The Top 7 Cosmetic Science Books

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.

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