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Amber Duke-Cohan

Profession
MSc Cosmetic Science Alum
College
London College of Fashion
Person Type
Alumni
Amber Duke-Cohan
Amber  Duke-Cohan

Biography

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?

My name is Amber, I was born and raised in the Lake District but I’m currently based in Essex/London. I am a Quality Assurance Manager for Superdrug, managing own brand colour cosmetic and healthcare products (everything from our lipsticks to our paracetamol!)

My role pretty much involves all the technical and sciencey side of product development.

What have you been working on since graduating?

I have been working on a huge colour cosmetics range (almost 200 products) but this is not due to launch for some time yet, being such a huge project.

I graduated being qualified in all things cosmetics and since then, Superdrug have upskilled me to be able to manage their healthcare products. This was a huge opportunity to further my knowledge and I’m so pleased to be a part of a company that wants to continue to educate their employees.

What attracted you to LCF and why did you decide to study MSc Cosmetic Science?

My love for science and the beauty industry is combined within the MSc Cosmetic Science degree – it was a no brainer really. LCF was also a no-brainer due to its location (great for connections in the industry) and they were the only university at the time to offer an integrated masters for the Cosmetic Science degree.

Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in cosmetics?

I’ve always loved beauty and cosmetics, and science too, but as I was fairly academic I thought science was the best career choice… until I discovered the Cosmetic Science degree which combined the two perfectly.

What keeps you inspired?

My love for the beauty industry inspires and motivates me everyday. It’s a huge industry that’s ever evolving, there will never be a time where people don’t need skincare or oral care or haircare. It’s also so much fun to be involved behind the scenes, when your products make it to market and you see people buying and loving your makeup or skincare it’s so rewarding.

How have you maintained your creative practice during the pandemic?

My job keeps me incredibly busy, and I’m busier than usual working from home. It’s definitely a challenge but we’re making do. All my development samples get sent to my home address, so I now have a house full of every shade of lipstick you could ever need! We try to do all the usual creative stuff over teams and it’s not the same but as soon as it is safe to do so, I’ll be traveling to see our suppliers with my team again.

What are your plans for the next few years? Where would you like to see yourself professionally?

Professionally I’d love to still be doing what I’m doing now, because I love it, but in a more senior position. I’d also love to be managing someone and share all my knowledge. I’d love to manage someone like myself in a few years' time.

What did you enjoy the most about the course?

Can I say everything? The course prepared me so well for working in industry. It also gave me options, I could go into any area of my field and feel somewhat prepared – whether that be in the lab, marketing, perfumery, product development, everything was covered and it was amazing.

Can you tell us a bit about your favourite project completed on the course?

My favourite project was the PLP (Product Launch Project) in my 4th year. This brought all our learnings from the 4 years together in order to ‘launch’ a finished cosmetic product. It was great to see how everything we learnt came together.

The project I am most proud of however is my Master's Project and my dissertation on ‘The future prospects of personalised cosmetics using epigenetics.’ I presented this to Superdrug before I graduated and ultimately it is what enabled me to be upskilled to manage medicines and medical devices as well as cosmetics. I wouldn’t have been given that opportunity had I not presented about epigenetics during a team meeting. So, my dissertation earned me more than just a distinction, it gave my employer reason to upskill me further.

Best advice you received from a lecturer, tutor or technician during your time at LCF?

Stay connected! Everyone from the course goes off to different areas and companies within the industry and it really helps to know people, so stay in touch with friends. Sometimes it really is about who you know (and what you know).

What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol on this course?

Go for it and say yes to any and all opportunities. If you love science and beauty, there isn’t a better course for you. You are able to go into any area of the industry after this course, and the course is so well connected – the guest lecturers are top notch and I only wish I could go back and listen to it all again!