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Beauty Leverages Fashion Sense at UAL

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Innovations for cosmetics extended beyond the show floor at in-cosmetics London.

As Cosmetics & Toiletries (sister publication of Global Cosmetic Industry) editors learned, just a 15-minute ride on the Tube lands you at the heart of fashion and beauty--not only in the premiere Oxford Circus shopping district, but near the UAL LCF (University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion). That's where Milica Stevic, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow in Cosmetic Science, and Gabriela Daniels, science program director, explained the unique approach and positioning of the university's cosmetic science program. 

"We know consumers buy cosmetics to look beautiful," said Stevic. "Beauty and fashion are very much alike." This view was evident from the art gallery of clothing, beauty care and sundries featured in the university museum.

"Consumers also trust that someone else makes sure products are safe and work," Stevic continued. "So our approach is to teach the students to conduct precise scientific studies, controlling variables carefully, and also repeating measurements not just three times, but ten." She emphasized the need to build strong science to stand behind--and sometimes up to--marketing. 

Daniels explained the overall content of UAL's cosmetic science program, including not only chemistry, formulation and cosmetic science, but also applications science, i.e., interactions with skin and hair, evaluating efficacy, claims support as well as business management, scale-up, distribution and even market research.

"But we also know consumer don't buy products because they are, for example, a triple emulsion," said Daniels."They buy them because they see results and the products appeal to them." That's where the school's unique connection with fashion designers can play a role.

"Designers are available to give us the consumer perspective on products," said Stevic. "But cosmetics are more than quick-changing fads. Research has shown they have long-term effects on consumer psychology and well-being," she said; which makes it all the more crucial for science to keep the promises marketing makes.

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