What do you enjoy most about your job and what are some of the toughest parts?
I love that my job allows me to be involved in creating unique products and building teams from the ground up to support our ambition of continuous growth. The toughest parts of my job include solving technical manufacturing issues to ensure that our products reach our customers in the quickest time possible.
How would you describe the process of developing new products at Deciem?
When developing new products, our process is led by the lab, not marketing. Additionally, we identify gaps in the market where consumer needs are not being met and take those as opportunities for us to be innovative.
What are some of the biggest challenges as a scientist in the beauty landscape right now?
I think one of the biggest challenges at the moment in the industry is bringing awareness to the fearmongering being propagated in the cosmetics industry, and how it can be demystified by understanding the chemistry of everything that surrounds us, as well as the basics of toxicology.
This is why I am incredibly proud of our ‘Everything is Chemicals’ campaign. It is all about providing useful scientific knowledge to the audience, and as we know knowledge is power. I hope that people will feel empowered as we provide the tools for them to feel more comfortable about the decisions they are making when it comes to skincare.
What are some of the products you are most proud of and why?
There are several products that I am so proud of. Those include NIOD CAIL 1%, The Ordinary Vitamin C 23% Suspension + Hyaluronic Acid Spheres 2% and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. The NIOD CAIL 1% launch was the first time introducing Pal-GHK-Cu into the cosmetic industry in a unique formulation.
Following that, at the time of its launch, The Ordinary Vitamin C 23% Suspension + Hyaluronic Acid Spheres 2% was one of the most stable Vitamin C formulations on the market. Lastly, I’m incredibly proud of The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% because of how loved it is by our consumers for its minimalistic yet effective formulation.
As a scientist, what frustrates you most about the beauty landscape and why?
A topic that frustrates me is the misuse and cherry-picking of scientific data to support misinformation. For example, when I get approached with a statement such as “this study showed this ingredient was carcinogenic”. It is important to note that one single study cannot be used as proof of risk, much like it cannot be used as proof of safety or efficacy. Scientific evidence is only valid if the results obtained are repeatable, reproducible, and can be extrapolated to real life applications. However, we understand that consumers may not have this understanding, and may take one study at face value, especially when it is blown out of proportion or taken out of context by various sources – we want them to question this, and always ask for further evidence.
What are some of the biggest myths out there that you wish consumers knew about?
When it comes to myths, I think that there is a lack of awareness around the fact that the word “clean” is unregulated, and as such, does not have an official definition. Each brand can interpret it as they see fit, but the general consensus is the avoidance of certain ingredients through a hazard-based approach, meaning that if something can be dangerous for human health or the environment in any concentration (no matter how high), any time of exposure (no matter how long), and through any path to said exposure (no matter how unlikely it is), it is then deemed a risk, and intentionally avoided.
You have just come back to work after taking paternity leave. Tell me about how that went and why it was important for you to take time off work.
My paternity leave went really well. It was lovely to have time to mostly focus on my family and the newest addition. I think it’s very important for people to take time off work because attaining a healthy balance between work time and personal time is crucial to supporting the mental health of any individual.