L'Oréal has opened its Global Hair Research Centre, a facility in Paris Saint-Ouen that will lead its network of six regional research and innovation (R&I) centres around the world and serve as the headquarters for the international departments on hair color, hair care and hair styling.
One of the largest investments in L'Oreal's R&I history, the 25,000m² Centre hosts 500 employees. These include chemists, physico-chemists, opticians, materials scientists, metrologists, rheologists, computer scientists and statisticians. The facility offers automation, modelling and sensory evaluation.
Robots mimic product applications on hair or prepare time-saving formulae. To date, the automatic weighing robot has weighed nearly one million coloring samples for approximately 100,000 formulae that require testing.
Original numerical modelling tools using already acquired data evaluate virtual formulae so that only those most likely to meet consumer needs are to be developed.
Besides their scientifically proven technical efficacy, products also generate emotions. To measure the emotional components of product performance, the facility has developed sensory evaluation expertise carried out by 50 expert technicians and established procedures which monitor consumers' actions and record their feelings.
All the information collected at this facility and the six regional R&I centres, is fed back into the hair innovation processes. 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 centres are located in Japan, China, India, USA, Brazil and in Saint-Ouen for Europe. The six regional hair centres also have a dual mission: interpreting the innovation strategies identified by the Saint-Ouen facility 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