Cosmetic Chemist

Concoct cosmetics out of chemicals.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $116,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Cosmetic Chemists do?

Chemists are the mad Scientists with the bubbling beakers and brimming test tubes. Examples of products from those efforts (if not a lab explosion) are Styrofoam packing peanuts, flubber, pesticides, and food products. Along those lines, Cosmetic Chemists hit the lab with the goal of creating and improving cosmetic products used every day.

As a Cosmetic Chemist, you specialize in make-up, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, and other personal care products. There’s a lot to consider as you combine ingredients to come up with the perfect consistency, scent, sudsiness, and performance.

You might work for a make-up company, where you roll out the newest shade of foundation. Or, perhaps you dabble in new scents for body lotions. You’re a Scientist, so you experiment with a plethora of combinations in an effort to improve existing products, create new ones, or incorporate specific ingredients (think UV protection and moisture retention).

Wherever you pull on your lab coat and goggles, much of your job as a Cosmetic Chemist revolves around research and development. It’s more than an afternoon project to chemically create a new perfume or type of hair conditioner. There are myriad considerations, such as making sure your “recipe” is balanced enough to make in large quantities, following Federal Drug Administration regulations, and ensuring quality control.

In addition, you keep in mind the product’s path to the consumer. That means considering the production process, customer wants, trends, and marketing efforts. After all, your success comes from products that sell.

Should I be a Cosmetic Chemist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Formulation Scientist

    How to become a Cosmetic Chemist

    Most Cosmetic Chemists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aea9cl&chl=|certificate+%286%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2877%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|doctorate+%2814%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,77
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