Gurpreet Kaur Durhailay

Tell us a bit about yourself Gurpreet!

I have just graduated from the BSc Cosmetic Science (now an integrated MSc, with a BSc exit point). I also participated in the summer "Not Just Lipstick" programme which enables A-Level students to see, first-hand, what the course is all about and what is required of them to apply to the course.

Why did you want to study Cosmetic Science at LCF?

I initially wanted to go into fashion design and took the Foundation Diploma course at LCF. After this course, I felt that I needed something more challenging for me. I did two part-time courses at LCF, one of which was in promotional make up, which I really enjoyed and made me feel that I wanted to learn more about the cosmetics industry. 

I wanted to discover how cosmetic and toiletries products were actually formulated. I found this course on the University website which made it sound very appealing to me. I decided to apply but was a bit worried as I did not have a chemistry A level and had not really heard much about the course before. I was accepted for an interview and it was suggested that I take the summer chemistry course. After passing that, I was then accepted onto the course.

Did you go on the placement year?

I didn't do a full year in industry, but worked part-time while I studied. Student Careers helped me apply for jobs and work experience.

How did LCF Careers help you?

They arranged preparation talks and sessions, where we received training on how to write a CV and perform well in different types of interviews. All the tutors were really encouraging and helpful throughout the whole process.

Did the course live up to your expectations?

I would say it has exceeded my expectations, I have learnt so many valuable key skills to help in making a career for myself after I graduate. From knowledge of raw materials, different types of suppliers, the operation systems, quality controls, formulations Research & Development legislations, marketing, packaging design, statistics- the list goes on.

What was been the best part of the course?

I would say the best part for me has been the perfumery modules in the first and second years. I mostly enjoyed decorative cosmetics and formulations, as I found that I am more of a practical type of person. I also enjoyed being able to carry through my own idea for my dissertation, with the support of staff and technicians.

What is the mix between theory and practical work on the course?

There is a balance between theory and practical sessions, so you never feel pressured with just written work, although a lot of the practical work is marked through written evaluative assignments.

What's next for you?

I have decided to go into further study and enrol on the PGC-HE course in teaching, which I believe will help develop my communication and team-leading skills further.

What or who inspires you most?

That's a difficult one. I'd say speaking to past students and staff who have had experience in working in the industry.

Any tips for our current and future students?

I recommend doing a placement year, I regret not doing it myself. Gaining experience in industry can really help you to secure a decent job after graduation. Not only that, but the placement year will help you in the final year, making it much easier to carry out your final project. Also, try to make as many contacts as you can whilst at LCF. 

Most of all, make sure you pay attention in all the classes, because they are truly valuable skills that you will learn and apply.

If you had to sum up London in five words what would they be?

Fun, fashionable, exciting, competitive and fast-paced.

So the big questions - do you think expensive anti-aging creams are worth the money?

Well, that really depends on what you want to achieve. New technology can help the anti-aging process, but cannot turn back time. That would then become a pharmaceutical product by legal requirements. Creams may be expensive due to raw ingredients used, which may be hard to source and in limited supply.

Has your approach to buying cosmetics changed since you started this course?

Yes, I am more aware of the science behind the cream and tend to appreciate the effort some companies have to go through to get new products on the shelf.

What's the most valuable advice you've been given?

"Conquer your mind, Conquer the world"