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Suzanne Dawis

Senior Principal Scientist, Hair Color/Care

Combe Inc.

Member Since: 1996

New York Chapter

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

While taking my chemistry undergrad co-operative placement, I was accepted at a contract manufacturer of cosmetics within their quality testing laboratory. I started out learning about the materials that go into products and their function. It helped me appreciate how the materials interact in a formulation to deliver benefits to the end product. I started looking at all the personal care products I use and thinking why these ingredients are in there and how I can put them together in the appropriate concentrations to get the end benefit. It’s like the perfect balance and process combined to find the key to the great product. When I graduated, I was offered a full time position in R&D and a chance to create such great products.

What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting out in the industry? 
Learn and train in the different departments within your organization. It makes you appreciate how it truly is a concerted effort of all departments and helps you understand the big picture.

What is the favorite part of your job?

Every day is different, filled with challenges and the possibility of innovation within technologies, formulating and processing. My favorite part of the job is creating transformational products for consumers that delight them and by seeing the finished product, on the shelf, that I’ve created on the lab bench. And almost equally rewarding is inspiring new chemists with the excitement and potential of this area of science. Developing new products and new chemists – helping them both achieve their greatest potential.

What has been your most recent professional accomplishment?

I was recognized for my service and dedication to the NYSCC and received the chapter merit award during our last meeting. Then a couple days later was nominated to be featured in this national member spotlight.

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

The educational content provided in meetings, symposiums, continuing education programs and Journal of Cosmetic Science has been invaluable in furthering the qualifications of cosmetic scientists. SCC provides me with inspiration for furthering my scientific knowledge. Even learning about other fields in the industry can lead to broadening your perspective and you find new ways to apply them to your own projects. Partnered with sharing this passion with a community that shares my same enthusiasm for the industry. SCC has introduced me to a wonderful group of people where we learn from one another!What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting out in the industry?

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

I am a thrill seeker and have tried white water rafting, skydiving and piloting a helicopter. Currently I am an avid motorcycle rider/collector and a first degree black belt in taekwondo.