While many students may think cosmetic science programs only involve lipstick and eyeshadow, they couldn’t be more wrong.The University of Toledo’s Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program is the only bachelor’s program of its kind in the United States. The major teaches students how to formulate, produce and test cosmetics and personal care products. In addition to learning how to make these products, students are taught how to design, market and develop them.
“Many students and parents got the program confused with cosmetology — painting nails, doing makeup and cutting hair,” said Dr. Gabriella Baki, UT assistant professor of pharmaceutics, who specializes in cosmetic science. “But this is a science; we teach students how to make products from scratch, how to test them, package them, and make sure they’re safe for the consumer.”
Baki was hired in 2012 and asked to create the curriculum for the major in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. There are other master’s degree programs that are similar, but they’re designed for students who have a bachelor’s in biology, chemistry or physics, Baki explained. The cosmetic science curriculum had to be created from scratch.
“I knew this was going to be tough, so I started looking at other schools’ programs,” she said. “I just thought, ‘If I was a student and wanted to work in the cosmetic industry, what would I need to know?’”
Baki’s research for the major eventually led to her writing a textbook, Introduction to Cosmetic Formulation and Technology, which is set to be published this year by Wiley & Sons and implemented in UT’s introductory cosmetic science program.
The program is also very hands-on; students get to create more than 100 products throughout the course of a year and take them home when they’re finished, Baki said. She also invites speakers from the professional industries and the Food and Drug Administration to present to her classes.In May 2014, the first students graduated from the program: Kayla Banks, Sarah Breen and Alison Wery.
“Looking back, it is pretty amazing the wide array of things we were able to learn in such a short time,” Breen said. “Armed with what I learned at UT, I am able to take a new product all the way from the idea stage through marketing, including ingredient selection, formulation, testing, packaging and marketing plans.”
Banks agreed: “I learned countless lessons in the program. From formulation design to research opportunities to business and marketing, cosmetic science can go in many different career directions. I was expecting only to learn how to make cosmetics; however, the major went way beyond just formulating new products.”
Breen has a position as a quality operations specialist for Pfizer, a pharmaceutical corporation.
Banks is an analytical chemist at Boehringer-Ingelheim Roxane Inc., a pharmaceutical company. She plans to attend the University of Cincinnati for its Master of Cosmetic Science Program.
While three students graduated in May 2014 and two graduated in December, Baki said there are more to come; four are expected to graduate in May, and five are set to graduate in 2016.
To complement the program, a student organization has been created. The University of Toledo Cosmetic Chemists Society was instituted in October and is the only student cosmetic science organization in Ohio.
“The purpose of the UT Cosmetic Chemist Society is to enhance knowledge of all members and those interested in the future of cosmetic design formulation, testing and marketing,” said Hillary Phillis, the first president of the organization who graduated in December with a degree in pharmaceutics and cosmetic science. “We plan to have fundraising events, get people interested in the field, and let them know that there are a number of avenues to succeed in this career path.”
Phillis said the student organization has about 20 students and is open to University students no matter what major or department.
“We want to enhance everyone’s knowledge, especially the members of the student organization,” she said.
“I definitely think my college career has been enhanced by the cosmetic science program. It was a little dull before that. I feel like I finally found what I’m supposed to do,” Phillis said.
For more information about the program, visit http://utole.do/cosmeticscience.