Dr. Gill Westgate

Chair, Cosmetics Cluster UK

Presentation Title: “The science underpinning the Cosmetics and Personal Care Industry – A skills Focus”

Abstract: Cosmetics and personal care products are considered essential for the vast majority of consumers as part of their daily lives, not only for basic personal hygiene, but also for appearance, well-being and self-esteem. A recently launched report by Cosmetic Executive Women UK puts UK sales in 2017 at £10.2 billion. The UK is the world’s 6th largest beauty market comprising of 1700 companies, 40,000 products and 1800 brands.

The retailing, manufacturing and development of cosmetics and personal care products is an industry with a truly global reach, in which the UK plays a significant part. It is hardly surprising that the UK cosmetics industry employs more than one million people, yet today, only 5 UK universities offer a degree or Masters qualification in cosmetic science. This is an industry which has strong female leadership involvement and offers opportunities for the employment and training of women, whilst encouraging girls to consider STEM based subjects and careers.

From adoption of natural & organic ingredients, to development of biotechnology and personalisation strategies, the industry is often at the forefront of consumer-facing innovation.  The cosmetics industry is highly research and development-led and home to world-class research facilities in both industry and university labs.  Research includes materials and formulation science, skin and hair biology and effects of age, gender and ethnicity; microbiology and the interactions between products an skin/hair surfaces and is supported by analytical and measurement sciences.

The Cosmetics Cluster UK (CCUK), along with project partners, Cosmetic Executive Women UK (CEW), The Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association,(CTPA) The UK Society of Cosmetic Scientists (SCS), CATCH and the London College of Beauty Therapy (LCBT) is spearheading an initiative to produce a white paper that encompasses: building awareness of the industry with educators, developing a national curriculum for the industry and demonstrating increased employability.

Bio: Gill works at the University of Bradford for the Centre for Skin Sciences, a major centre of excellence for skin and hair research. Her role is to develop sustainable partnerships between industry and academic research and to help translate science into commercial opportunities. Her cosmetics and personal care industry experience was obtained at Unilever Research in the UK, where she led their scalp and hair biology research programme for many years. Gill is a co-founder and Chair of Cosmetics Cluster UK (CCUK), a networking organisation for the sector and brings over 30 years industry experience, research leadership skills, access to University experts, funding, facilities and mentoring. She is currently working within CCUK to improve higher education development for the cosmetics sector to improve employability in the UK.