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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

How Do You Find a Chemist?

By February 22, 2009

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How do you find a chemist? That's a question I was asked via Facebook:
"Hi, Anne. I have no background in chemistry -- I barely passed the subject in HS -- but I have an idea for a product that needs to be chemically formulated. How would you recommend someone begin the process of finding a chemist who's willing to develop a product? Feel free to use the question on your site. Thanks!"
Ways I might find a chemist would be:
  • I'd look up the e-mail or phone number of the chemistry department at the nearest college/university and contact a faculty member.
  • I'd post a query through an online forum.
  • I'd e-mail people involved in chemistry, asking for assistance in finding a reputable chemist.
Those are the places I would start, but I'm sure there are other ways to find a chemist or chemical engineer. How would you find one? You're invited to post a comment.


February 23, 2009 at 7:48 am
(1) Bruce says:

As a consulting formulating chemist (yep – it’s what I do) I’d suggest looking for a local chemical manufacturer – if they have their own chemist he/she will normally perform the role – providing you sub the production work to the manufacturer. If the manufacturer doesn’t have a site chemist he probably knows a local consultant.

Make sure whoever you choose as a consultant has a chemistry degree from a reputable university and, ideally, a production background in the type of product you are trying to make. The other thing is to expect to pay a reasonable fee – if the product is simple, the the fees should be fairly modest, but if the product is a “wish list” – especially one containing “unique” properties – you could wind up paying for a LOT of consulting time (and still not be satisfied with the outcome). A good chemist will reality check your ideas with you BEFORE the billing cycle starts.

May 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm
(2) Nevada says:

I have some products from the dermatoligist that are working {YaY!). I was charged close to $500 for them. I want to continue using, but not certain I can afford to, so I was thinking that if I knew the chemical or ‘real’ name I could get a prescription or create my own. One of them is labeled vitamin A 0.025 – I found to be the old school Retin-A. Do you think something like this is possible?

April 11, 2013 at 10:07 am
(3) Claire says:

Look online for the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), it helps to translate much of the gobble-dee-gook into things you’ve actually heard of. Otherwise, there are many websites devoted to prescription medicines that may shed some light on ingredients. Many of the best resources for health and beauty info is on pages from the UK and Europe as the EU has quite strict labeling and content laws. Also try to learn where the chemicals are derived from, you may find you can use natural extracts of the chemical sources instead of the refined stuff, often saving $$$$! Good luck!!

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