L’Oréal Group, the world’s largest cosmetics company, continues its dominance with a mix of products and innovation in hair care and color, skin care, sun protection, make-up and perfumes, while continuing research in dermatology, toxicology, tissue engineering and biopharmaceutical research.
Ever at the edge of innovation in a category selling ephemeral beauty, over the years France-based L’Oréal brand has developed breakthrough products such as Episkin, a reconstructed skin model as an alternative to animal testing and more closely replicating human results.
The company is the No. 1 nanotechnology patent-holder in the US, with 497 filed in 2015. Its use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials is applied to moisturizers, hair care products and sunscreen. Nanocapsules have been used to deliver ingredients like Vitamin A and retinol into deeper layers of the skin.
L’Oreal has partnered with bioprinting startup Organovo to print 3D living, breathing derma. The company also invested in the Founders Factory, a global multisector digital accelerator and incubator as exclusive partner for investments in beauty tech startups worldwide. L’Oréal and Founders Factory will invest and scale five early stage startups and co-create two new companies from scratch every year.
In July, L’Oreal acquired IT Cosmetics for $1.2 billion—its largest acquisition in eight years—bringing in-house more than 300 skin-care and makeup products. The company unveiled its own Makeup Genius App.
As the skin-tech markets explodes, L’Oréal unveiled at CES My UV Patch, the first stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure developed by its lead dermatological skincare brand, La Roche-Posay. The flexible transparent patch adhesive adheres directly to the skin, measuring one square inch and 50 micrometers thick, half the thickness of an average strand of hair. A heart-shape on the patch changes color when exposed to UV rays, signaling levels of sun exposure.
L’Oréal has made significant progress since its 2014 commitment to reduce use of plastic microbeads used as exfoliating agents in its products, and to gradually phase them out completely. To date, 80 percent of the plan has been completed and 100 percent of its rinsed-off products will be reformulated by the end of 2016.
Active on social media, L’Oréal USA launched Beaumoji, a messaging keyboard with 130 on-trend emojis and an emoji design contest for fans via #BeaumojiContest. With the beta launch of Coursera for Business online in August, L’Oréal was among the first to sign up.
Analysts forecast the global organic skin care products market to grow at a CAGR of more than 10 percent between now and 2020 as the need for organic anti-aging products skyrockets. Aging baby boomers—those above 65—are the fastest growing segment in society and constitutes 8 percent of the total global population. The rise in this cohort alone is a strong traffic driver for the market.
Founded in 1909, the French company that also houses Yves Saint Laurent and Garnier employs 82,900 people in 140 countries. Navigating a legacy brand in a digital world with a product as changeable as the day, L’Oréal remains true to its signature advertising phrase, “Because I’m Worth It,” reinforcing innate beauty built on confidence and charisma.