Two Newcastle University medical science students have launched a blog which aims to demolish the myths and mystery surrounding the beauty products industry.
Beauty by the Geeks, which launched just a few weeks ago, received over 10,000 hits from around the world, in its first ten days, as social media spread the message.
The beauty product industry is worth £15 billion every year in the UK alone, with most products containing a bewildering array of ingredients, with little to no explanation of how it all works. And the way the products are marketed can make things even worse.
Blog founder Brigitte West, a second year Biomedical Sciences student, said: “We felt that a lot of people don’t really understand the products they are using and what is in them. There is a lot of misinformation and clever marketing and advertising, which is confusing and a lot of it doesn’t have any basis in science.
“All we do is take a look at the contents list on the side of each product and provide a simple explanation for what it is and what it does. We can then evaluate how effective the product is likely to be.
“We are not here to pan any products, we just give an honest assessment. For example we found that a simple anti-ageing cream from Aldi is just as effective as another cream which costs over 100 pounds. It’s just about questioning the claims they make in the advertising and marketing.”
The website is split into several sections including reviews of products, a DIY section on how to make your own products safely using everyday household items, a beauty tip of the day and a regular column from professors and experts who can help with advice.
Rose Brown, in the 2nd year of a Microbiology degree, said: “We were just walking back from uni, talking about all the products we own and thinking about how we didn’t really know what was in them or if any of the claims about how effective they were, were accurate. Then we thought there might be something we could do about that and the idea for the blog grew from that. We have had an amazing response so far, it feels like there is a real need for a website like this.”
Mark Birch Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology, at Newcastle University, who works closely with the girls, said: “This is an amazingly professional blog. Both Rose and Brigitte are really interested in the science behind all these products and that means their blog posts are accurate and they communicate the facts in a really effective way.”
Initially the pair received a start-up grant from Rise Up, the entrepreneurial arm of Newcastle University’s Careers Service, to help them get their idea off the ground.
They were then awarded a further £2,000 grant from Santander Universities as part of a Rise Up Pitch investor panel, which is designed to provide students and graduates with the opportunity to present their business idea to the investment and finance community.
Gareth Trainer, Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Development at Newcastle University Careers Service, said: “Brigitte and Rose impressed us with their idea right from the start. We see it as vital to encourage entrepreneurs in whatever business idea they have, so we gave them an initial grant to get their idea off the ground and ongoing support from Rise Up.
“Rise Up provides access to a team of some of the region’s most influential and experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs who can give one-to-one advice and tailored support.
“The Rise up Pitch, which the girls did really well in, is all about helping students and graduates get a business started or take it to the next level, as well as making those vital business contacts, and is one part of the package of support we offer.”
published on: 17 June 2013