My name is Bethany Dean, 22, and I’m originally from Blackburn in Lancashire. Growing up I really wanted to become a Beauty Therapist, so got a Saturday job at a beauty spa while I was at secondary school, which I really enjoyed. However, I also had a real interest in science and went on to take chemistry and biology at A-Level along with textiles to incorporate my art and design side. I wanted to combine the two and really push myself to go BIG! It was actually my mum who came across MSc Cosmetic Science and as soon as I saw it I was like – yes! This is me!
Thankfully I was offered a place on the course and haven’t looked back since! Cosmetic Science is much about the science of the raw materials and how their combined behaviours contribute to the characteristics of the finished product on the shelf of which I find so exciting. I personally love to play around with makeup and can happily sit and paint my face in the mirror for hours. The fact that this course teaches you how to formulate these cosmetics and develop them from merely an idea into a finished product being sold on the market is fascinating.
During my third year, I took the opportunity to go on placement and work in the industry for a year. This was the best decision I’ve ever made! I went to work for a cosmetic design and manufacturing company called Amelia Knight in Knutsford, Cheshire. I worked as a Technical Assistant and dealt with technical and quality control issues and helped write the ingredients lists for products and also checked artwork was compliant to the cosmetic regulations. I also had to review many different benchmark products from the market which meant I could play around with luxury and expensive products to see whether it was something we could develop or take ideas from.
I would also review the ingredients list to give an idea of how the product was made and relay any information to our factory before they began formulating as well as writing product specifications, reviewing technical documents, creating product information files (PIFs) and registering formulations imported into the EU. My working day was never quiet and I was always learning new things, which helped my understanding of the industry develop.
I developed great relationships with many of my colleagues and will treasure their friendships for a long time, so this was not just an academic experience. We had to complete a project during our placement year to achieve a diploma in professional studies. I based my project on the stability of liquid lipstick formulations, which linked to an ongoing project I was working on for the company.
When returning to LCF the following year, we were asked to give a presentation on our projects and placement year as a whole at the course Industry Day – which was a huge success. I had the privilege of receiving the Placement Year Award, however, this was a challenge for all of my peers and this was really a group effort to support each other through quite a nerve-wracking experience.
Not only did this presentation push me to be more confident in front of large audiences, but it has also opened the doors to new opportunities that would have not come around otherwise. Networking with professionals from the cosmetic science industry, I was extremely lucky to secure an interview for a leading cosmetic manufacturing company the following day. I have now secured an internship with United Cosmetics as Product Development Assistant, which is enriching my learning experience further in between studying at LCF.
I couldn’t recommend going on placement more as this has had a huge impact on my professional development and has given me the enthusiasm to get out there and work in the cosmetic science industry first hand.
The cosmetic science industry is advancing into a new age of design perfection. I am sure that in five years time there could be many more exciting technologies such as colour changing makeup to adapt to our moods, anti-ageing serums which will dramatically impact the ageing process more than they do today and SPF creams which will protect our skin more than ever and radically reduce the levels of skin cancer. Currently, there is ongoing research and development at lightening speed so I think my future within this industry will be an exciting one.
It’s tricky to define five-set rules or pieces of advice all MSc Cosmetic Science students should know, however, for me I feel that it is important to know the definition of a cosmetic product, the difference between a cosmetic and a medicine (because it is very easy to drift into illegal waters when you start claiming ‘treating and healing’), to be able to work within the cosmetic regulation boundaries but to still be creative, to be able to keep up with the fast pace market as fashions are changing all the time, and to be able to predict up and coming trends to remain a market leader.
I am not quite sure what direction to go in after I graduation and whether to stay and work in London, or whether to move back up North, but I do know that my passion will always remain in cosmetic science. A cosmetic scientists’ dream is to launch a successful and innovative product(s) so I will continue to broaden my experience and knowledge within this industry and hopefully, one day, I will get this opportunity and become a success.
Many people do not put science and fashion in the same bracket and I think this is because science is predominately associated with medical technology and space etc. and fashion is considered to be about design, personality, individuality and expressing emotions through image, but I think these are much more related than people think. Science is also creative and enables new exciting colours and formulations to be made to accentuate people’s features and give everyone opportunity to change or enhance their appearance how they desire.
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