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Chemistry of Beauty Webinar


Join the American Chemical Society and the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program for a panel discussion on the chemistry behind common hair and skin products, like skin moisturizer and shampoo. Expert industrial and academic scientists working in cosmetic science will discuss how to help consumers make more informed decisions for healthier skin and hair.

Speakers will discuss key properties and ingredients to look for, new breakthroughs in the field, how the industry responds to the diversity of its consumers, and the science behind regulation and the terms “clinically approved” and “dermatologist-tested.” Please join us for a dynamic conversation that will include a public Q&A.

Date and Time: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET

Please direct any questions to ACS External Affairs & Communications at or Aaron Mertz at the Aspen Institute.

Watch the Webinar

Watch the recording of the Chemistry of Beauty Webinar from November 17, 2020 below.

Youtube ID: qBWo8Tj0Hdc

Webinar Panel

Kelly A. Dobos

Kelly A. Dobos is a cosmetic chemist with expertise in skin care and color cosmetic formulation. Having graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelors degree in chemistry, Kelly also obtained an MBA from Cleveland State University and a Master of Science in pharmaceutical sciences with emphasis in cosmetic science from the University of Cincinnati. Kelly is an active volunteer with the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and was elected to serve as President in 2019. Kelly’s passion for cosmetic science has made her a go-to expert for news organizations like NPR and beauty publications alike Allure magazine.

Nonhlanhla Khumalo, Ph.D.

Dr. Nonhlanhla Khumalo is the founder and head of the Hair and Skin Research Laboratory at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is an expert in hair and skin and the structure of the tissues and cosmetics applied to them. Professor Khumalo graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and surgery (MBChB) in 1990. She received clinical and research training in Dermatology at Groote Schuur Hospital and Churchill Hospital in Oxford UK, registering as a Fellow of the SA College of Dermatologists in 2003. She was promoted Head of Dermatology at UCT in December 2012 and awarded the National Research Foundation - SARChI chair Dermatology and Toxicology in 2015. With Funding from the National Skills Fund (NSF) she established the HSR lab and with funding from the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) the National Cosmetic Safety Testing Unit and a new qualification (the Advanced Diploma in Cosmetic Formulation Science) are run from the HSR Lab from 2017.

Anne Wagner, Ph.D.

Dr. Anne Wagner currently works at L'Oréal as a group leader where she manages a team of chemists developing consumer hair color products for brands such as Garnier and Soft-sheen Carson.  She is also an adjunct professor at Villanova University teaching biochemistry labs to aspiring chemists. Anne received her Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Mount Holyoke College. Anne enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and exploring nature. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, David, and lovely 2-year-old daughter, Elena.

Moderator: Shruti Naik, Ph.D.

Dr. Shruti Naik is a world-renowned skin biologist and immunologist. Dr. Naik is an Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania and performed her postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University. She has discovered that normal bacteria living on our skin, known as the commensal microbiota, educate the immune system and help protect us from harmful pathogens. Dr. Naik’s research has been published in top-tier scientific journals including Science, Nature, and Cell. For her cutting-edge research, she has been recognized by the Regeneron Award for Creative Innovation, the L’Oréal For Women in Science Award, the Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists, the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, the International Takeda Innovators in Science Award, the NIH Directors New Innovator Award and was recently named a Pew Scholar and a Packard Fellow.