The Society of Cosmetic Scientists (SCS) has awarded Elizaveta Luneva and Claira Peh, recent graduates from MSc Cosmetic Science, with the Young Talent prize for their final research projects. The two LCF grads presented their posters during the 'Showcasing Young Talent' session at the SCS Naturals Conference, celebrated in Manchester this summer. We had a chat with them to find out more about how this experience has brought new opportunities to their careers after graduating from LCF.
Hi Claira and Liza, congratulations for winning the SCS Young Talent prize! What does this achievement mean for you and your journey into the field of cosmetic science?
Claira: This achievement came to me like a 'pat on the shoulder' and reassured me I have done a great job on something that could be beneficial to the world of cosmetic science. It has also strengthened my confidence in working with rheology, which was the field I researched for my project, and reinforced my willingness to explore more!
Liza: It was a great honour to be able to showcase my work at a key cosmetic science event like this one, attended by so many industry representatives. The conference provided me with the opportunity to get my name out and network with peers, which is valuable for potential collaborations as well as postgraduate opportunities. It also makes a great addition to my CV.
Claira Peh at the SCS conference with Gabriela Daniels, Programme Director for science courses at LCF
Tell us a bit more about your research projects. Which topics did you explore?
Claira: With my final project, I wanted to replicate the rheological and textural profile of a widely used commercial polymer, Carbomer, using a combination of cosmos-certified hydrocolloids. Before my journey into this experiment, I was not completely familiar with the field of rheology at all, but I decided to undertake this study to challenge myself and prove that I can do anything as long as I give it my best shot and hard work.
Liza: The aim of my MSc project was to determine the protective effects of certain natural oils compared to silicones on virgin Caucasian and African hair. Our hair is constantly exposed to physical stresses due to washing, combing and heat styling; as a consequence of these activities, hair undergoes structural alterations and becomes weakened, so protecting hair with cosmetic treatments is important to maintain healthy appearance.
How did you find the experience of attending this conference? Would you encourage other students to participate in future years?
Claira: The SCS Naturals Conference has been an eye-opener for me, and being part of it gave me a sense of belonging to the cosmetic science family. There is always so much to learn, and for me to be updated on the current trends and technologies. I also had the chance to network with other attendants, which definitely left me with several name cards and contacts.
I would certainly encourage other students and peers to attend the conference — it's not every day that we get to be exposed to experts from various countries and companies, sharing different opinions and insights that may be helpful for your personal and professional growth.
Liza: This was actually my third time at the SCS conference, and every single one has been a great experience! Not only do you get to hear from leaders in the field about innovation, new developments, key challenges and changes in the industry, but you also get the chance to network and showcase your work. I would definitely recommend attending and presenting at this conference as it helps you grow professionally and gives you a new challenge.
Elizaveta Luneva presenting her research poster at the SCS conference
What are your plans now that you've finished the MSc?
Claira: I plan to work as an R&D formulator in the personal care industry. I would also like to continue expanding my work on my Master's project, to create a clear gel that would possess carbomer-like properties, rheology wise. Clarity is something that is lacking in the hydrogels of certain natural hydrocolloids, and creating one might be a breakthrough in the industry, especially when dealing with natural formulations.
Liza: I have already received an offer from a contract manufacturer of cosmetics to work with their team as a Regulatory Technologist. I'm looking forward to starting the role and putting the knowledge I have acquired at university into use, as well as gaining more experience. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to present my MSc project work.
What piece of advice would you give to current Cosmetic Sciene students doing their final project?
Claira: Trust your gut, and always believe in yourself! Do not be too pressurised if your study doesn't go in the way that was planned; sometimes the challenges may reveal unexpected results that may lead to something more. Always stay optimistic!
Liza: One piece of advice I would like to give to current students is to create a timeline for your project and try to stick to it.
Make sure to start early, organise your research and give yourself plenty of time to check over your work at the end. Also, don’t forget to enjoy it as it is your final year at university!
Claira and Elizaveta with Merry Lord (far left), president of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, and Dr Elisabeth Dufton (centre), MSc Cosmetic Science alumna and winner of the Young Talent first prize