Ever thought about who creates those lovely smelly beauty products you use on your skin and hair every day? It could be you, if you choose a career in cosmetic science!
All about cosmetic science
Do you love experimenting with makeup, hair products, perfumes and toiletries? There are a huge variety of jobs in the UK beauty industry includes and is worth £17 billion and influences our lives in many ways – from the deodorant you apply in the morning to the mascara you remove at night, a team of cosmetic scientists will have been involved in researching, creating, testing and sniffing all the lotions and potions you use to make yourself look, feel and smell gorgeous!
So what is cosmetic science, exactly? Well, to be precise, it’s the study of both the making and marketing of cosmetics. A cosmetic scientist will investigate and explore the properties of different chemicals in order to create the perfect smell, colour and texture of a product. They understand how the pigmentation in lipstick works, how gels keep hair in place and how foundations and concealers make skin look flawless. For more information on jobs and careers in the science sector, check out our dedicated science and research page.
What does a cosmetic science job involve?
With experience, qualifications or a degree in cosmetic science, you could be involved in the creation of a new beauty product, from initial research and experimenting with chemicals to creating the recipe, testing the product and analyzing its effects. You could also be responsible for creating the next best-selling perfume!
What qualifications do I need to do cosmetic science?
To study cosmetic science, you’ll need at least 5 GCSEs and 2 A-levels, with a science as one or more of your subject choices or an equivalent vocational qualification. It is also possible to become a cosmetic scientist with either an HND (Higher National Diploma) or a Foundation Degree, in science. Compare information on all qualifications.
The Society of Cosmetic Scientists (SCS) offers a distance-learning Diploma in Cosmetic Science. This is a Level 4 qualification, equivalent to a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) and is also equivalent to doing the first year of a degree. SCS also organize regular educational events designed specifically to help people seeking work specifically in this field.
Degrees in cosmetic science
After A-levels, if you’re interested in a career in cosmetic science, you could do a degree in a subject like biology, pharmacy, chemistry or chemical engineering and then apply for jobs in the cosmetics industry. Two universities offer specific degrees in the subject – De Montfort University offers a degree in Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetic Science and the University of the Arts London (UAL) offers an MSc in Cosmetic Science, in conjunction with the London College of Fashion. Whilst studying cosmetic science as an undergraduate your college will find you work placements in the industry, enabling you to develop your practical skills on the job.
Cosmetic science career opportunities
Many well-known companies like Boots the Chemist, L’Oréal and Estee Lauder and offer jobs, training or internships to candidates with the relevant qualifications and a strong interest in the development of new products and once you’re fully qualified, you could earn between £20-£50,000 a year. All these companies advertise jobs regularly, so check their websites for relevant, cosmetic science related vacancies.