January 29, 2014

Art
& Sciences

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Before a new cosmetic product is launched on the market, and even before the industrialization process begins, it has already spent several months in development. It is in the laboratories of LVMH Research, the R&D division of LVMH, that the needs pinpointed by the group’s various fragrance and cosmetics brands are transformed into relevant solutions. Here, we focus on this upstream conception phase using the example of Dreamskin, a groundbreaking new global anti-aging treatment from Parfums Christian Dior, which is based on research into skin aging.

The starting point of any product development process is a brief from the marketing department. For Dreamskin, the mission was to create a “perfect skin formula with a bare skin sensation”, which would also have an in-depth action. The research ethic of Parfums Christian Dior sets three preconditions: a benefit perceived by the customer, an action measured by the laboratories, a result confirmed by a dermatologist, thus ensuring that the formula delivers on its promises and is chosen by the customer ahead of rival products. During the marketing brief, requests concerning the texture and the packaging of the future product are shared with LVMH Research. This is because the end formulation will be different for a cream than for a lotion, for example. Consistency with the DNA of the brand in question is another key consideration at this early stage, ensuring a high level of confidentiality within LVMH Research.

Following this initial expression of a need comes a period known as “maturation”, during which several possible directions emerge. It is at this stage that the selection of ingredients begins, including plant extracts from the Dior Gardens, as well as exclusive, high-quality molecules specifically developed for the brand. The selection process is particularly stringent, and must respect a whole array of quality and traceability conditions. After several more consultations with the marketing department and the cosmetic evaluation center, the development process proper can start.

A formulation expert is responsible for developing trial formulas. This is painstakingly detailed, delicate work whose objective is to strike the perfect balance between pleasure, stability and efficacy. These three dimensions are inseparable: the sensorial dimension is key, but must always be cultivated so as to enhance efficacy. The product benefits must be immediately visible, but also validated over the long term. No wonder that, at Parfums Christian Dior, formulation is described as an art. On average, it takes between two and six months of non-stop vigilance to achieve complete satisfaction.

In the case of Dreamskin, the backbone of the formula is a unique complex of biomimetic powders, combined with “Opilia”, an ingredient identified and developed by researchers at the Dior Gardens. The demands were so high that it took 300 trials and multiple exchanges with the in-house cosmetic evaluation center to develop this revolutionary product. Successfully rising to the formulation challenge depended on true teamwork, and involved the full range of complementary skills and know-how of the R&D department.

Finally, in order to optimize tolerance, a series of clinical tests is performed on a sample of 50 to 100 people. Consumer tests are also conducted to provide feedback on the perception of the product. It is only once the product has successfully negotiated all these hurdles that the green light is given for production on an industrial scale to begin. The process is fine-tuned on a 500 g quantity, then on 50 kg, before full-scale production is launched – an industrial consideration that is taken into account right at the start of the project, and about which you can discover more tomorrow on our website.

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