Alicia's cosmetics to line shelves of big-name stores

Eleven health and beauty products developed by a Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science (PCS) student are in production.

Alicia Keenan researched, formulated and developed shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers and more during her placement year with Reabrook.

Alicia main

Soon her products will be lining the shelves of some big-name stores - and she has been offered a full-time role on completion of her degree.

"I'm so pleased," said Alicia, who is in her final year at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). "Not many people come back to university knowing they have a job."

Alicia started her lab technician role with the speciality chemical products manufacturer, based in Moira, Leicestershire, in July 2017. She credits her course and, in particular modules on compounding and testing the functionality of ingredients, with making her 'industry-ready'.

"I was so excited because I wanted a year out to gather my thoughts and I wanted to gain experience in a professional science environment," said the 22-year-old from Ashby in Leicestershire.

Her placement ticked all the boxes.

"Customers sent in briefs and I researched existing products, came up with formulas and developed them, making any required changes," said Alicia, who worked mostly on liquids.

"Reabrook mostly produced aerosol personal care products when I started, but I helped with the expansion of the personal care liquids.

"The company produce a huge variety of products and for overseas markets, so I had to learn about global cosmetic regulations."

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Attending the SCS Formulate event was among her placement highlights and where Alicia met one of the company's biggest customers.

"A week after I was in meetings with that customer and we discussed a range of products. Just before I left these had gone into production," she said.

Now back on campus for her final year, she is reaping the benefit of her industry experience.

"I learnt a lot, which has helped me no end in lectures," said Alicia. "We are doing a project module and I have found it easier to go into the lab and get started and plan my day."

Alicia enjoys studying so much she is applying to do a PhD - a change from her initial career plan.

Having taken a year out after A-levels to work full-time in the pharmacy where she had a Saturday job, Alicia was offered an apprenticeship as a dispensing technician. However, one of the pharmacists pulled her aside and said she should go to university.

Applying late in the year, Alicia took advantage of Clearing.

"I knew DMU had a good reputation for Pharmacy but that my A-levels weren't quite good enough, so I looked for an alternative and found PCS," she said.

"I saw it as an opportunity to transfer after a year if my grades were good enough. I rang up and everyone was really nice and helpful."

But Alicia enjoyed her first year so much she didn't want to change course.

"I love the degree because it's science based. It's such a good course. I'm glad I didn't get onto Pharmacy now," she added.

Posted on Wednesday 27th March 2019

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