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Ru En Teh knew that she wanted to pursue a career in beauty from an early age. After growing up in Malaysia she pursued her dream, studying beauty and science in Singapore and Melbourne, and then moved to the UK to study MSc Cosmetic Science at London College of Fashion. She has since worked as a marketing executive in the beauty industry and now is a sales account manager for Sensient Cosmetic Technologies in Singapore.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in cosmetics?
Yes. I always knew that I wanted to pursue my career in the beauty industry. Before studying MSc Cometic Science, I spent 3 years studying for my Diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetic Science at Singapore Polytechnic and another 2 years of BSc of Science (major Chemistry) at Melbourne University.
I believe beauty is for all and I have see how cosmetic products are able to enhance the living and the self-esteem of people. Hence why I am passionate about this industry. I am determined to learn as much as I can in order to contribute to bring beauty to people’s life.
Why did you choose to study at LCF? What attracted you about this university?
I choose to study at LCF because it is a fashion oriented university. Cosmetic science is not just about the science behind the formulation, yet it is highly related to the trend of fashion. Most of the time colour cosmetics are formulated based on runway trends. Studying at LCF allowed students to have more exposure to fashion and market trends. In addition, LCF is located at the heart of London which is the stage to showcase all the latest trends. It is a very happening university and being located in Oxford Street meant my student life was never boring!
Why did you decide to study MSc Cosmetic Science?
MSc Cosmetic Science not only provided the knowledge of cosmetic science, but also had lots of practical and hands on projects as part of the course. It prepared the student with the technical knowledge, laboratory and research skills that are essential in the cosmetic industry.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
We had the opportunity to collaborate with design students to create an event or cosmetic and fragrance products to showcase in the LCF fashion shows or art exhibitions.
About your final project: Which topic did you explore and why did you choose it?
I focused on the cross-modal effect of type of fragrance on the sensory perception of hair leave-in conditioner and the effect of silicon co-polymer on keratin fibres.
I choose it because I love fragrance creation.I created a floral and green fragrances and explored how different classes of fragrances can influence the perception and mood of the consumers when they purchase a product. It’s interesting to study about consumer behaviour and innovate products that cater to their needs and wants. In addition, hair morphology was a new area for me to explore. Hence, I decided to take on the challenge to study it.
The research process was very intensive. We had to complete the research within a limited time frame. I still can vividly remember how I completed my fragrance creation in two weeks time and spent months in the lab studying about the tensile strength and compatibiltiy of hair. However, I enjoyed every moment I spent in the lab and all the hard work paid off when my project got published in Cosmetic and Toiletries magazine and showcased at IFSCC Munich Congress. The knowledge and skills that I have learnt are so useful and memorable and I have been able to apply them in my current job too.
What was the best piece of advice you received from a lecturer during your time at LCF?
Think creatively. Think out of the box. Always step out from your comfort zone to take the challenge and discover something new. You will realise you have unlimited potential.
What have you been working on since finishing your course?
After graduating, I have been working as a marketing executive in beauty industry for 6 months and eventually landed my job as a sales account managerat Sensient Cosmetic Technologies, Singapore. Currently, I am managing Asian regions including Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
For you, what's the best thing about your job?
Travelling around Asia and utilising the science and technical knowledge that I have learned, to share the latest innovation of cosmetic ingredients with my clients.
It’s fun especially when you are able to see the culture and product preference of clients from different regions. Meeting new people and seeing how people benefit from the innovation is my greatest satisfaction.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I am developing natural lipsticks using natural pigments extracted from fruit and vegetables. Is pretty fun and it could be an edible lipstick.
What are your plans for the next few years? Where would you like to see yourself professionally?
Non-stop learning about cosmetic innovation and technologies. Attending seminars and exhibitions learning about the trends around the globe. I would like to do more research and share my findings that could benefit consumers and the industry.
What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol on MSc Cosmetic Science?
If you love science innovation and are passionate about bringing beauty into people's lives, this is the course for you. Don’t miss any chance to participate in industry events and collaborate with students from other departments.