Student Course Review: Product Development & Formulations for Personal Care Science


The Product Development & Formulations for Personal Care Science course is a core course under the Personal Care concentration offered through the MBS program at Rutgers University. Dr. Ricardo Diez, who has more than 35 years of experience in Personal Care, teaches this class and imparts his wisdom unto the many students who have had the amazing opportunity to attend his class. I was able to register for his class this spring and I have learnt a great deal about the personal care world and all the opportunities out there for young scientists like myself. This class was very informative and interactive, as Dr. Diez took us through the timeline of the industry. He was able to share knowledge from both sides of this industry because he worked on both the ingredient supplier side (Miranol, Stepan) as well as the finished goods side (Procter & Gamble, Dial Corp, Chanel)


To help teach the class, Dr. Diez enlisted the help of two of his former students to serve as teaching assistants. This enhanced the class experience because our teaching assistants graduated from the MBS program and now work in industry at L’Oreal. So, they were able to share their experience and guide us appropriately. The class was split into two sections: Rinse-off and Leave-on, as these are the two major sectors of the industry. The Rinse-off section focused on cleansers whether it was body wash, hand wash to more complex facial cleansers. This section showed how cleansing evolved from soap in the 1930’s to the surfactant technology we know now. The Leave-on section dealt with basic lotions and creams to intricate formulations of products that give great benefits. This is where we were exposed to the term “anti” whether it was anti-wrinkle or anti- aging; it was all about having well-made products that would deliver great value to the skin.


At the end of this class we were all able to read the labels of cosmetic products and know what each ingredient did. We were given great information on the progression of the industry and we were able to have fun doing it. This class helped the inexperienced to the experienced cosmetic scientist gain new appreciation for formulation, research and development and even marketing. The details Dr. Diez would share with us could not be found in any published textbooks or journals; so I definitely believe that this was an invaluable class. According to Dr. Deborah Silver, the Director of the MBS program, “Dr. Diez brings a wealth of scientific knowledge, industry experience, and good dose of humor to his class. We are fortunate to have such an inspiring professor here to help guide our students into careers in personal care science.” 

Key Lessons Learned

  • Its much better to understand the fundamental science and build on that to create products of value
  • Being a formulator is not just about empirical mixing
  • Programs like the MBS give students an edge in the Personal Care Science industry