"The Chinese consumer is the most demanding in the world in almost all our product categories," Sanford Browne, Vice President for Research and Innovation at L'Oréal China Co.
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.
One example: Researchers have used the samples to test the whitening effect of white peony—a fixture in Chinese herbal medicine—to develop skin-lightening products. There's also the Pollution Box, which fills with smog as locks of Chinese hair sway inside, to help study the amount of particles clinging to the strands. The tests helped create a line of antipollution shampoo and cleansers and a variety of skin brighteners.
The names of L'Oréal's Chinese best-sellers may be the same as in Europe, but the formulas are different. Its Revitalift brand in Europe promises to give Caucasian women fullness around the cheeks, which hollow out with age. By comparison, Chinese faces grow rounder with age, so the product's mainland version is reformulated to focus on restoring skin elasticity.

Since the establishment of EpiSkin's operation in Shanghai, L'Oréal has created something of a reconstructed-skin supply chain that also provides the material to universities and researchers free of charge and sells it to other cosmetics companies.

'Many mainland buyers, have told our researchers that they are willing to pay for it, but have to see a real benefit, and it has to be designed for them." Sanford Browne


IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE: