A lot of people have asked us what they should major in if they want to become a cosmetic chemist. There are a wide variety of majors you can have and still become a formulator but these are the best.
1. Chemistry major
No doubt that the most versatile major for breaking into the cosmetic industry is a BS in Chemistry. By far the largest percentage of people working in cosmetic science have these kinds of degrees. A BA in Chemistry is also acceptable and in my experience, there is no difference between a BA and a BS in chemistry when it comes to getting hired. The jobs you can get with a chemistry degree include formulator, research scientist, quality control chemist, and analytical scientist.
2. Chemical Engineering
There are a number of chemical engineer majors who have become cosmetic chemists. However, since engineers often know about mixing equipment they usually end up in the process engineering group. These are the scientists responsible for scale-up of batches. If you like this kind of job you should get a chemical engineering degree.
The third most common degree for cosmetic chemists is Biology. This degree will help you get a job in the industry but will usually be in the microbiology department. If formulating is what you want to do you may have to work a few years in the micro area then try to move jobs.
4. Environmental sciences
Some cosmetic chemists get specialized degrees in environmental sciences. This allows them to get safety and environmental jobs in the cosmetic industry.
5. Any Bachelors of Science degree
While it is harder, it is not impossible to get a cosmetic chemist job with a degree in something like Physics or Anthropology. You’ll probably have to start in the role of a technician or QA scientists and work your way up but it can be done.
If you are interested in getting into the cosmetic industry and you’re just deciding on a major, Chemistry is probably the best one to pick. However, if you did choose something else and are too far along to change, that doesn’t mean you can’t become a cosmetic chemist. It may just take you a little longer.