COSMETIC SCIENCE: POWERING THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY

London College of Fashion

London College of Fashion has taught beauty and hair since its technical college days over 100 years ago. Now students in the Fashion Business School can learn MSc Cosmetic Science, and go on to become key players in the beauty industry which is worth £17billion to the UK economy. 

Science, Unknown, 1934, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
The history of Cosmetic Science
Back when London College of Fashion was made up of three technical schools, science was taught as part of the curriculum (as was maths and english) and pupils were as young as 12. As the College evolved to teach older students and became part of University of the Arts London, it continued to teach beauty and hairdressing. Now we no longer have the beauty spa rooms at John Princes Street but have science and research laboratories instead. We teach MSc Cosmetic Science as part of the Fashion Business School.
Hairdressing in 1925, Unknown, 1934, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

1925 Women´s hairdressing class
An evening student creating “water wave” on wig

c.1920s Women´s hairdressing class: student client getting a permanent wave, Unknown, 1934, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

c.1920s Women´s hairdressing class
Student client getting a permanent wave

Science in 1963, Unknown, 1934, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

1963 Science Class at John Princes Street

Science in 1967, Unknown, 1934, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

1967 Science Class at John Princes Street

LCF, May 2015, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
A Day in the Life
See inside the cosmetic science laboratories in Oxford Street, as the students make products for the beauty industry.
LCF, May 2015, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Hair
Here the student is testing the efficacy of cosmetic ingredients for hair in hair tresses.

How to make a lipstick

LCF, May 2015, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Making Toothpaste
Weighing the powder which gives toothpaste its chalky texture.

LCF, May 2015, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF, May 2015, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Formulating Toothpaste
Here the student is mixing glycerine, which is a humectant that prevents the toothpaste drying out.

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF Formulates
MSc Cosmetic Science at London College of Fashion held an exhibition at during the Fashion Business School Summit in October 2016. This was a virtual 'skin shop' in Carnaby Street. where students showed the public how to make hair products, lipgloss and skin creams.
LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Jasmine Lim

What’s the position of science in fashion?
"Science is an integral part of the fashion industry and many don’t realise that! From the engineer who designs new materials using a new polymer, to the perfumers and cosmetic scientists who formulate the fine fragrances and make up that is used to create unique looks and concepts. All of which require science and technology, which fits so seamlessly into fashion, that it becomes unnoticeable."

Find out about Jasmine's experience of the course and her placement year in industry on LCF News

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Bethany Dean, MSc Cosmetic Science
"I had a real interest in science and went on to take chemistry and biology at A-Level along with textiles to incorporate my art and design side. I wanted to combine the two and really push myself to go BIG! It was actually my mum who came across MSc Cosmetic Science and as soon as I saw it I was like – yes! This is me!"

Read more about Bethany's experience studying Cosmetic Science on LCF News

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

When this base, made by MSc Cosmetic Science students, is mixed with different colours, it becomes a coloured lip gloss.

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

These are the pigments which are mixed with the lip gloss base to produce different colours.

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Hadley Matthews
Three words all cosmetic scientists should live by?
"Thoroughness, flexibility, creativity."

Read Hadley's profile on LCF Student Voices

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Visitors could try the scratch and sniff hair wall.

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Alumna Kristin Katakami
"My favourite thing about my job is seeing my product through from concept to launch and then to finally see it in the shops or in press coverage – that’s the ultimate."

LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion
LCF, October 2016, From the collection of: London College of Fashion

Meet alumna Florence Adepoju
After graduating from MSc Cosmetic Science, Florence founded cosmetics company MDMFlow, making lipsticks in a workshop in her garden shed.

Her brand has gone on to huge success, and is now stocked all over the world.

Read a recent article about MDMFlow on Teen Vogue

Credits: Story

MSc Cosmetic Science at London College of Fashion, UAL is an Integrated Masters course. Integrated Masters courses combine undergraduate and postgraduate study allowing you to continue on to a Masters year without having to reapply. You are covered by student finance for the duration of the degree too.

Programme Director: Danka Tamburic
Course Leader: Diogo Balthazar

With special thanks to alumna Florence Adepoju, as well as Odette Toilette who curated LCF Formulates, and LP Studio for the LCF Formulates exhibition design.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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