In order to meet consumers’ highly diverse expectations concerning the beauty of their hair, L’Oréal unveiled its Global Hair Research Center in March 2012, located at Saint-Ouen in Paris. The center’s Research & Innovation (R&I) program relates exclusively to the hair businesses, namely Dyeing, Hair Care (shampoos and conditioners) and “Shaping”, which covers styling (lacquers, gels and waxes), perming, straightening and relaxing.
A one hundred million euro investment
Constituting one of the largest investments in the history of research at L’Oréal, the 25,000 square meters center accommodates 500 staff, from chemists, physical chemists and opticians to materials specialists, metrologists, rheologists, computer specialists and statisticians. With an architecture and layout that places the emphasis on collaborative spaces conducive to skill sharing and transfer, this research center provides its staff with the methods and tools of tomorrow, within a pleasing and high-quality environment.
Pioneering technology in terms of automation, modeing and sensorial evaluation
To support the flow of innovation, ambitious tools allow the researchers to widen their exploration of the countless possibilities offered by the science of formulation and evaluation. For instance, robots mimic product applications on swatches or prepare formulas to save time.
Original digital modeling tools enable the data already acquired to be used to evaluate virtual formulations, so that only those which have the best chance of meeting consumer expectations are actually developed. Apart from their scientifically demonstrated technical efficiency, our products generate emotion and, in order to measure this component, the Research Center has developed expertise in sensorial evaluation courtesy of around fifty expert technicians and protocols that monitor the gestures of consumers and collate their feelings.
At the vanguard of a global network
As the global linchpin of a network of six regional R&I hubs, the center houses the international divisions of the hair businesses, namely dyeing, care and shaping. Based in Saint-Ouen, they define the innovation strategy for each business worldwide and coordinate the global portfolio of innovations. The six regional R&I centers are located in Japan, China, India, the United States, Brazil and, for Europe, at Saint-Ouen. These regional hubs’ hair laboratories also have a dual role: to interpret the innovation strategies proposed by the global center and adapt them to the particularities of their market in order to invent new products that meet local consumers’ expectations. These local innovations may then be internationalized via a global deployment process known as reverse innovation.
All-round consideration for the environment
In order to quantify the building’s performance, L’Oréal has relied on an HQE procedure designed to ensure healthy and comfortable buildings which are more environmentally friendly than other buildings of the same generation. At Saint-Ouen, fifteen environmental criteria have been entered into the equation in order to describe and assess the center’s qualities, including the building’s relationship with its environment, the choice of materials, the management of water and energy, the health quality of the air and water, plus the levels of visual, acoustic and olfactory comfort.
This building boasts an excellent set of technical environmental performance ratings which have been recognized by CERTIVEA*. Several achievements are worthy of special emphasis:
- Particular attention has been paid to the building’s design in order to maximize the benefit from daylight and sunshine and to ensure the serenity of local residents
- The building benefits from district heating
- 335% of the hot water is produced via solar panels
- The premises’ incoming air is preheated by recovering energy from the extracted air
- The premises benefit from excellent natural light, while at the same time maintaining outstanding heat insulation
- The offices’ artificial lighting is linked to the level of external light and the presence of persons
- The façades are equipped with external gangways which provide protection from the sun and facilitate maintenance
- The cavity ceilings absorb noise, making the open-plan offices more pleasant to work in
- The planted terraces improve the view for local residents, permit the storage of overabundant rain water and offer significant insulation benefits
- Rain water is collected to water the green spaces
- Finally, in order to encourage the least polluting forms of travel, L’Oréal has introduced a Company Travel Plan (Plan de Déplacement Entreprise - PDE) to encourage the use of public transport and car-sharing by staff.
CERTIVEA is a body authorized to develop and manage the “NF tertiary buildings HQE procedure”
- 25,000 square meters
- 500 employees
- 100 millions euros invested
For more information on this topic, see the GRI data sheets: