GMIT Student Wins at Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Network Awards

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Tamara Jordan, a Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Science student, has won a prestigious national award at this year’s Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Network Awards.

Tamara was one of 60 undergraduates presenting to a large virtual audience. Tamara’s research project examined the safety of daily use cosmetics.

Tamara’s presentation, titled “Chemical characterisation of finished cosmetic products using spectrophotometric methods and analytical techniques”, examines the ‘make-up’ of the products to determine the relative composition of the compounds, their importance in creating the desired aesthetic appearance, while also ensuring safety and quality of the products. This project aimed to educate consumers around the major components present in their daily use cosmetics, to assess the safety of products available on the Irish market, and to raise awareness on the potential of harmful impurities.

Science Undergraduate Research Experience

Ten products were examined including lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush and bronzing powders. Safe ingredients such as polymeric compounds, metal oxide pigments and wax and oil components were identified in abundance through the various analytical methods chosen. The major safety concerns surrounding cosmetics involve the potential contamination with heavy metal compounds, as a result of poor manufacturing practices. This is of ongoing importance, as cosmetic products, unlike foods and medicines, are not subject to FDA approval prior to market release. Fortunately, the samples selected from the Irish market were deemed safe for use with no traces of heavy metal elements found. An important note made from this research was the harmful correlation found between counterfeit cosmetics and their inclusion of heavy metal contaminants, and thus, the necessity for consumers to purchase their cosmetics from a reliable source, to ensure safety and compliance with cosmetic industry safeguarding processes.

Tamara from Bohola, Co Mayo, completed her final year B. Sc. (Hons) in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science in GMIT this year and will graduate in November.

Further information on the SURE Network, and information on the Conference, including the prize winners can be found on



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