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What to Look for in a Cosmetic Chemist

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

People tend to look for a cosmetic formulation chemist after coming up with a new idea for a good cosmetic product. Most then take to the internet to search for a cosmetic chemist and find that it can be difficult to find one.

Types of Cosmetic Chemists

If you are stuck in the idea stage of your product, finding a company or a chemist to work with is the next best step. You’ll need to decide if a company or chemist is the best action plan to help you make cosmetics. Let’s have a look at what types of cosmetic chemists exist.

Formulating Chemists – Also called cosmetic consultants, these are independent scientists who design the formula on your behalf. They will take your idea and budget on board and make you a formula to your specifications. Keep in mind that with a formulation chemist, you will own the rights to the formula or the product.

Contract Manufacturer – A CM is a company that works with you to develop the right formula and product. They may even throw in free lab work if you allow them to do subsequent production runs.

Private Labeler – A PL is another option for launching your own product. The PLs will only let you make small customizations to products and give you an existing formula to work with. It will look like a new product, but the substance in the containers may not be individual or unique to your company.

Pros and Cons

A cosmetic formulation chemist will come up with a custom formula that you own. This will be at a cost to you. You’ll have to do a little more work and it may take longer to do.

A CM is not as expensive and gives you some customization options. It can be cheaper and faster but you won’t own the formula.

A PM is a quick and cheap way to go but you may have fewer options in terms of customization. The formula might not be unique to your brand.

How to Know if They’re a Good Cosmetic Chemist

It’s beneficial to look for certain things when choosing a chemist for your cosmetic chemistry. Let’s have a look at some key qualities:

1. Do They Have a Degree?

Having qualifications that have been gained online does not necessarily make an actual cosmetic chemist. Understanding the chemistry, ingredients and types of formulation takes years of experience. A good cosmetic chemist will have a science degree and years of experience making cosmetics.

2. What Is Their Work History?

Setting up a website can seem easy, but it often requires a lot of effort. You need to see evidence of the chemist’s previous work and check out any references. If possible, look for testimonials from previous cosmetic chemistry clients to get a feel for how they work.

3. Are They an SCC Member?

The Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) membership is a must for any sought-after chemist in cosmetics. To be a member, chemists need to have a background in science and a certain amount of experience. The qualifications required to be part of this society will make it easier to spot the good cosmetic formulation chemists that you want working on your product.

4. How much are they charging up front?

Be wary of chemists that want a lot of money upfront. Fifty percent upfront is usually typical. They should provide samples and revisions to make sure your formula is what you’re expecting.

5. Do They Give a Timescale?

A good chemist will always give you a schedule. Make sure you work out the schedule and when to expect results. A cosmetic chemist that is communicative and adheres to a timeline will make the process of developing your formula much easier.

A Final Word

At the end of the day, a good chemist is a must-have for developing a unique formula for your brand. To be successful, you will need top-spec marketing, and this is something that cosmetic chemists do not typically know much about. If possible, make sure the cosmetic chemist you choose to work with has industry contacts that can help you beyond the formulation process and into the launch phase of your business.

Here at Freelance Formulations, our team of experts has 30+ years of experience formulating for clients in various industries. If you want to learn more about our services and pricing check out our “Custom Formulas” tab.

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