From serums that promises skin brightening in just 14 days, to the mask that will completely rejuvenate your complexion, it can be tricky to work out from these bold claims which products actually deliver, and which are more ‘fake beauty news’.
Fortunately, in our age of instant information, armed with objective and informative product reviews – from live Instagram videos and YouTube tutorials to detailed blog posts and magazine columns – we can access information on everything from the origin of ingredients to how effective the product is. Meaning beauty brands need to work even harder to deliver on their promises and create effective products that really work.
One brand taking the demands of its consumers very seriously is L’Oréal Paris. Its Commitment Charter, which has governed how it has operated for the last 30 years, outlines a clear protocol for product development to ensure both efficacy and safety of all products.
“Our customers put a lot of trust in us by using our products, so we have a responsibility to repay that. Not only does a product need to be safe but it needs to work – it’s no good having a product that is totally safe but doesn’t deliver the results you expect,” says Dr Steve Shiel, scientific director at L’Oréal Paris.
Every product that is put on the market by L’Oreal Paris is tested no less than 600 times for safety on different skin types, including sensitive skinDr Steve Shiel, scientific director, L’Oréal Paris
So, what steps does a new L’Oréal Paris product have to go through before it hits shelves and lands in your bathroom, and how exactly is its formula tested?
“We have a very rigorous process at L’Oreal Paris that starts with our toxicology expert,” explains Dr Shiel. “This looks at all of the published data about particular ingredients and how they combine together. Then we move to tolerance testing on Episkin [a lab-made reconstruction of human skin (grown from human skin cells) on which products are tested]. Once we have a satisfactory result there, we move to dermatologically controlled tests on humans where we study how people react to our products in real-life situations.”
At this stage, every product that is put on the market by L’Oreal Paris is tested no less than 600 times for safety on different skin types, including sensitive skin. Dr Shiel explains that this is then followed with performance tests that check the efficacy of a new product.
“We do this in two ways: either we give people products that they can take home and use over a period of time before rating them; or we do clinical testing on a group of people in a more controlled environment.
We’ve been working on Episkin since the mid to late 1970s and it’s allowed us to test products and ingredients on what is effectively human skinDr Steve Shiel, scientific director, L’Oréal Paris
“Typically, our test subjects would come into a lab where measures would be taken of their skin by a dermatologist. They’ll then use the product at home and come back at set points to have those measurements taken again. We send them product that is blind, so they don’t know what is being tested, nor do the consumers using them. This ensures there’s no bias,” he adds.
What’s the future for cosmetic research, then, and what can you expect from industry giants such as L’Oréal?
“As new methods become available, our ability to test more accurately will continue to improve,” Dr Shiel explains. “We’ve been working on Episkin since the mid to late 1970s and it’s allowed us to test products and ingredients on what is effectively human skin. It is these advances in technology that are allowing us to make this a larger part of what we do.”
L’Oréal Paris is demonstrating its commitment to safety through its Commitment Charter – a pledge to harness the most advanced technology to create products with the highest levels of safety, skin tolerance, efficacy and scientific rigour.
All of which goes towards creating beauty products with proven results that you can trust to take care of your skin at every age and stage.
For more information on L’Oréal Paris’s dedicated skincare ranges and the research behind them, visit loreal-paris.co.uk