LCF alumna Aimee Nottingham started her first professional steps into the cosmetic industry during her first year at the MSc Cosmetic Science. Since then, her skillset and knowledge of cosmetics grew so much that she ended up catching the attention of Bulldog, the male skincare brand she's currently working for.
We recently met with Aimee at Bulldog's headquarters in London to find out what she's been up to since graduating from LCF, and learn more about the rapidly growing market of male skincare products.
Hi Aimee! Thanks for receiving us in your lab. Did you always know you'd end up working in the cosmetic industry?
I've always loved science! After finishing my school years in France, where I'm from, I had a little look to see what courses were available around the world, especially in the UK as I was fluent in English. After long sessions searching in Google, I found the Cosmetic Science course at LCF. I came for the induction day, where I got to make a shampoo, and I loved it! I went back home and applied for it straight away.
What was your first impression of the MSc Cosmetic Science?
It was very different to what I was doing in France, because back home it was all about performance, so it was very high-level scientific studies. Here at LCF it was a complete different approach — you learn about the industry and so many different subjects, which I really loved. At the end of my first year I got my first step into the industry, working as a lab technician for another LCF alumna who had started her own company, Smink Limited.
The best thing about this course is that they constantly bring experts from the industry, which added to having super knowledgeable lecturers gives you a great insight into the cosmetic industry.
Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do after finishing the MSc?
Because I always loved science, I thought I would end up working in a lab, but this course made me see all the different opportunities you can access after graduating. Before coming to LCF I didn’t know much about the business side of cosmetic brands, and I didn’t think it was something I could do, but the MSc gave me that extra knowledge which made me realise how interesting the brand and marketing side of the industry is.
You now work as New Product Development Manager for Bulldog Skincare. How did you get the opportunity to work with this brand?
I started working at Bulldog while I was still at uni, when one of the founders approached me with the opportunity of working for the brand, so the transition from uni into the real world was very smooth for me! I started as a technical assistant, and once I graduated I was able to take ownership of more projects and therefore more responsibility, and that’s when I got the position that I'm in now.
Based on that experience, how do you think current students can attract the attention of potential brands they would like to work for?
There's a lot going on in LinkedIn for the cosmetic industry in the UK, so definitely have your profile on point - sharing what you’ve achieved, your knowledge and your interests really helps. That’s how I got recruited for this job, through LinkedIn.
What do you do in your role at Bulldog?
I manage all the day to day of different product development projects. On the early days, I would be working in the lab on some product formulation; then, once we pass concept stage, I’ll be talking to the manufacturers, liaising with ingredient suppliers, choosing the packaging, looking at regulatory compliance… everything from A to Z!
There are lots of brands in the market that target the male consumer, but what do you think makes Bulldog stand out?
Lots of those brands do mainly black or blue packaging, but our white branding stands out really well on the shelves. Also, I think what makes Bulldog different is that we try to be simple and straight forward, and this works really well with consumers.
One of our brand values is ‘we do the right thing’ which means we try to make the right choices when it comes to packaging or ingredients, and that’s another aspect that’s quite unique within the male side of the industry.
As a cosmetic scientist, can you explain why do brands make separate products for men and women?
Generally speaking, men’s skin is slightly thicker than women’s skin, and it can also produce more sebum. In terms of cream textures, for example, that’s something we have to keep in mind when we’re formulating for male skin. Bulldog’s moisturisers have a really light texture, they’re not greasy or sticky, and we also make milder face washes and cleansers that don’t stimulate the production of oils.
Women have traditionally been more into skincare and cosmetics than men. Have you seen a growing interest in the male market more recently?
Yeah, we can definitely can see it’s a growing trend, especially with the younger generations!
We also have a lot of male consumers who want to know how to use a product, so our job is also about educating them and helping them along the way with their skincare routine. We’re always happy to give advice through our blog and social media.
An example of what Aimee mentions, of how Bulldog is trying to educate male consumers about their skincare
Another big trend, especially on social media, is the conversation around the use of natural or clean ingredients in cosmetics. What are your thoughts on this?
It’s definitely a hot topic right now! A lot of brands have a black list of products they don’t use, but at Bulldog we have a more positive approach to this. We review each ingredient and we decide whether or not to use it, which means you have more information to give out if consumers ask why we work with certain ingredients.
Consumers may read an article in a magazine or see a post by an influencer on social media talking about “bad ingredients” and they think that’s the truth. This harms the industry because the public are not receiving the correct information, and they might end up making misinformed decisions.