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Hello, My Name Is Amanda and I’m a Cosmetic Chemist

June 24, 2014

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now (my blog baby is now 7 years and over 700 posts old)  you will have gathered that I’m a cosmetic chemist but for all of my new readers I thought I’d just let you in on a bit of personal detail.

So, I’m Amanda and I’m a chemist.  I studied chemistry back in the UK and earned my degree from the De Montford Uni.  I did OK, not brilliant but that didn’t matter as it scored me a great job in the cosmetics industry back in 1998 which, it turned out, changed my life.  I studied for my Diploma in Cosmetic Science while at my first technical sales job (with global ingredient distributor Brenntag) straight off the bat and completed that the following year. In those days we went for summer camp at the Boots HQ which was very cool indeed and we got to meet some awesome formulators, perfumers and aerosol manufacturers.

Amanda Profile Picture

From then on I have seen all sides of the cosmetics industry from the inside out.  Some of the highlights for me over my career have been helping major UK accounts to formulate cold-process emulsions to save money (nowadays I could make that sound really cool by saying it was a carbon pollution reduction scheme),  helping design features on new surfactant molecules so that they could be used around the eye area without stinging (yes as a chemist I can do that),  seeing my first ‘I helped build that formula’ hit Boots (yes those guys again) stores all over the UK,  taking on and managing a distributor in Spain and helping them sell a range of cosmetic ingredient solutions to the mega brands that surround the vibrant and beautiful Barcelona,  successfully re-connecting with my career after babies and a country move to wind up winning an award for a multi-million dollar contract that I secured,  taking start-up brands from zero to a range of  products and watching them take that and build a global brand and much, much more besides.

These days I work as a consultant at my company Selling Science (trading under the Realize Beauty banner) where rather than lay back and bask in past glories (as lovely as they were) I challenge myself by taking on tricky briefs,  tackling the devil in the detail that trips up many a brand owner and being the steady guide through the maze of legislation, technical challenges, high drama and despair that is getting a new product to market.

Everything I share here comes from the head but is delivered from the heart with passion and enthusiasm.   I am a hands-on problem solver, thinker and do-er.  I lead my small but perfectly formed team from the front, try never to make assumptions and to always delve deeper.  I love writing to you via this blog, not so that you can worship me or believe everything I say – I get things wrong too –  but so that my passion and enthusiasm for the detail and beauty WITHIN the science ignite something in you so that together we may make better, cleaner products and offer smarter, more sustainable and practical solutions and not just to those who can afford it but to everyone.

I am a commercial cosmetic chemist and as such my primary aim is to leave nothing on the table – no money, no unspent effort and no untested theories – in my quest to create a commercially viable (and scalable) solution.

I will never stop learning and my wish and hope is that neither will you.

This is not a hobby or a job, this is in my blood (and that isn’t just because I breathed in some nanoparticles).

Enjoy.

Amanda x

PS: I also like mountain bike riding, my dogs (I have three), my guinea pigs (we have 8), my children (OMG I can’t believe I listed my children after those other things) and my husband (I’ll stop digging).  I also love my sisters, mum and dad who have been very lovely and supportive of my crazy work obsession and have never, ever doubted my ability to keep on going.

PPS:  I am also very, very fond of trees and can’t bare to spend time in a treeless environment unless I’m in Iceland. I love Iceland but that is another story.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2015 4:51 am

    Amanda! You could be just what I am looking for! A cosmetic scientist to take part in a market research interview on beauty and trends………And it’s well paid. Please contact me!

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      March 6, 2015 7:56 am

      Hi gale, I’ll email you and see if I can help. Thanks

  2. Ibinye Silvia Stowe permalink
    October 22, 2015 5:07 am

    Hi Amanda. Please how can I get your contact please. I am a Nigerian. I am not a cosmetic chemist, but I am interested in creating my own cosmetic line. I am interested in making products like lip sticks, eye shadows, powders, foundations, concealers, eyeliners, mascara, eye pencils. I need to know what I need to start up in the UK. Thank you

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      October 22, 2015 6:07 am

      Hi Ibiyne,
      Send us a message via hello@realizebeauty.com with a bit more info about what you want and I’ll make sure that is answered for you. Thanks!

  3. January 3, 2016 6:38 am

    Hi Amanda!! I’m a recent graduate with a degree in Biology and I will love to do my MSc in Cosmetic Science. Do you have any recommendations of schools that I can sign up to in the UK and Europe by extension. I live in the Caribbean but I am planning on migrating to do my masters. Thanks in advance!

  4. May 3, 2019 3:31 am

    Hello Amanda, Greetings from the wonderful world of pet grooming! I have a burning cosmetic chemistry question to ask. Please redirect me if necessary. This is a rather technical question but has practical implications. It is about cationics in hair care products. The bottom line query is this: For how long are cationic conditioning ingredients substantive to hair?
    I get it that there is a wide range of “strength” amongst anionic surfactants that is expressed in their relative detergency. Am I wrong in suspecting that cationic conditioners also have a range of substantivity and tenacity? Are some quats and polyquats stronger than others? If SLS is the standard against which other anionics are compared, what is the cationic counterpart?

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      May 3, 2019 12:05 pm

      Hi Barbara,
      Thanks for the question.
      So, cationic can be substantive to the hair for a long time or a short time depending on their charge density, how well they deposit when applied and what the wearer does next. The first cationic polymers to be used in shampoos to make the shampoo more conditioning and hair easier to manage came to market in the 1980’s. Now I’m not sure without researching more if Pantene was the first to do this or just one that became synonymous with the 2-in-1 and over-conditioning tag but Pantene was definitely one brand to adopt this early. Problems soon became apparent when these cationic conditioning ingredients started to build up in the hair as they were too substantive. Of course hairdressers were among the first to notice as they started to have issues colouring over peoples hair when this type of shampoo had been used. Long story short, the substantivity issue was fixed long before the hairdressers mindset was so we still have hairdressers who hate Pantene even though they now have no evidence or experience in having issues with it (probably). The issue before was charge density really so what scientists did is take the same idea and spread the charge out so it became easier to wash-out. The quats and cationic silicones that can be purchased these days are mostly wash-out-able and should not build up in the hair. As for a standard, I’m not sure. There are ways of judging and ranking cationic strength and charge density but as many of these ingredients are polymers (so a more general rather than absolute structure) you can have quite a big variation in activity between different manufacturers products of the same name – so Polyquaternium 7 may have a low or high charge density depending on the manufacturer. SLES vs other anionic surfactants are easier to gauge as they are judged on their irritation potential and the molecular structures are more definitely set as they aren’t polymers.
      I hope that helps a bit, there’s probably quite a bit more I could uncover here so I’ll pop it on my lists. I did work on a Polyquaternium range with a manufacturing company so I can dig those notes out.

  5. Franklyn permalink
    June 5, 2019 7:20 am

    Hi Amanda!
    Am Franklyn.
    Its a pleasure meeting u.
    I want to develop a very unique hair dye that would revolutionalize hair dyes.
    I would love us to talk.
    Till then

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      June 5, 2019 9:12 am

      Hi, that’s quite a specialised area and not one I’m familiar with so I’m not sure I’m best placed to help with that.

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