L’Oréal inaugurated today its new Research & Innovation Centre (R&I) to study African hair and skin specificities as well as the beauty routines and expectations of sub-Saharan consumers. The centre in South Africa is the group’s seventh R&I hub established globally. It hosts product development, evaluation and advanced research teams and will employ scientists from the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, physiology, cosmetology and biochemistry.
Alexandre Popoff, executive vice president for Eastern Europe and Africa, Middle East, says: ‘Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions for L’Oréal. Our new research arm in South Africa will solidly enable us to continually create the beauty products of the future for our African consumers, while drawing inspiration from the diverse beauty rituals and the various needs of our consumers on the continent.’
Laurent Attal, executive vice president of research and innovation, adds: ‘By opening this new Research & Innovation Centre, we are spearheading L’Oréal Research for the African continent. We are showing our determination to go further with innovations for the African beauty market. Our consumer surveys conducted since 2010 and our in depth studies of skin and hair since early 2000, represent the knowledge base for the development of tailored products for African consumers. We are starting with hair, and will broaden our ambitions to cover the body, hygiene, skin care and makeup categories.’
Deep knowledge of African beauty
The research activity in South Africa started in 2003 with an evaluation centre focused on consumer knowledge and product assessment. The mission of the brand new R&I Centre is to translate beauty needs and hair and skin knowledge into innovative products ranging from hair care, hair colourants, relaxers and shapers to personal hygiene.
Within the centre, cutting edge instruments to visualise the skin surface, the spots or to measure hair breakage and rigorous protocols are used daily to assess the technical, functional and sensorial benefits of the products. The key areas will be skin evenness, sebum, acne, dryness, hair manageability, sensitive scalp and the fine tuning of fragrances.
The new R&I Cente will also cooperate with the African scientific ecosystem, universities, dermatologists, natural biodiversity centres as well as hairdressers.
Innovating for the African consumer
L’Oréal has already introduced key beauty innovations for African consumers. For example, the African beauty brands team has brought to the market black oil technology for hair colour, failsafe relaxers as well as skin evenness routines. In addition, customised products such as hair food and makeup fully adapted to African skin tones are already offered to sub-Saharan consumers.a