What is cosmetic science

Cosmetic scientist: job description, everyday work

Mission: beauty

A little more popularity can't hurt. No degree or profession. On the contrary: Anyone who is named in the media can basically be happy. Unless he ends up on Harald Schmidt's gag list, of all places. At the University of Hamburg, the entertainer joked that you could now learn to apply makeup in a newly established course in “Cosmetics Science”. And he made fun of the fact that it would take 8 × 4 semesters.

It was almost ten years ago and the training and professional profile of a cosmetics scientist (and above all: a cosmetics scientist) is now well established. Schmidt had to look for other professional groups for his jokes. However, the number of employees in industry, at vocational schools or in the editorial offices who have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in cosmetic science or “cosmetology” on their business cards is still very low. Because only a few hundred apply for a corresponding study place in Hamburg or Osnabrück and only a few dozen graduates are accepted and leave the university as cosmetologists or cosmetologists. But those who have made it can usually choose a further professional career. Because cosmetic scientists combine - according to part of the official definition - biological and chemical knowledge with the aesthetic and market-based demands of cosmetic products. Dermatology, cosmetic chemistry and biophysical measurement methods are just as much a part of their training as knowledge of media studies or a feeling for beauty, fashion and design.

“What makes the qualification of a cosmetologist so unique is, on the one hand, his knowledge of how, for example, chemical knowledge can be reconciled with dermatological and allergological requirements. And on the other hand, how the effects of cosmetics on the skin can be evaluated, ”explains Professor Martina Kerscher, head of the bachelor's and master's degree in cosmetic science at the University of Hamburg. Skin physiology, dermatology and assessments of active ingredients are topics that are hardly taught in a pure chemistry or biology course. As well as knowledge in the area of ​​minimally invasive procedures, such as those that are important in connection with botulins (Botox) or morphines. Cosmetic scientists have "added value" due to their training, which is becoming increasingly important, particularly in the research and development departments of the cosmetics industry. After all, according to the Federal Association of Body Care and Detergents (PKW), every German spends over 150 euros on head care products every year, with sales well over twelve billion euros. The trend is rising, because consumers' search for the 'right' care products is likely to continue for a lifetime. Cosmetic scientists are therefore very popular.

"The employment opportunities are excellent, especially since the cosmetics industry has now recognized the advantages and possibilities of this training," emphasizes Kerscher. In almost all areas of the beauty industry, cosmetic scientists have become a sought-after addition to existing teams. But more and more cosmetic scientists are not only to be found in the research laboratories for beauty products. Because of their knowledge, they also take on teaching tasks, for example in vocational schools, when hairdressers or beauticians are to be trained. And they take positions in the technical advice of cosmetics and fashion magazines or take on the job of an editor themselves. However, tasks in sales, marketing or advertising are also conceivable. Cosmetologists can choose - and rely on their customers' wrinkles.