L'Oréal has recently opened a new research centre in Chicago in the US which it claims will be the first in the world uniquely dedicated to studying the skin and hair of different ethnic groups.
Named the L'Oréal Institute for Ethnic Hair & Skin Research, the centre's first major project is said to be centred on characterising the chemical and physical properties of African hair. The goal of this research is to better classify hair according to fibre structure so that the performance of hair relaxers currently on the market can be improved, said the company in a statement. Other projects are set to investigate skin care problems unique to people of colour, such as pigment and scarring disorders.
Inaugurated by Lindsay Owen-Jones, L'Oreal's chairman and CEO, the institute is located in a building in South Chicago. According to L'Oreal there are currently around 30 researchers, chemists, physicists, biologists and dermatologists on staff, although the number is expected to grow in the near future.
The institute is also the first, according to L'Oreal, to take advantage of the synergy created by combining basic research, product development and testing salon all under one roof. Ideas can flow easily among the different departments.
"Product development is not the Institute's only focus. The center will generate two types of information. Any information leading to the development of new products will be proprietary, but educating physicians and consumers is also one of our primary goals" explained Dr. Victoria Holloway, director of the research institute.
Holloway added that: "This institute is symbolic of L'Oréal's commitment to science as well as our commitment to making cutting-edge advances in research and development for ethnic hair and skin."
Consumers of different ethnic origins have specific skin and hair care needs that require products especially formulated for them. L'Oréal claims it's acquisition of the Soft-Sheen/Carson brand, a world leader in skin and hair care for Black women, has greatly expanded the group's activities in this market sector.