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The science underpinning the UK cosmetics industry – an education and skills review


1. Allured Business Media – CCUK Skills Lead, Brough, United Kingdom
2. University of Bradford, Chair CCUK, United Kingdom


Cosmetic Cluster UK (CCUK), together with project partners Cosmetic Executive Women UK (CEW UK), The Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA), The Society of Cosmetic Scientists UK & Ireland (SCS), CATCH and the London College of Beauty Therapy (LCBT) recently surveyed 200 people working in the personal care and cosmetics industry, asking about their education and training pathways into their chosen career. The survey responses were very interesting with over two thirds of respondents saying they ‘fell’ into their careers by chance. The results will help the project partners understand whether the needs of the UK industry are being met by education and training courses which do not typically signpost to scientific jobs in the Beauty sector, as well as considering how the industry might help raise awareness of the amazing science behind cosmetics and personal care products such that future workers choose the industry from an early age. The findings will be presented in a white paper and are briefly summarised here.

Cosmetics and personal care products are considered essential for many consumers as part of their daily lives, not only for basic personal hygiene, but also for well-being and self-esteem (1)*. A recently launched report (2) by Cosmetic Executive Women UK (CEWUK) puts UK sales in 2017 at £10.2 billion, but current figures are already higher. The world’s 6th largest beauty market comprises of 1700 companies, 40,000 products and 1800 brands. The industry also has strong female leadership involvement and offers opportunities for the employment and training of women and an exciting way of engaging more girls into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

The beauty industry continues to flourish, even in times of economic uncertainty and hardship – the so-called ‘lipstick effect’. It is innovative, dynamic and creative and highly reliant on science and technology to ensure product safety, develop new products, support marketing claims, manufacture to the highest standards and meet increasing consumer demands for ethics, sustainability and traceability.

Given these impressive statistics, the ...

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