As baby boomers eagerly await healing lotions and potions, cosmetic scientists embark upon their ultimate quest: combining artistic creativity with science to defy aging and preserve youth.

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DALLAS — Someday, Ada Basinski’s name might go down in history.

She’s hoping to unveil the next blockbuster in skin care.

As business blossoms amid record growth, cosmetic scientists such as Basinski can bank on a rosy future.

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Baby boomers eagerly await more healing lotions and potions. Their ultimate quest: to defy aging and preserve youth.

“It’s the best time ever for the skin-care industry,” said Basinski, a senior chemist at BeautiControl in Carrollton, Texas. “There are many new biotech ingredients out there now.”

The manufacturer of beauty- and wellness-products is emanating a healthy glow. And brighter times are yet to come.

Cosmetic science

Pay: Can range from about $30,000 to more than $100,000 a year.

Training: A background in chemical engineering, chemistry or biology, or a major in a specialized cosmetic-science program offered by a few colleges.

Information: Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 120 Wall St., Suite 2400, New York, NY 10005-4088;


The Dallas Morning News

Recent hires have been across the board — marketing, sales and distribution, you name it, said Jo-Anne Jaeger, senior vice president of international marketing at BeautiControl.

“There is currently a great shortage of experienced cosmetic scientists,” said Tatiana Kelly, last year’s chairwoman and now an adviser to the Society of Cosmetic Chemists Southwest Chapter.

Salaries range from $30,000 for those with limited practice to well over $100,000 for seasoned researchers, she said.

In addition to financial perks, experts have the freedom to brush up on an area of their choice. They can specialize in color cosmetics, fragrances, skin solutions, sunscreens or hair care.

“Cosmetic science is an especially unique field because it requires quite a bit of artistic thinking and creativity along with a strong science foundation,” said Kelly, principal scientist at Goodier Cosmetics in Dallas.

At BeautiControl, scientists developed an at-home chemical-peel system for enhancing skin’s tone, radiance and texture — a product that simulates a day-spa experience. And they engineered a delicate cream to quickly diminish the visibility of lines and wrinkles.

“We’re able to transfer that technology affordably and conveniently into the consumer’s hands,” Evelyn Browning, BeautiControl communications manager, said of the behind-the-scenes breakthroughs.

As consumer interest shifts toward natural products, scientists learn to follow these preferences.

To get started in the career, candidates need a strong academic background in chemical engineering, chemistry or biology.

Many colleges offer majors in these sciences, but a few have even more specialized programs.

Certain master’s-degree students at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., can opt for a concentration in cosmetic science. Admission requirements stipulate a bachelor’s degree in an allied science from an accredited institution, including a two-semester sequence of organic chemistry.

Adjunct instructors who “are actively employed within the cosmetic-science industries” round out the curriculum.

This keeps the focus relevant to the changing workplace, said James Dougherty, assistant professor of chemistry and coordinator of the cosmetic-science program, founded in 1982.

Many students work full time in the field and take classes part time.

At the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree in cosmetic science is obtained through the College of Pharmacy.

The college also awards a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences with an emphasis in cosmetic science.

“We normally have about 12 qualified applicants for two to three slots,” said R. Randall Wickett, professor of pharmaceutics and cosmetic science. “Admission is highly competitive.”

Basinski’s education in her native Shanghai, China, centered on chemical engineering.

After college, she worked for a cosmetics giant. A nearly 20-year veteran, she joined BeautiControl in May 1999.

“I like this industry because there’s always something new. It’s a fashion and science combination,” said Basinski, 44.

“That’s my first job and my last job.”