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The Science of Innovation
By: Alexandra Voigt
Posted: June 5, 2009, from the June 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
Living Proof’s debut product line evolved out of the discovery of the polyfluoroester molecule, which adheres tightly to the hair to provide longer-lasting moisture resistance and rebalancing of the hair fiber’s interaction with the atmosphere, even after extreme humidity.
“The measure of success for this company is not the ability to make claims or justify to a legal group what I can and cannot say on a package, but rather to provide results the consumer can see from across the room.”—Rob Robillard
Two new product lines have stepped outside of the traditional beauty box and embraced a different approach to product development: the science behind it. For the companies that have created these lines, the science was developed at a place not traditionally associated with beauty: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.
Living Proof was created to bring a technological innovation to the beauty industry. That ideal extended to all areas of the company, and resulted in the unlikely partnering of a beauty industry veteran with a renowned scientist. Living Proof named 15-year beauty industry executive Rob Robillard chief executive officer, pairing him with Robert Langer, institute professor at MIT and founder of Langer Labs.
“The company was created to tackle big [beauty] problems. Everything created by the company would be composed of new materials. It had to be something you’ve never seen before; it would be patented, it would be proprietary and, most importantly, it would be designed to solve the problem at hand,” explains Robillard. “It’s also important to note that none of the scientists on the team came from the beauty industry. [The company founders] wanted everything to be fresh.”
Living Proof’s debut product line, No Frizz, was created to tackle the problem of frizzy hair. “When creating the product, the team took a very ‘Langer Lab’ approach, which is to figure out the root cause of the problem: why is it happening, is there a material way to fix it and what is the best way to fix it utilizing new materials and approaches,” Robillard explains.