  48. Kelly

    If you click on the title of each book you will see all the information about that book, including the author.

  49. Avatar

    please send authors name to each book

  50. Kelly

    Your method does not appear to be a typical stability test. Samples should be stored in several temperatures including elevated temp for several months and analyzed. Please read Perry’s post on stability testing for more information. Thanks, Kelly

  51. Avatar

    In accelarating tests I leave sample in heat for 24 hr and after that immidiatly i put it in refrigretor.Is it right test or not?

  52. Avatar

    i want to know about cosmetic chemistry

  53. Avatar

    i have comleted pg in chemistry.what are the jobs acc 2 my qualification

  54. Avatar

    I am very appreciative for this list. One of my goals is to master cosmetic chemistry, this list will be of much use for me and my members.

  55. Avatar
    Tony Hunting

    You may have got the Short Textbook of Cosmetology from my company, Micelle Press.
    There are many other books on Cosmetic Science listed in our catalogue.


    Tony (SCS and SCC member, Emeritus)

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    sarita kulkarni

    hello,i m qc incharge i want to know that after preparation of emulsion after sometimes it gets liquify how can we overcome from this is formed.please sent us thge information

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  61. Avatar
    Loretta Storch

    I would also recommend Multifunctional Cosmetics (Cosmetic Science and Technology Series), Volume 26, edited by Randy Schueller and Perry Romanowski. Multifunctional products continue to gain priority and attention as consumers are seeking and demanding more for their $$. This publication helps to define and clarify multifunctional cosmetics, provides practical examples and explains the associated value and impact of these products in various formulations. A very good read, easy to understand and a handy reference.

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  63. Kelly

    Preservatives for Cosmetics by David Steinberg is another must have book for any cosmetic chemist. Preservation is such an important part of formulation and this book is the most convenient reference guide.

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