The 600-square metre centre combined an application laboratory, testing centre and sensory analysis area where lab results and prototypes could be evaluated by consumer panels. The centre had also been designed to integrate digital capabilities, with 360° lab cameras and an auditorium offering the possibility of online interactions and formulation experiments between Roquette Beauté staff and cosmetic manufacturers at a distance. The centre would kickstart operations next month with an initial 10 technical experts on-site and access to Roquette’s wider 300+ research network if needed.
‘Another step forward towards our ambition’
Bénédicte Courel, general manager of cosmetics business at Roquette, said that given Roquette Beauté had only been launched two years ago, the new expertise centre was hugely important for the business.
“It’s really a key milestone for us. And what is important is that, through this investment, Roquette is really taking another step forward towards our ambition,” Courel told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
Founded in 2018, Roquette Beauté had already built up a portfolio of 20 different plant-based cosmetic ingredients, filed around 30 patents and was working across the EMEA, APAC and North America regions. The goal now, she said, was to strengthen that footprint and presence in cosmetics even further.
“Our ambition is to be recognised as a global vegetal expert in the B2B cosmetics world.”
Co-creation to address beauty challenges and opportunities
Courel said the ultimate ambition of this new expertise centre was to stimulate co-creation between Roquette and manufacturers worldwide, both large and small.
“There’s many more brands within one brand – creativity and innovation fosters when you’re all together. That’s really the spirit of how we want to operate in the future,” she said.
Importantly, the centre had also been designed to keep the beauty consumer central to developments – an important design aspect, she said, given consumer needs and demands were increasingly complex.
“Worldwide, our consumers have different behaviours and needs and expectations (…) We have to address the different needs coming from China or Korea versus the United States or even the different European countries.”
Courel said that whilst each country had different consumer trends in the beauty category, within this there were also different needs in age demographics and so on. However, there was one common trend throughout: an eagerness to understand each cosmetic ingredient in a beauty product, she said, which was true for most categories.
Key trends to watch? Skin microbiome and solid beauty
So, as Roquette Beauté advanced and upscaled, were there any wider global beauty trends it would be focused on? Courel said there were two: the skin microbiome and solid beauty.
“We are definitely currently looking, working on and investigating the microbiome; the skin microbiota is a new, open area and there is so much to learn.”
Moving forward, she said Roquette Beauté planned to enhance its presence and offerings in this space and would leverage the expertise of the wider group in nutrition and pharmaceuticals to do so. “We have many discussions with our experts, and we do believe that there’s definitely correlations that can be made for the skin microbiome. So, it’s really an entirely new field that’s probably going to become more and more important in the future.”
Roquette Beauté should have dedicated skin microbiome-targeted ingredients on the market within two years, she said.
A second, equally important beauty trend was solid, waterless formulations, Courel said. “Solid cosmetics are definitely rising up. But how do you formulate waterless cosmetics which are still attractive, deliver sensorial benefits, and give a true experience for consumers whilst not using one of the key ingredients? It’s an interesting new challenge opening up, especially from a technology standpoint because there are plenty of actives which are hydrophilic, and if you don’t put them in water it’s a bit complicated.”
Asked if it was harder to develop solid, waterless beauty formulations with plant-based ingredients, she said: “I would say no, because right now the majority of our Beauté by Roquette ingredients are dry, powder forms. However, we have to definitely combine this with the know-how and tricks on formulating the right ingredients to deliver the expected performances.”
The biggest challenge overall for the future, Courel said, would be refining plant-based formulations to combine naturality and high performance.