90865 - Chemistry Of Cosmetics And Toiletries.

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student has systematic knowledge of the classes of ingredients used in cosmetic formulations, knows their function and their chemical properties and possesses the rational elements necessary to identify which ingredients are suitable to the different types of formulation. The student achieves the critical ability necessary to predict the interactions among ingredients in a formulation and to rationalize the properties and stability of the formulation itself.

Course contents

Front teaching (classroom lectures: 56 hours)

- Definition and functions of a cosmetic product. The concept of "cosmetic" according to the main reference laws: Europe, USA and Japan. The concept of "cosmeceutical" according to Kligman.

- Classification and ingredients of cosmetic formulations: an overview.

- Lipids: hydrocarbons and terpene hydrocarbons; triglycerides and non-glycerine esters (oils and waxes), ethers, long chain alcohols, silicones.

- Surfactants: classification of structure and functions. Anionic, cationic, amphoteric and non-ionic surfactants. The HLB system and the role of surfactants. Detergents. Rheological factors and skin irritation in cleansing preparations, pearling and opacifying factors. Emulsifiers.

- Minerals and powders. Clays, white pigments, colored pigments, pearlescent pigments.

- Polymers and rheological modifiers in cosmetic formulations: structures, properties and uses. Natural and synthetic polymers. Functional polymers:

- Preservatives in cosmetic formulations: antioxidants and antimicrobials, self-preserving formulations, the concept of "non-preserving preservatives" in modern formulations.

- Wetting agents and pH regulators in cosmetic formulations.

- Functional ingredients in cosmetic formulations: an overview

- Principles of cosmetic formulation: general and methodological aspects

- Systematic study of the main types of formulations: aqueous solutions, alcoholic and hydro-alcoholic solutions (perfumes and toilet waters), siliconic-alcoholic solutions (deodorants and antiperspirants), hydrogel, oil solutions, hydro-glyceric pastes, surfactants’ preparations (shampoos and cleansing preparations), emulsions (oil in water and water in oil, phase inversion, microemulsions, organized lamellar emulsions, gel emulsions, siliconic emulsions), solid and consistent lipid forms (sticks and butters), powder preparations (sprinkle powders, face powder , blushers and make-up products)

- Industrial production of cosmetic products: the concept of scale-up, adapting the preparatory procedures to industrial machines.

- Main production machinery used in the cosmetic industry. Machines for the preparation of liquids (mixers and melters, machines with propeller, coaxial and planetary mixing); machines for the preparation of emulsions and suspensions: vacuum turboemulsors; other types of homogenizers; powder refining machines (mills); powder mixing machines; panning machines; granulators.

- Main machines for dispensing and packaging cosmetic preparations


Laboratory practice (30 hours)

- Exercises on the rheological modification of aqueous solutions and measurement of viscosity using a Brookfield viscometer

- Preparation of conventional and 2-in-1 shampoos

- Preparation of hair conditioning gels

- Preparations of hydroglycerine pastes

- Preparation of an O / W hot emulsion

- Preparation of a cold O / W emulsion with polymeric emulsifier

- Measuring pH and testing stability on centrifugation of cosmetic preparations

- Preparation of a W / O foundation emulsion

- Preparation of a W / O fluid emulsion for sun protection

- Preparation of lipsticks and lip gloss in stick

- Preparations of make-up powder formulations: powders and blushers


- D.F Williams; W.H Schmitt. "Chemistry and Technology of the Cosmetics and Toiletries Industries." Edition 2013, Springer Nature) ISBN-10: 9401050074 ISBN-13: 978-9401050074

- Gabriella Baki (Author),‎ Kenneth S. Alexander (Author). “Introduction to Cosmetic Formulation and Technology 1st Edition.” Wiley; 1 edition (April 13, 2015). ISBN-10: 1118763785; ISBN-13: 978-1118763780

- Leslie S. Baumann (Author). “Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients 1st Edition”. Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education / Medical; 1 edition (November 12, 2014). ISBN-10: 0071793984 ISBN-13: 978-0071793988

Further reading

- Ralph Gordon Harry (Author),‎ Martin M. Rieger (Editor). “Harry's Cosmeticology 8th Enlarged Edition”.Chemical Publishing Company; Enlarged edition (April 1, 2000). ISBN-13: 978-0820603728, ISBN-10: 0820603724

- André O. Barel (Editor),‎ Marc Paye (Editor),‎ Howard I. Maibach (Editor) “Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Fourth Edition.” CRC Press; 4 edition (April 9, 2014), ISBN-13: 978-1842145647; ISBN-10: 1842145649

Teaching methods

The course is based both on classroom lectures (56 hours) and on laboratory practice (30 hours).

Classroom teaching will address systematic learning of the ingredients used in cosmetic formulation based on their function, along with the principles of cosmetic formulation. The teacher will stimulate critical discussion and active participation of students. Lab work will be both individual and based on collaborative work by small groups of students, under the supervision of the teacher. In addition, students will be directed toward the use of free professional databases available on-line to seek for INCI nomenclature ant functions of the cosmetic ingredients, so to undertake individual study that will complement the teaching received during classroom and laboratory work.

The course also includes guided visits to industrial production plants, if this will be allowed by Publich Health situation (e.g. COVID related restrictions).

Assessment methods

Learning will be assessed by a final oral examination on the course content. The final mark will also take into account the attendance and active participation of students in laboratory work. Attending and participating to minimum 80% of lab activities is mandatory to be admitted to the final examination. Learning from laboratory experience will be assessed through a written final report that each student will be asked to prepare at the end of the course and to submit to the teacher a few days in advance with respect of the date of the oral exam. The report will be evaluated (min 18/30 to pass) and that mark will represent the basis for the final mark, which can be increased or diminished, depending on the outcome of the oral examination. Insufficient performance at the oral examination will cause failing the exam even in the presence of a good evaluation in the lab report. In such an event the oral exam will have to be repeated; however, the lab report will remain valid for unlimited time until the oral exam has been passed.

Teaching tools

Copy of the slides used during the lectures and of lab manuals will be provided via the portal Insegnamenti On Line (https://iol.unibo.it/). The students will be illustrated professional free-access databases available on-line for individual complementary learning.

Office hours

See the website of Luca Valgimigli

See the website of Demetra Giuri