Introduction to Cosmetic Science: From Short Course to Degree
We had a chat with short course student Christian Oliver, who took our Introduction to Cosmetic Science course in 2018. He is now on his way to becoming a full time student at LCF, on the MSc Cosmetic Science course. Read about his journey below.
Tell us a little bit about your background and why you decided to study this course?
Like a lot of students I had no idea what I wanted to do for a really long time. I just kept going from course to course. I did photography for 2 years. Towards the end of my photography course I found the Cosmetic Science MSc degree course. That was in 2015 but it turned out I was way too late as I applied in February and all the places were filled.
I went on to study Foundation Art & Design because that was one of the requirements for the MSc at the time, however they have recently changed the requirements. So I did the Foundation and applied again but this time I didn’t meet the requirements. I thought this is it now, I really need to try and do it. I found the short course Introduction to Cosmetic Science, and I had a great time on that, I made a good friend. It was a really fun week. It was a really nice place to be. After speaking to the tutor Diogo, he advised me to do an Access course. I researched access courses and I forwarded them on to Diogo and he then picked out the one that would best fit the course requirements. And that’s what I’m doing now.
And how did you find the short course?
I wasn’t sure what to expect because, being very artistic and not so intellectual, I was a bit worried about the science part of it because it is very science based but it was actually fine. They worded it so I understood it but also the people who were more scientific still got challenged by it. It was very well done.
Do you need to have a chemistry qualification?
Yeah that’s where I was lacking. I’m working really hard this year to get that down. I'm studying an access course so it’s very independent. I haven’t really done an independent course before and it’s a way of learning that I haven’t really done before but really works for me.
You studied photography and an art Foundation, so you’re coming from a very creative angle to this course, how do you join up the science side of it to the creativity or do you find the science quite creative as well?
Yeah that’s pretty much what I spoke about in my personal statement, I just found the whole concept of cosmetic science is where science and art meets, it’s where they intertwine and it’s all the product development in itself is an art. It’s all art really, it’s just a more intellectual art.
And what made you take the Introduction to Cosmetic Science short course?
Just to get a taste of it really. I thought if this is really what I want to do then I’m going to take this opportunity, and I had savings so I just booked it straight away on the day I found it. I thought it would really set what I wanted to do in stone.
Why did you choose to study at LCF rather than learning online or going elsewhere in the UK?
I’d done the UAL photography and the UAL Foundation at South Essex College where they teach UAL. I’d seen so many of my friends go off to University, and I ended up being the only one left in my hometown. I really wanted to experience university and doing the short course has made me want it even more because I loved being here (at LCF) and I want to explore it more.
What did you enjoy most about the short course?
Probably the production aspect of making things….we made so many amazing products and I didn’t realise how easy it can be when you have all the right equipment. We made lipstick, eyeshadow, emulsion so moisturisers and sunscreens and creams, it was really cool, really fun.
Did it demystify what goes in to making a product?
My friend and I got paired up to make these products, and we kept referring back to how it was like making a cake, we had all the ingredients, we had a recipe and then you just follow it and at the end you have a product, it was really incredible.
You mentioned you got some really good help from the course tutors, how did you find the teaching in general?
They’re all really nice. I mean I didn’t know what to expect from a University lecturer but they are really relaxed, they will help you, they will stay behind on their breaks, they’re happy to do whatever. And Diogo even told us to add him on LinkedIn and he was willing to answer questions after the course.
You’re going on to do the Msc which is a BA and Masters combined, so it’s 4 or 5 years?
5 years with a placement, yeah. I was already pretty committed to doing the degree but the short course definitely did solidify it for me.
Where do you hope your education will take you when you finish?
In my head I have a rough plan to just work in the cosmetic industry and just gain as much knowledge and experience as I can and eventually I hope to have my own fragrance company. I’m excited to learn about perfume.
Who would you recommend the short course to?
Most people on the course were people coming from different areas of the world trying to do a career change or get more knowledge because you get knowledge about the cosmetics legislation on top of the product development, so it is the business side as well as the product side. There were also people like me who wanted to do the degree but wanted to get an idea of it. So for people like me, if you’re not 100% sure on what you want to do but you like the sound of cosmetic science or working behind the scenes in the cosmetic industry I’d recommend the course to you because that’s how it helped me. You want to be sure, you don’t want to go to university for 5 years not knowing what you want to do. You don’t want to rush into something.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Well I’d say if you want to do it, just go for it! It’s taken a lot of hard work to get this offer (for the degree course) and if you want to do it, do it. If you don’t have your heart in it then just keep doing other things until you know what you want to do.