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L'Oréal announced the inauguration of its Global Hair Research Centre, located in Paris Saint-Ouen, France. The center’s research and innovation (R&I) programs is exclusively dedicated to the hair care profession, including hair coloring, hair care (shampoos, conditioners), styling, (sprays, gels, waxes) and perms, smoothing or straightening.
The center represents a €100 million investment by L'Oréal, and the 25,000-square-meter location will host 500 employees, including chemists, materials scientists, rheologists, computer scientists, statisticians and more. Its architecture and amenities are designed to foster collaborative spaces conducive to sharing and skills, and to support the innovation flow, ambitious tools allow researchers to explore the possibilities offered by the science of formulation and evaluation.
The center also uses original numerical modeling tools utilizing already-acquired data to evaluate virtual formulas so only those most likely to meet consumer needs are to be developed. And to supplement their proven technical efficacy, products will also be researched for their ability to generate emotions. To measure the emotional components of product performance, the research center has developed sensory evaluation expertise carried out by 50 technicians and established procedures that monitor consumers' actions and record their feelings. All the information thus collected in this global center—and the six regional centers—is fed back into the hair innovation processes.
The Global Hair Research Centre at Saint Ouen is the head of a network of six R&I regional centers, and the headquarters for the company’s international departments of hair color, hair care and hair styling. These department heads define the innovation strategy for each type of hair treatment worldwide and manage the worldwide innovation portfolio. The six R&I regional centers are located in Japan, China, India, the U.S., Brazil and in Saint-Ouen for Europe. The regional hair centers also have a dual mission: interpreting the innovation strategies identified by the Saint Ouen research center and tailoring them to the specific features of their markets, as well as inventing new products that meet local consumers' needs. These local innovations may also be internationalized via a reverse innovation deployment process.
Thus, the new Global Hair Research Centre and the six regional centers contribute to the development of new sources of growth, and as such to L'Oréal’s strategic target of gaining one billion new consumers. Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal, said, "The Saint Ouen research center 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."