Q&A with &Other Stories Senior Cosmetics Chemist

We can’t get enough of &Other Cosmetics chic beauty range and were thrilled to get the unique opportunity to talk with Catarina Åberg, the Senior Cosmetic Chemist at &Other Stories. From the inspiration to the production of the company’s cosmetic range, here’s what we learned from our interesting talk with Catarina!

Catarina, what does a typical day at work as a cosmetic chemist look like?

Catarina: I’m following the product from idea to development into a finished product and it is both fun and frustrating. Just a minor tweak can completely change the formulation to the better – or the worse. Today, I get to work with an overall vision as well as a specific ingredient problem, my work is never boring. It is exciting to work with a wide range of products from skin care and bath & body to a complete wardrobe of make-up. With my cosmetic scientist background, I am also able to ensure that we create regulatory compliant and safe products. It gives me great joy to see all cosmetic projects like the Los Angeles Atelier Hair Care range come to life.



Tell me about the &Other Stories cosmetics ranges – have you had any challenges in creating the formulas?

Catarina: &Other Stories beauty consist of three major lines: Paris Atelier, Stockholm Atelier, and Los Angeles Atelier. Each Atelier has its own direction:

The core beauty range is the Stockholm Atelier bath & body and make-up line. The idea with this range is to offer products that are easy to use, trust and understand. Every product is tailor-made using carefully selected ingredients to create sensorial formulations that make a difference, always being exciting and innovative.

The idea with the Paris Atelier range is high-quality natural formulations within bath & body and make-up. The formulations are developed with a bespoke blend of hand-picked active ingredients with certified origin from France. Each product is developed to be as natural as possible.

Our make-up formulations have an average of 85% natural origin and bath & body formulations an average of 95 % natural ingredients. Using natural active ingredients in the luxury segment adds a new dimension to &Other Stories’ beauty collection, and reflects a new mindset in the beauty industry.

In many ways, we approached the formulations for the Paris Atelier make-up as you would when developing skin care. We worked hard to get the texture and effect just right and it was inspiring to create new ways of using active ingredients that would normally fit in a traditional skin care product.

The Los Angeles hair care range is inspired by the life in LA. We looked at what type of hair care is needed for days that range from the beach to work and then a night out. We categorized the core needs into three different lines: Universal, Fullness and Restore. Our goal was to develop high-performing cleansing and styling products that allow you to create the look you desire, achieving hair with bounce, body, texture, undone curls, tousled waves, shine or smoothness without any sticky or stiff finish.



What does your creative and scientific process in making cosmetics look like?

Catarina: Our beauty team works closely together with our fashion design teams and share the same inspirations and mood boards each season. This process allows us to create products with unique stories. At &Other Stories we also have the luxury of an in-house team of creatives including designers, copywriters, graphical designers, chemists, and product developers, all with expertise that ensures a unique product and design. Together we evaluate ideas and try formulation and packaging samples and performs tests to secure the product quality.

What is your philosophy regarding cosmetics?

Catarina: For me, every ingredient should have a purpose. The formulations that we create must make a difference, both in terms of texture, skin feel and scent. It is important to choose ingredients that are well documented and to use them in an innovative way to create beautiful textures. Sustainability is also an important factor and we strive to always be updated on new findings in the field.

Which has been the most difficult product to develop – and which has been the most thrilling?

Catarina: All projects face difficulties, that is a part of the formulation development. This is also what makes the work fun. In the LA hair care range, we developed a scalp scrub using both salt & sugar. The formulation is very particular, General Information and we worked hard to optimize the salt and sugar content, both in regard to particle size and concentration to obtain the best scrub effect for the scalp.



Which product(s) would you say are the cornerstone(s) of &Other Stories cosmetics range and why?

Catarina: The Stockholm bath & body range with all beautiful fine fragrances in everyday bath & body products is one of the cornerstones. In make-up, our powder blusher with its excellent pay off and silk-like texture is another cornerstone. The Shakespeare quote “Go girl seek happy days to happy nights” adds a poetic touch to the product.

In the Paris Atelier range, we have the creamy Lipstick with premium texture created with ingredients from 80% natural origin. The formula features a mix of prestigious waxes, such as candelilla and carnauba, to create premium textures and a full-color pay-off. It also contains cold-pressed oil from succulent Mirabelle plum kernels to provide moisture and a luscious effect. Together with its beautiful metallic case, we found a great contemporary combination.

The innovative 100% natural Nail Colour Remover contains three ingredients, all with a natural origin: sweet almond oil (for moisturisation), lavender oil (for its calming scent) and a gentle solvent called diethyl succinate. It is bio-sourced from wheat, corn and sugar cane, which have been processed by fermentation and esterification to diethyl succinate. This formula is less volatile, more concentrated, and doesn’t have the harsh smell that you normally find among nail polish removers.

One of the cornerstones from LA hair care is the Fullness Volume Powder. Whether you are looking for volume in the roots or throughout the hair – this product is light, yet powerful and super easy to apply, using the unique pump applicator. The Restore Leave-in Mask is also very versatile. Think about it as your day & night cream that will protect and nourish your hair against frizz and dryness.



Which is your favorite product from &Other Stories range?

Catarina: For me, every product is a treasure on its own, so it is difficult to choose, but I have three personal favorites:

  1. The innovative Restore Scalp Scrub. It is developed using vegetable keratin to fill out the hair fiber. The mix of salt and sugar exfoliates and soothes the scalp, restoring its balance by removing product build up.
  2. Universal Beach Spray. This spray is great for every hair type. It adds texture to your hair without being sticky or too stiff. It smells amazing and has thermal protection.
  3. The fine fragranced Candles from the Stockholm and Paris Atelier developed with design inspiration from the interior in our stores. The marble plates, the wood scaffolds and the cement/stone floors are just a few of the things inspiring us. The fragrances are carefully selected and loved by everyone at & Other Stories.

What’s your best tip for people interested in cosmetics chemistry?

Catarina: Always be curious and try new ideas. Get inspired by your own life, it could be memories from journeys, beautiful scents, and rich textures. Search in literature for raw materials and their properties and try the ideas into a formulation. If it does not work, rework and test again.

Images courtesy of &Other Stories.

Now get your cosmetics updated for spring at &Other Stories, but first enjoy some inspiration on color trends >>>> HERE