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Lab Lessons—Wise Words From the Bench With Claudie Willemin
By: Rachel Grabenhofer
Posted: September 4, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Claudie Willemin, L’Oréal
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What are some of your greatest challenges and achievements?
My biggest challenge was being in charge of launching the first sun care range for the new brand Solar Expertise—L’Oréal Paris. [Regarding achievement], at a supplier company, I developed an innovative grade of titanium dioxide and built the right scientific arguments [for it]. I was convinced that the product was new and innovative, and this opened a new window of opportunity for formulations: a product able to be incorporated into spray formulations. This resulted in market share augmentation, and I am very proud to have contributed directly to this success.
If you could give one message to the industry, what would it be?
I would like to convince the industry that the creation of new products in response to new challenges such as the protection of biodiversity, water footprint, benefit sharing, regulation and thinking out of the box are factors to progress. For example, rather than dismissing synthetic chemicals as bad, operate a shift to green chemistry as an opportunity. The cosmetic industry is always growing and requires never-ending research.
What do you see on the horizon for the industry in general?
Even in this fluctuating economy, customers still enjoy buying cosmetic products and when choosing their brands, [they] need to perceive pleasure as well as a product that will increase their self confidence. A new field is now open to understand all the mechanisms, i.e., biological and psychological, involved in [this] sense of “well-being”. [This is] a new tendency.
What is the next step for the industry?
Since innovation is at the heart of our industry, it relies on science, new ingredients, formulation, process and evaluation, and sensorial perception in particular. Formulation will be a way to innovate. It will require a strong knowledge of physico-chemistry, a good understanding of the ingredient interactions, and synergistic activities management to optimize the formulation for the right efficacy.
If you could give one piece of advice to a novice formulator, what would it be?
Young formulators need to be open-minded and awake their senses. Since knowledge advances quickly, they should be prepared to be flexible and learn every day.