The Job Description of a Cosmetic Chemist

Cosmetic chemists develop skin and hair care products.
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A fun shopping experience for you may be sampling new makeup and fragrances at your local department store. For cosmetic chemists, this is part of their job. They test and develop a variety of products, including lipstick and perfume, before they are placed on a store counter. According to McGraw-Hill Education, job growth is expected to increase as companies continue to expand their cosmetic products.


    Common products such as deodorant, makeup and hair dye are developed by cosmetic chemists. This field is broken up into different career paths. A chemist formulator is responsible for creating new products. These chemists usually work in a lab setting to conduct experiments using a variety of substances. A quality control chemist evaluates products to make sure they are safe and meet all U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards. Cosmetic chemists also write reports based on their research and create marketing plans.


    A bachelor's degree in science, chemistry or a related field is the core education requirement for this field. Some large employers require candidates to have advanced degrees in cosmetic science or a related field. Entry-level positions include working as a lab technician under the guidance of a senior scientist. Candidates can stand out from the competition by working as interns and getting hands-on experience working in a lab.


    Whether it is working on teams to produce a product or presenting research reports to executive staff, communication skills are important for this career path. Cosmetic chemists must have strong skills in math, including algebra and statistics, to solve complex problems in the lab. They must also have good analytical skills to analyze data often used to conduct experiments. Also, critical thinking skills are needed to test solutions before developing the final version of a product.

Working Environment

    Although many cosmetic chemists work in laboratories, they also work in offices and factories to supervise the production process. They might also work for pharmaceutical, perfume and cosmetic companies. Although cosmetic chemists tend to work regular full-time hours, longer hours are also common for this position. Most of their work is done in a team-based environment, especially working on large research projects. Many cosmetic chemists serve as the leader of these teams.

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