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Adriana Perri, BTech '16

Biotechnology | BTech Biotechnology alumna shares her experiences working at The Estée Lauder Companies Canada

When her employer, The Estée Lauder Companies Canada, invited chemist Adriana Perri to create a new cosmetic shade, she didn’t hold back. “Mine was a shade of purple with a sparkly blue undertone that gives it a holographic look. I named it Unicorn Dreams.”

The Company has a tradition of inviting new employees like Adriana to participate in a creative lab session to design a new cosmetic shade and if a brand likes it, they sometimes keep the shade name when the product makes it to market. That means Perri’s Unicorn Dreams could find a home with any of The Estée Lauder Companies’ many brands. “I’d be thrilled if that happens,” says Perri.

With her B.Tech. degree in Biotechnology from McMaster University, Perri landed her position as a Chemist working in Research and Development at the Company’s Canadian complex in Markham, Ontario.

Her daily role includes evaluations of third-party formulas against current regulatory and safety regulations. She manages upwards of 20 projects while collaborating with multiple internal departments and third-party vendors. Her responsibilities include ensuring milestones are achieved and projects stay on time.

“Most of my evaluations involve the M•A•C line,” says Perri. It happens to be an artistry brand often featured in magazines, movies and elite fashion shows around the globe.

It’s a stimulating work environment for Perri. “The Company is very open to new ideas and I’ve been engaged on many new projects, including an initiative to leverage available testing data for all projects. The goal is to increase the efficiency of internal testing.”

Perri understands why quality testing is so important for prestige cosmetics. “When consumers pay twenty dollars or more for a tube of lipstick, we want to ensure it keeps its performance over time and under extreme temperature changes [...] Quality testing is an important part of product development. The tests tell us how products perform under various conditions.”

She’s also been asked to review other company processes and look for process improvements, a skill she developed during her B.Tech. program.

“There’s an advantage to having a fresh pair of eyes look at processes. It’s easier to see the whole picture when you’re not in the middle of it.”

Perri loves every minute of her career in the cosmetics industry and the opportunities it gives her to contribute her skills. “I enjoy the regulatory aspects of the cosmetics industry, which are similar to those I encountered in the pharmaceutical industry when I did my co-op,” says Perri. “The B.Tech. program at McMaster equipped me with a broad range of skills that I’m able to use every day.”