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It’s not every day that you get to pick the brain of a cosmetic chemist.
So when we got the chance to chat with Abena Antwi, a cosmetic chemist and product developer for the brand Burt’s Bees, we didn’t pass it up.
Antwi, a veteran of the cosmetics industry, chatted about her role, the thing she wishes more shoppers understood about natural beauty, and the most exciting clean beauty breakthrough in recent years.
Q: What do you do in your role as a cosmetic chemist for Burt’s Bees?
A: My role at Burt’s Bees is to help develop new products by working with our chemist and marketing on daily basics, developing concepts to help feed the pipeline for the next two to five years. Looking for trending ingredients, forms, and packaging. I am also a technical scientist and brand ambassador for the company, mentoring new chemist about formulation.
Q: What’s your favourite part of your job?
A: Working with cross-functional teams for create concepts and products that our target consumers are going to be excited about and love. I love the fact that I help develop products that help consumers feel better about themselves while protecting the planet.
Q: Working on the naturally focused side of the beauty industry, is there one thing you wish more consumers understood about the natural beauty product category?
A: Not all natural ingredients are equal. Look at the whole formulation not just the list of ‘hero’ ingredient pictured on the label. I want consumers to look at the company’s mission, where they are sourcing their ingredients from and the order of ingredients. For example, the ‘hero’ ingredients should be high on the ingredient list, not last on the list.
Q: How do you recommend people become more informed about what’s in their beauty products?
A: I would love for people to read their labels and search for the ingredients and the meaning. Research the company’s website, they usually have ingredients and their benefits on their website. Find out where the ingredients are sourced from. Look for packaging materials to see if they are using post-consumer recycled materials.
Q: What would you say has been the biggest natural beauty ingredient breakthrough in recent years?
A: I will say Bakuchiol, a natural retinol alternative, that’s gentle by nature. This powerful anti-aging ingredient visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles for firmer, more youthful-looking skin. We are using this ingredient in our Renewal Skincare Line.
Q: Lastly, what are you working on next that you’re most excited about?
A: We are currently researching efficacious skincare solutions for relevant need states Sensitive/Acne grounded in nature and supported by science in service to the planet and people using technologies like Biosynthesis/Fermentation, Hydroponics/Aeroponics, Plant Cell Cultures.
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