Petya (Todorova) Ruda earned her bachelor of science degree in cosmetic science with honors from the London College of Fashion. She is currently working as a development chemist in new product development at LF Beauty.
C&T: Who are/were your mentors?
PT: My team at LF Beauty in Trowbridge, but I’m also still getting ongoing support from my university tutors.
Creative and Textural
C&T: What interests do you have, or current work are you conducting, that relates to cosmetics?
PT: I currently work in new product development at LF Beauty, particularly working with innovative textures, constantly seeking new concepts and ideas, and improving efficacy. This has always been a great interest of mine and it’s probably the main reason why I wanted to work in the cosmetics industry.
C&T: What do you like most about your work? What do you like least?
PT: I really like the creative side of it. Working on a brand new product and seeing it through initial concept, development, scale-up and manufacturing, all the way to the shelf. It’s an amazing feeling when you see one of your formulations sold in a store. I also like the networking within the industry—it is quite small, and everyone seems to know everyone. It is really easy to set up good connections.
In terms of dislikes, there isn’t anything I can really point out. I chose to be in this industry and there is so much potential for growth within it.
C&T: What do you find most challenging about your work?
PT: The industry is so dynamic that quite often you need to think of the future in order to be ahead of the game. And then you need to try to bring your concept to life as quickly as possible. But this is also what makes it so exciting.
Sulfate-free and Natural, Yet Effective
C&T: Give an example of a problem you solved that has potential in the cosmetics industry.
PT: I carried out a lot of work with natural, sulfate-free surfactant products in order to improve long-term and high temperature stability. This is currently a big trend in the industry, as more and more companies are moving away from SLES/SLS bases.
C&T: What about the cosmetics and personal care products industries excites you? How would you like your role in the industry to evolve?
PT: Cosmetic products these days are becoming more complex with a bigger expectation for performance and efficacy. It is great that there is more science going into formulating new products and there are more ways to test them and prove efficacy. In future, I would love to continue to support this growing industry and be involved in the scientific committees, decision-making and education of new members while still being a part of new product development.
C&T: How is the industry helping to make this evolution happen? How could assistance improve?
PT: The industry is coming together globally at events and exhibitions such as the IFSCC Congress and Conference, In-Cosmetics, SCS Formulate, etc. It is great that more opportunities are being given to students and graduates to get involved. Campaigns such as C&T’s “Ones to Watch” are a great way to encourage young professionals within this industry to strive to achieve more.
Household, Food and Other Technologies
C&T: What areas or technologies do you think are untapped for cosmetics R&D?
PT: Bridging the gap between the beauty sector and other industries such as household or food; there is so much existing technology that can be adapted for the cosmetics industry.
C&T: How do you envision the cosmetics/personal care industry of the future?
PT: The industry is already becoming more and more technology driven—there are apps and devices allowing you to monitor your skin care needs and customize them. I think this digital transformation of the beauty sector will continue to increase, as well as the consumer awareness of the importance of caring for our bodies.