A Day in the Life of Beauty: Cosmetic Chemist Anna Prilutsky

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Glam caught up with Johnson & Johnson Senior Director of Research & Development, Anna Prilutsky, as she develops new cosmetics, formulates cutting edge anti-aging ingredients, and works with her global colleagues on breaking the next big beauty trend.


I wake up early and make coffee; it’s a morning essential for me. I eat a light breakfast and read the newspaper. I wash my face with Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser or with a new product in development, to test its efficacy. My bathroom, handbag and office are filled with products … it’s an occupational hazard, and one of the things I love about my job! I really enjoy experimenting with cosmetics and skincare products while at home and on the go, to give me ideas from a consumer’s perspective to take back to the lab.


I check my e-mails and review the schedule for my day, and might have a call with my R&D colleagues in Asia Pacific. We discuss clinical study results, new product development or an upcoming conference presentation. A few mornings a week, I go running with my daughter. We never leave the house without our sunscreen (Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55 for her, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 with Helioplex technology for me). I stress to my family the importance of wearing sunscreen every day, and I practice what I preach. I’m very proud of the innovations in sun protection – our team has created high performing sunscreens that don’t feel like sunscreens. Consumers really love them and that means they will use them.


After my shower, I reapply sunscreen (again, so important!) and put my best face forward with products that provide more than one benefit. (I am a mother of two kids, so multi-tasking is very important to me!) Product development has really evolved since I started as a cosmetic chemist, and today’s formulas offer many protective and restorative benefits to hair and skin, and they do all of them well.


I arrive at my office and get set for a busy day. First, I have a call with team members in Europe to discuss a new technology platform. Then I have a meeting with an innovation team, and then meetings with marketing teams to brainstorm new product offerings. We think about ways to really make the products connect to consumers’ on a personal level. For example, in a recent Clean & Clean meeting, we talked about how to help teenage girls manage acne breakouts. For Aveeno, we focused on making the daily moisturizing benefits of oatmeal even greater for adults with dry, sensitive skin.


I go to lunch and head straight to the salad bar. I choose ingredients rich in antioxidants and vitamins as they’re great for my skin, as well as proteins to provide energy for the rest of my day. I try to eat salads daily, and really only make exceptions on sushi day. Salmon rolls are my favorite because I can get a dose of Omega 3 essential fatty acids.


I have time in the lab this afternoon and I’m working on lip products. My “go to” lip products are Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Sticks and Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balms. Then I head to meet with some young professionals interested in a R&D career, and have a great conversation about their interests and goals. Johnson & Johnson provides opportunities for the R&D team to have a mentorship role with those who want to enter the field. It makes me very proud to share my passion and knowledge with future generations of researchers and scientists.


I wrap up my day and head home to my family. I cook dinner (I love to cook and am a fan of the TV show Chopped) and while we eat, we share the highlights of our day. After dinner we take the dog for a walk, and then the kids may do their homework while my husband and I plan out the rest of the week, or watch one of our favorite shows, like MadMen or The Good Wife.


I wind down at this point and start my evening skin care routine. I remove my makeup with Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes, and apply RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream. Did you know that RoC pioneered retinol 25 years ago? I was a part of that first RoC retinol launch. In that way, RoC is my other “baby” and will always have a special place in my cosmetics bag. Ending my evening with a beauty regimen is really my life in summation - a cycle of innovation, education and experimentation that will restart at 5:30am.