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Marisa Plescia

Cosmetic R&D Chemist

Bell International Laboratories

Member since: 2013

Twin Cities Chapter

What made you pursue a career in the cosmetics/personal care industry?

I have always been extremely interested in cosmetic science. I vividly remember reading the backs of every beauty and personal care product, from toothpaste to shampoos to my mother’s moisturizers and lipsticks. I knew that one day I wanted not only to understand the meaning and function of those long, complicated words in the ingredient lists, but that I wanted to make those products. Cosmetic science has allowed me to pursue my passion for science and chemistry, while also exploring my creativity and innovation. As cliché as it sounds, my career as a cosmetic chemist is truly a childhood dream.

What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting out in the industry? 
I focused very strongly on my career development as a cosmetic chemist through education as I attended multiple higher education programs for cosmetic chemistry. Although I loved these programs and learned invaluable information to earn my degrees in cosmetic science, my advice to my younger self would be to seek more work experience throughout my schooling. Internships are great opportunities to bring what you learn in the classroom to real-life and allow you to develop important mentoring relationships and industry skills.

What is the favorite part of your job?

As a R&D Chemist, one of my favorite facets of my job is the sense of accomplishment when I encounter a product that I formulated on the market. It reminds me of all the hard work it took not only by myself, but by countless other people, to bring that product to fruition. From the brand product development to the countless lab batches and sampling with feedback, to the compounding/manufacturing, and to the regulatory, distribution, and marketing, the amount of effort involved is tremendous. I very much enjoy the entire development process and then seeing that beauty/personal care product actually in the hands of the consumers is a true realization of that incredible feat.

What has been your most recent professional accomplishment?

This past year I had the great privilege to help organize the Twin Cities SCC Holistic Symposium. Coordinating the Holistic Symposium was my first career experience with an educational conference at that high level and I subsequently learned a great deal about the process to successfully produce such an event. There were many aspects of the planning and organizing that I had no previous expertise on and I am very thankful that I had amazing mentors to help guide and support. I felt that my knowledge of the industry greatly expanded beyond my R&D laboratory and I developed a key and a holistic understanding of other integral components of the industry, such as working with chemical suppliers/distributors. The feeling of pride, accomplishment, and honestly some relief at the end of the 2019 Holistic Symposium has made me excited for Twin Cities Holistic Symposium 2021! 

How has membership in the SCC been of value to you?

As a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists from the time I was a cosmetic science student, the SCC has always been a very important resource for me as I began my cosmetic chemist career. By attending events/meetings and also reading the Journal of Cosmetic Science, I continually expanded my knowledge base of the field before officially becoming a working member of the industry. I was able to network and learn about different companies and I was also able to learn about the ongoing innovation and research. Now as I am employed in the industry, the SCC is a true community for me where I am with colleagues that are as passionate about the cosmetics/personal care industry as I am.

What is a fun fact about yourself, outside of the SCC and your professional life?

I have been very lucky to have had the opportunities to live in 4 countries besides the United States throughout my 20s. I have lived in England, India, France, and Italy and thus have been able to travel to 20+ countries. Also, I have been a semi-professional dancer throughout my life and have danced in touring companies and even in televised Disney parades.