Interpret the chemical composition and physical actions of cosmetic products

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to interpret the cosmetic chemistry and physical actions of products in order to offer accurate advice and achieve positive treatment outcomes for clients in beauty therapy treatments.


Cosmetic products are selected and used in the design and application of hand and foot treatments, facial treatments and body treatments in order to achieve agreed treatment outcomes.

This unit applies to beauty therapists exercising judgement in planning and selecting appropriate products, services, equipment and techniques.



Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1 Apply knowledge of cosmetic chemistry to beauty therapy treatments.

1.1 Identify relevant concepts of cosmetic chemistry and apply to the design and performance of beauty therapy treatments according to relevant legislation and workplace policies and procedures.

1.2 Assess range of organic chemistry and relate to beauty therapy treatments.

1.3 Relate percutaneous absorption and role of the skin in acting as a barrier while allowing the passage of chemicals used in beauty therapy treatments.

2 Apply knowledge of cosmetic products to beauty therapy treatments.

2.1 Assess the function of chemical formulations from range of cosmetic emulsions in relation to action on the skin.

2.2 Assess formulation, function and action of range of cosmetic ingredients in relation to action on the skin.

2.3 Assess formulation of range of beauty therapy products in relation to purpose and action on the skin.

2.4 Assess environmental impact of ingredients in range of beauty therapy products.

2.5 Identify contraindications to the use of some products as they relate to client health and treatment outcomes.

3 Select products to complement beauty therapy treatments.

3.1 Apply knowledge of cosmetic chemistry to beauty therapy treatments to maximise positive outcomes.

3.2 Recognise skin problems or requirements and select cosmetic products based on product formulation, function and action to complement range of beauty therapy treatments.

3.3 Apply the relevant principles of cosmetic chemistry in provision of post-treatmentcare and advice.

Required Skills

Required skills

The following skills must be assessed as part of this unit:

technical skills to:

apply cosmetic chemistry knowledge to the design and performance of beauty therapy treatments

respond to a range of situations involving use of cosmetic chemicals

identify client characteristics, and recommend and perform a service, including:

preparation of service area

preparation of products and equipment

preparation of client

literacy skills to source, read, comprehend and apply relevant information to evaluate potential chemical and physical actions of cosmetic products when designing beauty treatments

communication skills to translate information on actions of products and treatments when providing advice, responding to questions, and providing information and reassurance to clients on beauty therapy treatments or home-care products.

Required knowledge

The following knowledge must be assessed as part of this unit:

relevant occupational health and safety regulations and requirements

principles of cosmetic chemistry as they relate to beauty therapy treatments

workplace policies and procedures in regard to beauty therapy treatments

cosmetic chemistry in relation to beauty therapy treatments and procedures, including:

chemical concepts for cosmetic products and skin treatments

range of organic chemistry applicable to cosmetic chemistry

percutaneous absorption

chemical formulation of range of cosmetic emulsions in relation to function on skin

formulation and functions of basic compositions of facial masks and make-up

formulation, function and action of cosmetic ingredients on skin

impact of cosmetic ingredients on environment

formulation and function of facial peels and exfoliants

provision of post-treatment care and advice

workplace product, treatment and equipment range, and manufacturer instructions and material safety data sheets.

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the following is essential:

applying the principles of cosmetic chemistry in beauty therapy treatments, including:

chemical concepts for cosmetic products and skin treatments

range of organic chemistry applicable to cosmetic chemistry

percutaneous absorption

chemical formulation of range of cosmetic emulsions in relation to their function on skin

formulation and functions of basic compositions of facial masks and make-up

formulation, function and action of cosmetic ingredients on skin

formulation and function of facial peels and exfoliants

provision of post-treatment care and advice

applying a range of beauty therapy treatments, using a variety of techniques and procedures involving cosmetic products

accurately and legibly recording relevant data.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

that competency is consistently demonstrated over a period of time and observed by the assessor or the technical expert working in partnership with the assessor as described in the Assessment Guidelines

that competency is demonstrated in the workplace or a simulated workplace environment in a range of real work situations which may include client interruptions and involvement in other related activities normally expected in the workplace.

Assessment must ensure access to:

text and online resources

treatment products from a professional range

relevant workplace documentation including:

manufacturer's equipment instructions

product instructions

manufacturer safety data sheets

workplace policies and procedures manuals

a range of clients with different beauty treatment requirements.

For further guidance on the use of an appropriate simulated environment, refer to the Assessment Guidelines in this Training Package.

Methods of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

observation of learners performing a range of tasks in the workplace or a simulated work environment, over sufficient time to demonstrate handling of a range of contingencies, including:

identifying the concepts of cosmetic chemistry and developing and maintaining safe work practices

relating principles of cosmetic chemistry to a variety of treatment processes, according to client and safety requirements

written and oral questioning appropriate to the language and literacy level of the learner, to assess knowledge and understanding of the application of cosmetic chemistry to the performance of beauty therapy treatments, including after-care advice and relevant legislation

completion of workplace documentation relevant to beauty therapy treatments

third-party reports from technical experts.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

SIBBBOS402A Provide body treatments

SIBBCCS301A Apply the principles of skin biology to beauty treatments

SIBBCCS404A Work in a skin therapies framework

SIBBCCS405A Develop treatment plans

SIBBFAS405A Provide advanced facial treatments.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Concepts of cosmetic chemistry may include:





chemical compounds


chemical change

neutralisation and buffering

organic chemistry

chemical reactions

acids and bases and their effect on human health.

Relevant legislation may include:

federal, state or territory, and local health and hygiene regulations

occupational health and safety.

Workplace policies and procedures may include:

health and hygiene

comfort and privacy

designated time frames for the completion of service

quality assurance.

Organic chemistry may include:

carbon structures

bonds between carbon structures

saturated and unsaturated bonds

types of organic chemicals

major skin chemicals


soluble and insoluble proteins




common fatty acids

complex lipids:



Percutaneous absorption may include:

skin as a barrier

skin and the percutaneous absorption process

absorption pathways

rates of penetration

use of vehicles or carriers

measuring percutaneous absorption

bioavailability and biological activity



actions of cosmeceutical products.

Cosmetic emulsions may include:

types of emulsions:

simple emulsions

complex emulsions




types of humectants, including:





natural moisturising factor (NMF)

glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)




non-organic oils



Cosmetic ingredients may include:


liposome structure

types of liposomes:



uses of liposomes


semisolid emollients

polyethylene glycols (PEGs)




Range of beauty therapy products may include:

types of face masks:







fruit and vegetable preparations

facial and body powders:

slip powders

covering powders

absorbency powders




emollients and waterproofing agents

dispersant agents



eye make-up:

block mascara made from wax, soap, and pigment

cream mascara made from pigment, cold cream or a vanishing cream base

liquid mascara made from alcohol and resin solutions

eyeshadows and eyeliners:

anhydrous creams


wax crayon

pressed powders

liquid suspensions made from pigment dispersion in oil, gum or alcohol

colour in cosmetics:




colour interaction

colour regulation

colour codes.

Contraindications may include:

manufacturers' product-specific contraindications based on:

skin type

skin conditions

skin disorders

known allergic reactions.

Provision of post-treatment care and advice may include:

lifestyle changes:

sun protection

skin care

effects of nutrition on skin and hair

product advice

advice on further services.



Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.