Six London College of Fashion MSc Cosmetic Science students recently received awards at the annual Cosmetic Toiletries and Perfumery Association (CTPA) ceremony which celebrates future cosmetic scientists.
LCF News caught up with final year student Jasmine Lim, who won an Best Placement Report at this year’s award. Jasmine discussed her experience, what she did during her year out, and what winning the award means to her.
What did you study before MSc Cosmetic Science and where?
I studied Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics at A-level at Saint Cecilia’s sixth form school in Wandsworth, South West London.
What made you want to study MSc Cosmetic Science?
My initial interest in cosmetics and skin care came from magazines in my early teenage years. I found articles, reviews and adverts about new skincare products together with the latest colour cosmetics fascinating. I was eager to learn more about how they worked. I wanted to learn everything that is relevant to the cosmetics industry from a specialised course. I didn’t want to study a few units which could possibly be relevant to it from a more general course such as Pharmacy.
What’s the position of science in fashion?
Science is an integral part of the fashion industry and many don’t realise that! From the engineer who designs new materials using a new polymer, to the perfumers and cosmetic scientists who formulate the fine fragrances and make up that is used to create unique looks and concepts. All of which require science and technology, which fits so seamlessly into fashion, that it becomes unnoticeable.
MSc Cosmetic Science are encouraged to take placement years, where did you take yours, and what was your role there?
I did my placement year in Singapore, South East Asia, in a company called Symrise who are a fragrance and raw flavour material supplier. I worked in the Quality Control department as a laboratory administrative assistant in fragrance raw materials.
What did you learn during your placement?
I learnt a great deal during my placement year, not just professionally but personally as well. I improved my lab skills by having to work in one every day. I also developed my sensory skills, learning to smell and pick up differences between raw materials over time and natural trends of products. I also learnt how to time manage and team working skills. Learning about gas chromatography and its role in the industry was something that was a big part of my placement year. I was taught how to use the machine and troubleshoot some of the other machines that were used in the department.
For my personal development, obviously moving to Singapore was a big change. I had to adapt to culture and learn how to communicate effectively. I needed to improve my social skills to make new friends so I could fit into a new country. I also developed a new interest in vlogging (video logging) and started my own YouTube channel (follow me on ThisIsMeJazzyL). I set myself a 52-week challenge and every week I put out a video about my week in Singapore as a way for my UK friends get updated and keep up with me. This is something that enjoyed and I am still continuing to vlog even after my placement year.
What was a daily schedule at your placement like?
My daily schedule consisted of carrying out tests on the materials that the warehouse would send us on incoming raw materials. This included instrumental testing using machines such as the gas chromatography and titration machines, as well as carrying out sensory evaluation of the raw materials. Samples would come in twice a day and we would have to manage our time effectively around those deliveries. I would also help out with some troubleshooting for materials which were out of specification to try and understand the cause of the deviations.
You won the CTPA Awards for your placement year project report, congratulations. How does it feel and will you use the bursary for anything specific?
Thank you very much! I feel very blessed and proud to receive this award again. I hope to use the bursary to fund my upcoming exchange to Laurea University in Finland. I plan to continue my third year product launch project work with a group of other students. It is expected to be a rewarding experience as well as a fun one!
What three bits of advice would you give to any prospective students thinking of studying MSc Cosmetic Science?
I would say study hard to ensure that you get the best head start when beginning the course. Don’t think it is just about beauty! Many people have misconceptions about the course, but it is really a scientifically based course with excellent teaching and resources. Prepare and research the course, come with questions for your interview but don’t be too nervous, the lecturers won’t bite I promise!
Where would you like to work after graduating?
I would like to work in perfumery, possibly as a fragrance evaluator or in New Product Development.
What do you think the cosmetic science industry will look like in five years?
I think it will be more personalised in five years’ time. With the advancing technology I believe the industry could move towards personalised cosmetics incorporating the use of apps to help “design” a product that suits you and tracks any changes as well. I think it is definitely due to grow drastically with the men’s personal grooming sector increasing as well. I am excited to see what the next few years will bring!