How to become a cosmetic chemist?

“In the know” with Cosmetic Padacts

in the know (verb) – Knowledgeable or having access to information about something, especially that which is exclusive or secret

The Free Dictionary by Farlex

Not that any of this information is exclusive or secret, but this is information that I have access to that can be of use for people who are interested in becoming a cosmetic chemist or entering the cosmetic industry.

What is a cosmetic chemist?

Cosmetic chemists have a variety of responsibilities, that include:

research, develop and formulate cosmetics, troubleshoot manufacturing or formulation issues, run stability tests on products, better your skills to become more innovative, read blog posts from Cosmetic Padacts, attend meetings with customers or suppliers, keep track of project progresses, and so on so forth.

The below information can be applied to multiple careers within the cosmetic industry.

How to become a cosmetic chemist? Do it in this order!!

  1. Read and follow this blog!!  – (See what I did there?) This blog will contain and maintain useful information for anyone interested in cosmetics (from basics to advanced), so it will become a useful source for all interested.
    • Side note: people who follow this blog can be called… Padanators — Comment below your suggestions!
  2. Get a science degree — I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (GO SPARTANS!)
    • What kind of science degree should you consider? – Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Microbiology, etc.
    • Learning about formulation from online sources is great but having a science background can really enhance your understanding about the interactions actually occurring in your formulas.
  3. Intern with a cosmetic company – Having an internship or co-op at a cosmetic company will really allow you to see if you’d enjoy the industry or not even before graduating college. You’ll be able to gain lots of insight as an intern as to the different positions available & their responsibilities. An internship with a cosmetic company will also allow you to have one foot in the door when you decide that you’d like to be a part of the cosmetic industry. Internships or co-ops are typically available with:
      • L’Oreal (New York)
      • Burt’s Bees (Durham, North Carolina)
      • Active Concepts (Lincolnton, North Carolina)
      • Estée Lauder (New York)
  4. Figure out what cosmetic science position suits you
    • Cosmetic Chemist/Formulator – Typically, you combine different raw materials to create different products. If you love innovation and creativity, becoming a cosmetic chemist/formulator may be your best bet. You can find positions with contract manufacturers (CMs) or raw material suppliers who employ formulators for prototypes.
    • Synthesis (Raw Materials) Chemist – If you liked Organic Chemistry in college, you’ll probably want to become a raw materials chemist. Raw Materials chemists will research, develop, and synthesize raw material ingredients — what you synthesize may be contingent on who you are employed with.
    • Quality Assurance or Quality Control – If you liked Analytical Chemistry in college or liked working with analytical instrumentation, then you’ll most likely enjoy being in Quality. Positions can be found with CMs & suppliers.
    • Process Engineer – Typically those with engineering backgrounds will find a position as a processing engineer. Processing engineers are responsible for helping and designing manufacturing facilities or helping scale up batches from lab to commercialization. Positions can be found with any cosmetic company that has a manufacturing facility for scale up.
    • Cosmetic Microbiologist – Microbiologists in cosmetics tests cosmetic products or raw materials for microbial growth. Microbiological safety of cosmetics is important because of the potential harm that can come to consumers. Therefore, cosmetic microbiologists play an important role in ensuring that cosmetics are safe prior to the product reaching store fronts.
    • Sales/Marketing – If you are someone who enjoys speaking and communicating with people, a position in sales or marketing may be for you. Sales representatives of raw materials companies meet with customers to sell and showcase different ingredients. Marketing creates the story lines that go behind ingredients and products and go hand in hand with sales representatives.
  5. Network & reach out to those already in the fieldnetworking will not only help you land a job faster, but it will give you a competitive edge throughout every stage of your career.
    • Contact Cosmetic Padacts & be introduced to people within the industry & receive information about recent available positions.
    • Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) – “Our mission is to further the interests and recognition of cosmetic scientists while maintaining the confidence of the public in the cosmetic and toiletries industry.”
      • SCC has multiple chapters throughout the United States of America, New England, Ontario, and Quebec.
      • Find the nearest chapter to you and become a member or attend chapter meetings to network in person — meeting someone in person is more memorable than meeting them online. (Students typically get discounted memberships when joining).
    • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a great site to begin networking with those in the cosmetic industry. Ways to network on LinkedIn:
      • You can simply search ‘cosmetic chemist’ and find multiple people with that job title and begin messaging or connecting with them.
      • You can search for the company of interest, view the people who work at that company, and then message or connect with them.
  6. Finding a position
    • Start with the people that you have networked with via Cosmetic Padacts, SCC, and LinkedIn
    • SCC has job postings in some individual chapters
    • LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster – great places to start looking for positiongs

See the previous post and learn about the basics of cosmetic science & what a cosmetic is. The previous post is a great introductory source for beginners who are interested in the cosmetic industry. Follow us on Instagram (@cosmeticpadacts) & Facebook for updates on upcoming posts.

Comment below if you found this post helpful or if you have any questions. You can also submit comments/questions through the Contact tab or directly e-mail:  Thank you for being a part of this journey!

– Cosmetic Padacts

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