Title: Chemist II, Product Development
Hometown: Barrington, RI
Your CV: I have a BS in chemical engineering from MIT. While at MIT, I worked in the Langer Lab focusing on drug delivery. I was introduced to Living Proof at this time and did an internship rotation here. I was able to try out the product development, discovery and safety and regulatory departments.
How long have you been at Living Proof? 3.5 years
Why work in beauty? I fell into this job because of the connection with the Langer Lab. I honestly never knew beauty was an option and assumed I’d end up at a biolab or in pharmaceuticals. I wasn’t really even into beauty personally until around the end of college.
What’s the best part of your job? I love the process of formulating a product. It’s part technical, part art, and part intuition. I like that blend.
What’s the most challenging part of your job? One of the most challenging parts of my job is figuring out how to communicate science to marketing (who ultimately communicate it to the consumer) in a way that’s simple and easy to understand. Sometimes things can make a lot of sense in my head but not quite so much when I talk to people with non-technical backgrounds – you can tell by the confused looks on their faces. Lately we’ve made various diagrams and animations to try to get the point across. It definitely keeps things interesting and makes my brain work in a different way.
What projects are you most proud of? Perfect hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment. It took over 150 formulations to get to the final product.
You created one of our newest products, Fresh Cut. Talk about that process: We approached this product differently from other companies, who use resins to essentially glue parts of the fiber together. This gives the hair a stiff feel, which no one wants. Instead, we use microscopic charged particles that specifically target split ends. When these particles dry, they physically zip the end closed while still allowing the hair to be flexible. Knowing how obsessed consumers can be with their split ends, we also made sure the formula is super lightweight and can be used again and again as needed. Fresh Cut actually feels natural in your hair, and it helps gives you your own healthy hair back.
What was different about creating Fresh Cut than other products you’ve worked on? I had to get really close to people’s heads to look at their split ends and try to capture them in photograph form.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about working in beauty? That it’s not technical, or that it’s marketing driven. There’s a lot of science behind what we do. The consumer doesn’t know about how much goes into the process of creating a product, like safety and stability testing.
What Living Proof products do you use on your own hair? I start with Perfect hair Day Shampoo and Conditioner. If I’m air drying, I’ll use either No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner or Curl Leave-In Conditioner. If I’m going to blow out my hair, I use Perfect hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment.
Your daily uniform: lab coat + what? Jeans, a sweater and black shoes- flats for around the office and Toms for in the lab.
What’s a little known fact about you? I played the flute for 10 years and was in youth orchestra with Ms. USA/Ms. Universe 2012.
Outside of work, what’s your passion? Anything artsy, it depends on the day. Right now I’m really into calligraphy, photography and flower arranging. I actually took a flower arranging course in Back Bay and it was amazing.
Above: Yingxia became a US citizen last spring so we celebrated with some very patriotic cakes.