Jun 11, 2019
At Formula Botanica, we receive a good many queries from prospective students wanting to know if they need to be a qualified cosmetic chemist to formulate skincare products. The cosmetic chemist vs skincare formulator conundrum has gone higher up the agenda in recent years as we've seen ever more non chemists as formulators and founders of indie beauty businesses.
At Formula Botanica, we teach diplomas and certificates in cosmetic product formulating. An increasing number of our graduates go on to formulate beautiful, high-performance products as well as run successful indie beauty businesses having been inspired and empowered by the courses they took with us.
This is possible because in nearly all parts of the world, irrespective of whether the formulator is a cosmetic chemist or skincare formulator, the cosmetic products themselves must meet strict compliance regulations to be sold legally.
What we teach at Formula Botanica are the key concepts of chemistry; a competent cosmetic product formulator would need to know to create products that are safe, stable and meet - and often exceed - consumer expectations. Some core components of cosmetic chemistry that we include in our Diplomas are pH measurement and monitoring, emulsification, methods of natural cosmetics' preservation, and the use of solubilisers and surfactants.
There are of course some fundamental differences between a cosmetic chemist and skincare formulator. A cosmetic chemist would be steeped in the science of how cosmetic ingredients work together and would know the likely outcome of any formula even without a practical lab trial. A cosmetic chemist would need formal, recognised, usually graduate-level qualifications in chemistry along with a specialist training (a post-graduate qualification) in cosmetic science. They may well end up working in the R&D lab of a large cosmetics' firm.
A cosmetic product formulator would not necessarily know the in-depth science of how ingredients work but could, through applied study and practical application of their formulating skills coupled with detailed observation, build up a considerable knowledge bank about their ingredients and formulation outcomes.
A cosmetic chemist working in a large lab might not be the one who dreams up the lovely new formulas as they might be more restricted in how much of the route from first creative idea to marketable product they get their hands on. However, they may be at the forefront of R&D bringing innovative cosmetic ingredients to market.
It is inevitable that there is some overlap in roles and also a lot of grey areas and misconceptions about what both careers involve. In this podcast, Formula Botanica School Director, Lorraine Dallmeier and podcast host and Relationship Manager Gemma discuss the two roles and career paths along with their respective pros and cons. This podcast is a must-listen for anyone wondering about the training and career options in formulating cosmetics' products especially if looking to focus on natural, organic formulation.
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