Harry McIlwraith

Research & Development Chemist


Acheson & Acheson


BSc Chemistry

Harry McIlwraith(Research & Development Chemist)

What made me interested in Science

I’ve always wanted to know how things worked, and when I was deciding on a university course the choices were between Engineering and Chemistry. At school we had a very passionate Chemistry teacher and he unintentionally made my mind up for me.

My career so far

Working at A&A has been my first “proper” job after graduating. It was the first company I applied to, and I started as a Laboratory Technician in January 2010. In 2012 I was promoted to a Junior Chemist.

Day to day role

It can vary quite a bit from week-to-week depending on the stage of the projects we’re working on, however it’s usually split between working at the bench experimenting with new formulations, or at the computer formulating and organising paperwork/artwork for those formulations.

Favourite part of my job

I like the quick turn around with ranges. We ideally spend between a year and 18 months from initial brief to launch date. This means you’re not spending too long on a single product or range, and you also see the products on shelf relatively quickly.

Most challenging part of my job

Sometimes the period between brief and launch can be much tighter than normal, which means we have to work much faster but just as thouroughly. Keeping on top of multiple ranges which are at various different stages of the development process can also be tricky.

Most exciting career moment so far

The first time I saw one of the products I'd worked on throughout the entire production process on the shelf in a retailer.

What I find most exciting about the cosmetic science industry

The industry is constantly developing and evolving, with new raw materials and unique products appearing all the time.

How I use Chemistry in my job

There are many different chemical reactions occurring in cosmetic products - as a chemist I need to know about all of them!

If I didn’t do this I would…

I'd probably be working in the petrochemical industry or be doing something in automobile engineering.