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L’Oreal opens R&D centre for professional hair care product development

By Simon Pitman , 29-Mar-2012
Last updated on 29-Mar-2012 at 17:50 GMT

L’Oreal has inaugurated a global hair care research centre near Paris dedicated to the development of products designed for the hair care profession, following a €100m investment.

Located in Paris Saint-Ouen,  the centre will follow research and innovation programme specifically for the development of products such as hair colouring, shampoo and conditioners, a wide range of styling products, together with perm, smoothing  and straightening products.

"The Saint Ouen research centre exemplifies our strategy which aims to make beauty universal based on a deep understanding of consumers'  needs and aspirations, in order to offer products that match women's and men's different cultures, beauty routines and purchasing power," said Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal.

One of L'Oreal's biggest ever R&D investments

The project, which is one of the most significant research and development investments in the company’s history, will comprise a 25,000 metre square facility that will include 500 employees, including chemists, material scientists, rheologists and physico-chemists.

The facility has been designed to foster a high level of skill sharing, as well as ensuring an optimal work flow to help ensure that products can be bought to market as fast as possible.

Much of the investment in the facility has been made in technology, which includes a range of robots that are used to mimic and test the application of products on hair to determine the efficacy, and ensure safety.

Ability to test emotional appeal

But as well as testing the products physical efficacy, L’Oreal says that the facility’s capabilities also stretch to qualifying an increasingly important aspect of cosmetic product development, its emotional appeal.

To test this, the facility has ‘sensory evaluation expertise’ which involves 50 technicians who monitor and record data to evaluate consumer response to individual formulations, including sensory qualities such as skin feel and formulation texture.

Ultimately the centre will serve as a worldwide resource for the L’Oreal empire, with information being fed by its Global Centre for research, together with its six regional centres, serving to increase the already vast databank the company holds for hair care formulations.

Those six regional centres include Japan, China, India, USA, Brazil and in Saint-Ouen for Europe, which will also allow the company to develop hair care formulas specifically designed for different climates and all hair types.

Brazil research and innovation centre

At the end of last year the company announced that it was looking to build on its presence in Brazil having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the stateand city of Rio de Janeiro to build a new Research and Innovation Centre.

Following an investment of approximately €30m/ $39.2m/ R$70m, L’Oréal also vowed to create 150 direct jobs by 2015, adding to the 2,100 already employed at its Brazil operation.

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