Our first interview partner is Alexandre Lapeyre. Alexandre is the Global Head of Marketing Active Ingredients from Clariant and an expert in active ingredients. You may have heard him speak at one of the  technical seminars at In-cosmetics Global

In this edition of #AskTheExpert you will learn more about:

  • Starting a career in the personal care industry
  • Creating a “well-being” claim for personal care products
  • The role that environmental consciousness plays in skin care
  • Using the Korean & Japanese beauty markets as inspiration to drive product development
  • How digitalization influences skin care products

Q: Hi Alexandre, Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about active ingredients. First question: What’s your favorite personal care product?

A: My favorite personal care product is a shower gel called The Ritual of Sakura Shower Foam by Rituals. It is a shower gel which turns into a very soft mousse when it comes into physical contact with water. In addition, it provides a silky after feel to the skin and is very moisturizing.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you end up working with consumer care ingredients?

A: I’ve always been passionate about fragrance and perfumes from a consumer standpoint, but I’m even more interested in the raw material aspect -- specifically what interests me now are natural extracts and how the quality of cultivation and geography can impact the smell of the plants.

That’s why I obtained a Master’s Degree in process engineering at the Ecole des Mines d’Albi in France. This enabled me to master manufacturing processes, and it gave me the opportunity to work for big French suppliers of raw materials for fragrances: V.Mane.Fils and Biolandes

After this, I decided to focus on how to sell ideas and fragrance concepts to consumers by enrolling in the International Management for Fragrance and Cosmetics specialized master’s program at Essec Business School. This is when I discovered cosmetics products and learned that fragrance is just one element of a larger product that needs to be elaborated precisely to get sold at the speed you want. And this is when I discovered active ingredients.

Q: You work for Clariant Active Ingredients. Can you please explain what active ingredients are and why they are so popular in the personal care industry?

A: Active ingredients are products, molecules, and extracts that can provide benefits to the skin through biological activity. They provide the creams and lotions we use with claims you might be familiar with such as moisturizing, anti-aging, soothing, etc. This is why active ingredients are so important and popular. If you buy a cosmetics products for its claims stating “reduces the appearance of wrinkles”, and after one month you cannot see the benefit, then you will probably stop using it and look for a new one. This means that the efficacy was insufficient and that the active ingredient not performant enough. And that’s really why active ingredients matter.

Q: Do you see any claims customers are asking more for?

A: Well-being is clearly an area of focus for consumers. They are looking to feel better and this can be translated via many marketing and scientific concepts.

One good example that has generated a high level of interest is the synchronization of your rhythm and how your skin gets desynchronized through stressful lifestyles and the environment. We developed a solution, B-Circadin™, that resynchronizes your skin and makes you feel better by fighting the signs of fatigue in just 4 days.

These concepts are making the cosmetics industry consider more holistic aspects such as understanding consumers’ feelings.

Q: What do you think are some of the key aspects that will change the personal care industry in the next years?

A: We’ve witnessed several trends that have been growing for several years. An increasing level of environmental consciousness has heavily influenced the industry. Everyone has become more aware of what is good or not for the planet and how a product, including an active ingredient, should be developed properly -- with environmental concerns in mind.

The growth of an aging population and the need to feel good is a major constituent of how our world is evolving and this is also driving the cosmetics industry. At the same time, we see new generations emerging with higher standards for living. Therefore the cosmetics industry has to adapt to these two generations and their respective concerns.In a digital world where instant visualization of things is more and more important, beauty concerns are rising constantly and new cosmetics solutions are developed to deliver a perfect skin complexion with zero flaws.

Q: Do you believe digital solutions/platforms will change how companies interact with each other in the personal care industry?

A: The industry today is so big that digitalization will bring solutions to ease the search for information and other challenges. Many digital platforms have already transformed industries that we thought were going to be around forever -- for example Airbnb disrupting the hotel business and Uber the taxi companies. And this will, of course, occur in the cosmetics industry, where innovation is key and being the first to market novel positionings and discoveries is becoming increasingly crucial. Active ingredients fuel the latter and will, therefore, play an increasingly important role -- on and offline. 

Q:What do you think distinguishes the European active ingredient market from other regions? We are especially curious about your thoughts on Korea and Japan

A: Making cosmetics products that are globally accepted is not possible. Needs for different textures, fragrances, and other aspects are well known. We are faced with the same regional differences when it comes to active ingredients. Europe is a mature market that is very much influenced by innovation in molecules and performance. In Asia for example, this is a bit different, because even though these markets are looking for performance, they are also really influenced by their history and rely a lot on, for example, Traditional Chinese Medicine, as proof of performance in consumers’ minds. That does not prevent innovation to happen, but the way it is addressed is different. 

What’s interesting is that within Asia we see Korea and Japan as leaders and sources of inspiration for the European market since what happens in this market is also influencing what is being launched in Europe or North America. Korean and Japanese skin care products have incredible textures with very interesting marketing stories that push the boundaries of communication that are known in Europe. And active ingredients can help convey these messages, so we are always interested in these markets and trends in order to keep a step ahead of what the other markets might expect.

Q:What’s your favorite thing about Covalo?

A: Covalo is a platform that can be personalized according to what you are looking for. Since there are so many filters and functionalities, you can use it in many ways to find what you truly need. You can make this platform speak the way you need so that it replies to your own questions. The adaptability and flexibility of the tool make it stand out from the crowd.

That’s it from our first #AskTheExpert interview about active ingredients. What do you think? Were these insights helpful? 

Please share this with your colleagues by clicking one of the social media like or share buttons above, and remember to leave a comment. We love hearing from our readers!

Also, Covalois always looking for interview partners who want to share their knowledge and thoughts about the personal care industry. If you are interested in being featured in our  #AsktheExpert series, send us a message.

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