How we evaluate the safety of our products

L'Oréal Answers

© Matteo for L'Oréal Research

L'Oréal Answers

© Matteo for L'Oréal Research

We never compromise on the quality and safety of our products and this remains a fundamental commitment to beauty-care professionals and consumers. We have an international expert team (toxicologists, physicians) who implement the most stringent regulatory safety standards within our industry. The approach, which is implemented in 4 stages, is initiated during product design and pursued throughout the duration of product marketing.

1. In-depth knowledge of raw materials: The safety evaluation of a product always begins with a detailed knowledge of each of the raw materials and substances used in its composition. The aim is to make available raw materials that are perfectly defined with respect to their chemical composition and quality, including the potential presence of trace elements. A perfect understanding of the raw material enables complete synthesis of all the available scientific and toxicological data (in silico expert systems, in vitro test integrated strategies, accumulated toxicological, clinical and cosmetic safety monitoring data) for each substance or related substances. Thus the hazards associated with each raw material are mapped. The analysis also enables determination of an adverse effect-free dose.

2. Assessment of the risk associated with raw materials: This stage is one of the most essential in safety assessment. The stage consists in weighting the intrinsic hazard of each raw material or substance by a set of key parameters which will enable safe use in the finished product. The weighting factors, which are related to the exposure of the human body, incorporate, first and foremost, the product category. The product may be a product that is rinsed off (shampoo) or not rinsed off after use (facial care), applied to the whole body (body milk) or to a small area of the body (mascara). The weighting factors also include the frequency of product use and certain consumer characteristics (children, sensitive skins, contact-lens wearers), which impose certain restrictions. Following this stage, a maximum concentration for use of each raw material or substance in the product is determined. In order to ensure a wide safety margin for the consumer, the concentrations in the finished product are always at least 100 times lower than the no-effect dose.

3. Confirmation of product safety: We confirm finished product safety under the normal or foreseeable conditions of use in order to detect the smallest objective sign or discomfort for the future consumer. Thanks to a proprietary expert system, we first conduct an analysis comparing our new product with our extensive existing clinical database. If necessary, we subject our new products to complementary in vitro safety tests and clinical trials conducted on healthy volunteers constituting particular consumer groups (contact-lens wearers, sensitive skins, etc.). The studies are always conducted in third party specialized centers and are undertaken in a very strict methodological and ethical framework. When this last stage has been successfully completed, the safety assessor is in a position to finalize and sign the product safety report, which will then be included in the regulatory dossier on the product.

4. Marketed product monitoring: We strictly monitor the safety of our products for consumers as of first marketing. In order to do so, we have set up an international cosmetic safety monitoring network which collects and analyzes the adverse events occurring after use of our products and reported by consumers or healthcare professionals. After in-depth study of the potential causal relationship with our products, we may sometimes decide to adjust product composition to correct certain untoward effects, even if they are very benign, in order to ensure that consumers use our products with every confidence.