Cosmetics sales in China are forecast to exceed $40 billion by 2021, surpassing the U.S. as the world's biggest market for makeup and skin care.
L'Oréal started growing Caucasian skin cells decades ago in Europe, but it wasn't until 2005 that scientists at its EpiSkin subsidiary in Lyon, France, achieved similar success with reconstructed Chinese skin. EpiSkin's Chinese unit opened in 2014, and scientists there developed the reconstructed skin for use domestically. At its 20,000-square-foot research facility in Shanghai, lab workers add drops of test ingredients to the gelatinlike reconstructed skin and peer through microscopes at the cellular processes that ensue. The results of those interactions are then used to tailor the ingredients in creams, lotions, and shampoos for locals.