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This Is What It’s Like To Be A Beauty Chemist

And, yes, she has great skin

By Felicity Robinson

In partnership with Thankyou

Kristen Reid has one of the best jobs for a self-confessed beauty obsessive: she formulates and develops new self-care products for Thankyou. To mark the launch of Thankyou’s new Botanical Cedarwood Clay Body Scrub and Botanical Grapefruit & Vanilla Salt Body Scrub, we asked Kristen to tell us how they’re made (and the most effective way to use scrubs to get great skin).

So what was the idea behind your two new body scrubs?

For a long time, I’ve wanted to make a beautiful, high-quality scrub with clay. So many of them are super expensive and I felt there was a gap for a product you can use regularly as part of your skincare regimen.

We’ve been working on these scrubs for over 12 months. People are always amazed by how long product development actually takes. There’s a lot to think about, from ensuring the packaging creates the best environment for the product to retain its efficacy, to testing to see that the formula is stable and will last beautifully on your bathroom shelf.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There’s a lot of meetings! So much of product development is problem solving – it’s about being ruthless and precise when reviewing lab samples, knowing priorities and timelines, never compromising on quality ingredients, and keeping a close eye on our infamous cost of goods spreadsheets. But there’s also heaps of fun stuff, like testing samples and researching trends. I did a degree in Biological Sciences, which gave me a well-rounded understanding of chemistry and biology – handy when I’m discussing ingredients and formulas with cosmetic chemists. I’m also really into nutrition and plant biology in general so I find my passion and work tend to overlap quite a bit.

Do you test everything on yourselves?

Yes! I’m a beauty obsessive (you can find me in the beauty aisles, checking out the products). I also keep an ear to the ground, both through research and quizzing friends, to ensure we’re making products that are relevant to our customers’ lives. There’s no point in creating a product for a busy twentysomething or time-poor mum that’s going to involve her putting aside 30 minutes of her precious time for skincare…

Thankyou's Kristen Reid CREDIT: Supplied

Tell us about your background – how did you arrive at Thankyou?

While I was finishing my degree, I worked in retail at Mecca, which is when I decided I wanted to work in product development. Basically, I bugged the team at head office until they gave me some work experience, and then I became the first product development graduate on their trainee scheme.

I stayed on the team for six years, gaining some incredible experience, travelling to the big trade shows and working on hundreds of products, from sunscreens to colour cosmetics, make-up brushes to moisturisers. Two years ago, I moved to Thankyou to work on new product innovations with the personal care range, using the skills I’d developed for a social enterprise that has this incredible mission to end extreme poverty has been really rewarding for me.

Where do you source the ingredients for the scrubs?

Key ingredients like French and Dead Sea Mineral clays, and Himalayan salt, all come from overseas; it was important for me to bring some of those elevated, spa-like ingredients into the scrubs.

We also wanted to complement the lotions and washes in our range. The Cedarwood scrub has a green scent, very modern, with geranium and eucalyptus. The salt body scrub is more invigorating; the grapefruit and vanilla really lift your mood (I think it’s perfect for a post-workout shower). We also wanted to ensure the ingredients for the scrubs were sustainably and ethically sourced – external auditors help us assess that, too.

Why are scrubs important – and any tips on the best way to use them?

Scrubs are a great way of evening out your skin tone, sloughing away impurities and leaving your skin soft and smooth. Make sure your skin is really clean first – maybe use a body wash like our Botanical Cedarwood Body Wash(so you’re using a similar fragrance to the scrub). And if you leave the scrub to emulsify on the skin for a couple of minutes, it acts like a mask. Use two-to-three small handfuls of scrub once a week for the best results.

What’s the best bit of your job?

I’m a skincare junkie and an ingredients nerd, and a lot of my job involves diving into trend analysis and market research – looking at new ingredients and what’s happening around the world. This idea of being  more natural and ethical is really important right now. To me, helping people feel great about the skin they’re in is really great.

Thankyou’s Botanical Cedarwood Clay Body Scrub and Botanical Grapefruit & Vanilla Salt Body Scrub, both $14.95, are available at thankyou.co, Chemist Warehouse, and select Priceline stores.

Thankyou is a social enterprise that commits 100 per cent of profits to ending poverty


BY Felicity Robinson

Felicity is the co-founder of PRIMER

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