Working in the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Industry
As you will appreciate from this website, people working in this industry have a wide range of skills and levels of qualification. You could work in this industry after having done a science degree and may have gone on to study for a post-graduate qualification, or come straight from school. Jobs may be highly scientific or more artistic in nature. Whatever your talents, there is the possibility of finding your perfect job within the cosmetics industry.
So, how do you find out more?
Find out more about the range of careers on offer by looking at cosmetic and personal care company websites, or look for suppliers of ingredients and contract manufacturers. The CTPA members list (www.ctpa.org.uk/members
) may help you find companies. Most of the big companies have careers sections on their websites, which can be quite informative about the industry, and the variety of careers available. Some companies employ school leavers and train them through apprenticeships, and you can apply to these companies directly. Some companies may also sponsor individuals to gain higher qualifications such as the MSc Course in Cosmetic Science.
What qualifications do I need?
You can enter the industry straight from school, and depending on what you want to do you may or may not need qualifications. A lot of people in the industry have science degrees and have entered the industry after university, but in some companies you can train to be a scientist with science A-levels. There is a wide variety of courses relevant to the industry, but in the UK there are only a few universities that specialise in the cosmetics area. Some of the specialist courses are listed below. Many scientists in the industry belong to the Society of Cosmetic Scientists and their website offers help to students looking for careers advice and lists various sources of continuing education. The links section is very comprehensive and provides access to the International Federation of Societies and Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) as well as other professional organisations.
The following courses are a selection of what is available, and you can contact the institutions for further information.
Cosmetic Science Diploma by Distance Learning
Society of Cosmetic Scientists
Course Duration: 1 year
: This course is available worldwide, and lasts for one year commencing each September. Particularly suitable for people who require a thorough grounding in all aspects of cosmetic science, the modular course provides a flexible study route which can then lead into the Society’s Diploma in Cosmetic Science. » Find out more
MSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science
London College of Fashion
Course Duration: 5 year sandwich course with an optional year industry and BSc exit point
: This is a London College of Fashion course based at Oxford Circus, with other sites in the West End and Hoxton areas of Central London. The course provides students with in-depth scientific knowledge to create new products and/or treatments, plus an understanding of the cosmetic and beauty market and its consumers. All aspects of developing new cosmetic and toiletries products are covered, as well as the principles and scientific basis of formulation, manufacture and evaluation of cosmetic products. The course also examines the nature of the consumer and characteristics of the beauty and cosmetics industry. Graduates may follow a career in research and development, product manufacturing, marketing or technical sales. » Find out more
Diploma in Perfumery by Distance Learning
University of Plymouth
Course Duration: 1 year (approximately)
Course Details: Taking approximately one year to complete, depending on your rate of study and other time commitments, the IFEAT Diploma in Perfumery leads to an industry-recognised professional qualification specifically designed for people working in the fragrance industry. The course is delivered in a distance-learning format and can begin at any time, although the first piece of coursework must be submitted within 3 months of registration, and the course completed within 18 months of the first coursework submission.
The role of the modern perfumer is a blend of artist, scientist and technologist and the IFEAT Diploma will develop skills across a wide range of disciplines. The course provides an intensive introduction to the aroma trades and perfumery industry with emphasis on sensory, technical and marketing aspects. To achieve the diploma you must demonstrate a comprehensive and practical understanding of the total fragrance industry and its key issues within an international context. Assessment is based on odour work, essays and a special study. » Find out more
Interested in becoming a make-up artist or beauty therapist?
If you want to gain appropriate qualifications then The London College of Beauty Therapy provides several courses covering specialist training for beauty therapists, make-up artists and retail beauty consultants. » Find out more
Alternatively, you can obtain on-the-job training. The ideal way to learn to be a make-up artist is to 'shadow' a well-established professional. Also, working within a department store for one of the cosmetic houses gives you a good start in the industry and allows you to learn about different products and make-up application.
What can I do now to help me work in the industry?
If you can, get involved in The Young Enterprise Scheme, as it gives you an understanding of business. It’s also great to do internships and work experience, as it will give you a better understanding of what is involved in the job you’re interested in and help you realise how exciting scientific research can be and that it isn’t a stuffy environment!
If you’re passionate about cosmetics, fragrances and personal care products then find out more!
Websites for further information
For careers in chemistry
For careers in biology
For careers in biochemistry
For careers in cosmetic science and further educational resources
For careers in toxicology
For careers in beauty therapy
Careers information and advice from the Careers Writers Association for students aged 11 – 21. Detailed links to specific employment sectors.
Videos and information on a wide range of careers.
Job profiles and career related topics.
Short films describing different jobs, updated regularly
The main site for university application, information for students and parents and link to the Stamford Test which matches students to courses
Lots of information and advice about training courses, apprenticeships and jobs. Details of employers offering apprenticeships and training
The main website for apprenticeship opportunities
Interactive careers site for 11-24 year olds with lots of information
National service aimed at graduates but used in schools and colleges. Industry Insights gives information about future trends, graduate job prospects and individual jobs. Useful information on postgraduate careers
Database of careers and required qualifications
Details about the jobs available in all areas of the NHS with case studies of people who work for the NHS and links to university courses.