Sunday, July 14, 2024
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How I became a cosmetic scientist and technical director

Laura Kirkbride, 41, lives in Wensleydale in North Yorkshire. She works at Orean Personal Care in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, where she has been the technical director for the last 14 years.

I have been a cosmetic scientist for nearly 20 years now after graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2001 with a BSc in Chemistry.

I always preferred Science at school and went onto study Chemistry, Biology and Geography at A-Level before undertaking my degree course.

After my degree, and whilst working in my first job as a lab technician, I studied the Society of Cosmetic Scientists Diploma in Cosmetic Science.

What is a cosmetic scientist?

A cosmetic scientist is involved in the development, testing and launch of cosmetics.

Cosmetics are not just colour care makeup but include products such as skincare, haircare, bath and body, sun cream, oral care, deodorants and perfumes. In my day-to-day job, I lead our technical team.

We formulate (create the recipes) on behalf of many well-known private brands. We develop the formulations and test them to ensure they perform well. Once we are happy and our clients approve them we test them to ensure safety and shelf life.

The final step is scaling the formulation from the lab bench up to our manufacturing plant and testing to ensure that process has been carried out effectively.

It is an incredibly diverse industry with a range of opportunities for scientists at all levels from school leaver apprentices right through to PHD doctorates. It is a very fulfilling career with the opportunity to travel internationally.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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