Why Become a Cosmetic Formulator

Joan Morais
Become a Cosmetic Formulator. Learn this trade.

Why Become a Cosmetic Formulator

Are you interested in making natural skin, body or hair care products? Either for yourself or others? Are you a hairstylist, esthetician, or looking to launch a beauty line of your own? If so, becoming a cosmetic formulator or maker may be for you.

What is a Cosmetic Formulator?

A cosmetic formulator can follow, build and create a recipe or formula. A formulator creates the formula on paper or on a computer program and then makes the formula in a small sample batch, generally, in 100 grams or 500 grams.

The formula is the blueprint, the “how to” to make the product. It includes the percentages of the ingredients and the specific instructions, procedure on how to manufacture the formulation.

The formulation is the end product, the result that has been made according to the formula and procedure.

The Skill Set

  • Know Your Ingredients- The only way to truly know ingredients is to first do the research and then experience the individual ingredient. The goal is to have ingredients that have a synergy together. A synergy is the sum of all the parts and is greater than individually. When the ingredients are combined together, the result is a superior product.
  • Building the Formula- The most important part and requires a lot of consideration before jumping into making the formulation. You will also know how to calculate and adjust the ingredients.
  • Making the Formulation- You can also be the maker of the batch. Generally this means making small batches of product. The technical term for a maker is called a compounder. A maker, compounder, makes the batches per the formula, SOPs and cGMP guidelines, documents actions taken in the batching records.
  • Testing Cosmetics- Understand how to provide safe cosmetics by completing pre-market testing.

In addition, the formulator should also be aware of current products on the market, current trends and popular ingredients. The formulator should have a general understanding of skin and hair and the care products used. To be an excellent formulator it requires education, research, experience and product testing.

Potential Career Pathways

Hair Stylists – 

Stand out, make your own line of natural hair care products to use and sell to their clients. Keep a back bar of freshly made products for maximum results. Save containers, be sustainable, offer natural products with safe ingredients that promote hair growth and health. Customize products to each customer’s hair needs. 


Make natural, organic skin care products! Customize each client’s facial with products for their skin (sensitive, oily, mature, acne, dry, etc). Sell your products to your clients and keep them coming back.

Become a Cosmetic Compounder- 

A cosmetic compounder is hired by a manufacturing company to follow formulas to make cosmetic products. You do not need to know how to build a formula. You are the maker and follow recipes/formulas and follow SOPs and cGMP guidelines to create products for a company.

Become a Manufacturer- (start off small)

A manufacturer compares to a carpenter that builds the house. The manufacturer makes products following the formula on a medium or large batch production. To become a manufacturer, you can start off with a small cosmetic lab with small scale equipment. You can create private label products for clients. 

Launch a Small Beauty Line-

Start a small natural hair care line. Make and sell a shampoo bar, conditioner bar, or hair serum. Or start a vegan, organic skin care line for sensitive skin. Start small and with a few products. Test your product over and over until it’s perfect. Then go for it! 

Where to Start

Learn! Focus and take an Online Diploma Cosmetic Formulation Course. Learn at your own pace. Take a course that provides Lifetime Course Access and offers Live Q+A ‘s for questions. Yes, we are the only online cosmetic school that offers this! Learning is not easy and we found these two benefits to be the most important.

Seek a mentor. Seek Support. Join other cosmetic formulators and makers. Ask questions and gain answers. Remember to always take plenty of detailed notes and don’t give up. Learning a new skill or launching a new career takes time, patience and effort. 

Practice, practice, practice. Start making products. Explore ingredients, test out different containers, test out products. Keep in mind, mistakes are common and this is how you get better. Trial and error will become your friend and before you know it, you are officially a Cosmetic Formulator!!

Have a question? Email us at info@joanmorais.com! We would love to hear from you.

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