Celebrating Cosmetic Science Seminars

10:00 - 10:30

KEYNOTE: Strands of Knowledge: Unravelling the Science of Hair – From Structure to Cosmetic Innovations

Hair is one of the most complex & versatile structures in nature. It is composed largely of keratin, a protein that also forms our nails and skin. Keratin is arranged in a complex fractal array of filaments called microfibrils, which are further organized into macrofibrils and then into fibres which give hair its strength and flexibility.

The structure of hair can, however be impacted via  various factors, such as chemical treatments, heat styling, environmental exposure, mechanical stress, and even genetic predisposition which result in reduced hair strength, elasticity, shine, and moisture, as well as increased hair breakage, split ends, frizz, and tangling. Hair damage can also affect the psychological well-being and self-esteem of individuals who suffer from it.

The main causes of hair damage can be classified into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic causes are related to the internal structure and composition of the hair, such as the keratin, melanin, and lipids that form the hair shaft and the cuticle. Extrinsic causes are related to the external factors that affect the hair, such as the chemical, thermal, and mechanical agents that alter the hair structure and integrity. Some of the most common extrinsic causes of hair damage are:

  • Bleaching, dyeing, perming, and relaxing: These chemical processes can weaken the hair bonds, disrupt the cuticle layer, and reduce the hair moisture content, leading to dry, brittle, and porous hair.
  • Blow-drying, curling, straightening, and brushing: These thermal and mechanical processes can generate high temperatures and friction that can damage the hair cuticle and cortex, resulting in hair breakage, split ends, and loss of shine.
  • Ultraviolet radiation, pollution, and chlorine: These environmental factors can oxidize the hair pigments, proteins, and lipids, causing hair colour fading, protein degradation, and lipid depletion, resulting in dull, weak, and dry hair.

The effects of hair damage can be observed at different levels of the hair structure, from the cuticle to the cortex. Some of the most common effects of hair damage are:

  • Cuticle damage: The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair that protects the inner layers from external damage. Cuticle damage can manifest as lifted, cracked, or missing cuticle scales, which expose the cortex and make the hair more vulnerable to further damage. Cuticle damage can also affect the hair appearance, making it rough, dull, & prone to frizz / tangling.
  • Cortex damage: The cortex is the middle layer of the hair that provides the hair strength, elasticity, and colour. Cortex damage can occur when the hair bonds are broken, the hair proteins are degraded, or the hair pigments are oxidized. Cortex damage can result in reduced hair strength, elasticity, and colour, as well as increased hair porosity and water absorption.
  • Lipid damage: The lipids are the fatty substances that coat the hair surface and fill the spaces between the cuticle scales. Lipid damage can occur when the lipids are depleted or oxidized by chemical, thermal, or environmental factors. Lipid damage can affect the hair moisture, shine, and smoothness, as well as increase the hair static and friction.

Consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their hair needs and are looking for products that counteract the damage to  hair, nourishing, protecting, and repairing hair in addition to enhancing appearance. This presentation will cover Unilever’s approach to the measurement and alleviation of damage at the level of both the cuticle and the cortex, how we deploy technology to repair damaged proteins, to replace lost surface oils and protect colour, and how the technology is validated with consumers.


10:30 - 11:00

Innovate UK Business Connect: Linking the innovation support landscape

Have you ever wondered where to start when it comes to innovation support for businesses and business collaborations in the UK?

Innovate UK Business Connect’s mission is to link ideas, people and communities to respond to the ever-changing societal, environmental and economic challenges we face, and to drive positive change through innovation.  We’re here to help you make sense of the ecosystem of expertise and funding, connecting innovators with new partners and opportunities, accelerating ambitious ideas into real-world solutions. Our diverse connections span business, government, funders, research and the third sector.  Find out how you can work with us and how innovators in the cosmetic science sector can benefit from innovation support in the UK.


  • Karen Wilkinson Knowledge Transfer Manager - Health - Innovate UK Business Connect
11:00 - 11:30

Cosmetics Cluster UK: Bridges, networks and knowledge exchange in the UK Cosmetics Industry

A cluster is defined as a geographical network of interconnected businesses, suppliers and associated institutions within an industry sector. With 1 in 50 jobs in the UK being in the beauty industry, we and others are highlighting the myriad of employment opportunities, especially upstream from retail, in an industry directly contributing £12b to the UK economy. Established in 2020, the mission of CCUK is to be the bridge that connects companies along the whole value chain in the cosmetics industry, from research to raw materials to retail. CCUK has four pillars of activity embracing education & skills; sustainability; international networks and research & innovation. We support best practices, foster collaborations & help solve industry challenges. For example we have introduced new suppliers in the bio-economy with existing cosmetic ingredient manufacturers who can help to establish a validated market for a novel class of biomaterials for use by product manufacturers. We are delighted to celebrate UK cosmetic science and support research activities with our industry knowledge and connections.


11:30 - 12:00

Futureproofing the British Beauty Industry – how we can use talent and innovation to secure a sustainable future for beauty and beyond

What does the average person think of when imagining a career in the beauty industry? How can the beauty industry help tackle some of the biggest challenges our planet faces? How can we get more people to be part of this change?

As an industry that touches everyone’s lives multiple times every day, beauty and the role of science within it is key to driving innovation and much needed change in consumer behaviour. From the products we offer, to the packaging they come in and what happens to them at end of use – the beauty industry must address the role it plays in contributing to the climate crisis and work together to find solutions.

The British Beauty Council is addressing this two-fold - with the Future Talent Programme, an initiative to drive new talent into much needed science, sustainability and innovation roles in the beauty industry and the Sustainable Beauty Coalition, an alliance of thought leaders, experts, businesses and brands from all sectors of the beauty industry to working together to accelerate collaboration, knowledge and bolder collective efforts.

This session will cover the challenges we face and how the beauty industry can and is meeting these head on, with plenty of opportunities for attendees to get involved and become part of the charge for positive change.