Olay launches cosmetics science course with Coursera

By Austyn King | Published: 12-Mar-2024

The P&G-owned skin care brand will donate $2m in scholarships as part of its ongoing aim to increase the amount of women in STEM subjects

Skin care brand Olay has launched a new cosmetics science course with online learning platform Coursera.

The Introduction to Cosmetics Science and Ingredients course aims to teach students about the fundamentals of developing skin care and beauty products. 

It will be taught by the P&G-owned brand’s cosmetics scientists.

Students will learn about the history of the cosmetics industry, as well as the function of key ingredients in cosmetics products and how to identify effective ingredients.

Topics also include skin physiology, how to create a model of the skin and best practices for creating cosmetics formulas and implementing quality control and safety methods.

Olay is also providing US$2m in scholarships from 2024-2026, awarding 5,000 recipients a one-year subscription to Coursera which will allow them to take any of the platform’s variety of more than 6,900 courses.

Although the course is open to anyone, the Regenerist cream maker is particularly encouraging women to apply, as part of its ongoing aim to encourage more women into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Women are said to represent just over a quarter of jobs in the STEM fields as of 2023, according to Olay.

“Olay is committed to positively impacting the STEM pipeline and supporting all women in STEM,” said Dr Rolanda Wilkerson, one of Olay’s cosmetic scientists and a teacher on the course.

“This is why we are excited to collaborate with Coursera to put STEM education within reach for both current and aspiring STEM learners.  

“Whether you are a skin care enthusiast or someone considering cosmetic science as a career, anyone, anywhere can now learn the basics of skin care from Olay scientists with the new Introduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients course.” 

The brand launched its #FacetheSTEMGap initiative in 2020, pledging to help double the number of women and triple the number of women of colour in STEM careers.

This has seen Olay team up with the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) to raise awareness about coded bias in the beauty industry, such as how data and AI enforce narrow beauty standards that exclude women of colour.

It also launched a float in US retailer Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2020, celebrating women’s STEM accomplishments in an effort to inspire consumers.

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