Hello again people.
Hello and good morning from the cold and frosty yet beautifully sunny Blue Mountains it has been a while……
I woke up early this morning with a jolt as, after a period of extreme busy-ness I realised that I hadn’t talked to you guys for what seems like forever. As it turns out that my last post was over a month ago which is a long time in blogging land! Anyway, I thought that before I launch into a brand new tirade of useless information I thought I would pause and take a moment to ponder my life as a cosmetics chemist. Feel free to yawn and check out if/ when you wish!
“Aaaahhh so you are a cosmetic chemist then?” As the words reach my ears my suspicions that these people have no idea what that means are realized. The confusion and vagueness in their voice is clearly audible and, paired with the puzzled look on their face I know that this situation requires a bit more information. “Yes, it is a bit of an odd job” I offer, “but it is easier to think of me as a chef” (surely everyone knows what one of them is) “what I do is like a chef only I create my recipes with cosmetics ingredients – chemicals”. DIRTY LOOKS, fellow conversationist preparing to run/ turn me in to the local police, sniffing me to see if I smell of drugs (as if they could tell……..) “Well, when I say chemicals I mostly mean the good stuff like coconut oil, olive butter, essential oils, clays etc you know, the stuff that you use to make face packs, sunscreens, lipsticks etc”. I let that new piece of information sit for a nano (that’s dangerously small according to some people) second before adding “I create and sell cosmetic recipes to people who have or want their own brand”. The penny drops, well sort of – the average member of the public doesn’t really know how the back room of the cosmetics industry works and wouldn’t realise that these days most brands (on a company rather than size basis) don’t employ chemists directly any more, they outsource that in favour of more marketing, design and sales bodies. I can’t say that I blame them really……..
So that’s what I do. Well, it is part of it but if I started banging on about the rest your ears would bleed – just read the list of services on the ‘about us’ page of the blog or e-mail me for a list 🙂
It turns out that I’ve been doing lots of that ‘recipe’ stuff over the last few weeks, some of which turned out great and stayed great, some started great then finished badly and others didn’t make it off the bench. Making recipes sure is complex but I love it. This month I have learned quite a bit about my craft – a craft that I will never really feel like I know enough about as new ingredients, manufacturing methods, fashions and laws frequently show up to rock the comfort boat. I love that bit too by the way but it does make things extra tricky at times as there are so many things to check.
There has been more than one occasion this past month/ year even when I have wished to tear out my hair and scream at the universe for making me pursue a career in chemistry – a love that is even more misunderstood than the relationship your tweenage daughter has for One Direction (they only have one song people). In my industry, people (the ones with the brands and this spans many brands and brand owners from the big supermarkets to the smallest hand-crafted joy makers) generally dislike chemicals and have developed a ‘thing’ for looking down their noses at chemists too (they think we are evil)…… Well, it is not really that they think we are evil, they just think that we are the ‘can’t do’ people, the ones who hold up new product launches, who won’t commit to telling you if they can do something until they tried (“what’s it like up there on the fence madam white coat?”) who stuff things up and cost a lot of money. It’s not like it’s rocket science or brain surgery after all so what are YOU GUYS playing at???? Well, we are ‘playing at’ getting it right which can save you a tidy sum of money and bag you a lot of fans if you let us proceed. We are also playing at making dreams come true and as every dream is different (who would have thought that lime oil and garlic butter would be good for pimples and NO you can’t say ‘acne’ on your cosmetic packet) we don’t KNOW if your dreams can become a reality until we try, and when you try new things they sometimes fail. Suffice to say the whole process of product development ends up being a bit of a song and dance – I always hope for a delightful and elegant ballet but occasionally it turns into a mosh pit where ‘going with the flow’ is the ONLY option. Oh what fun 🙂
August seems like it will be equally manic but I’m excited because I learned lots in July and am always grateful to have another chance to go to the ball. Hopefully one day I’ll land the lead swan role so that I can bask in my awesomeness forever more but in the meantime I’ll just keep on keeping on.
Pass me my spatula 🙂