CosmeticOBS - L'Observatoire des cosmétiques
Nov. 18, 2015Creators

Yannick de Roeck-Holtzhauer, Mrs. 100&nbsp000 volts from the cosmetics industry Add to my portfolio
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Why a contribution dedicated to Madame de Roeck? Because some people have laid the foundations of scientific and university cosmetics and, as time goes by, their contribution, often decisive, is forgotten. The Nantes-based band is one of the first bands to appear in France with Lyon and Paris, and it seemed obvious to us to remind ourselves of this. Madame de Roeck, who initiated it, also deserves to be remembered. Cécile Couteau, lecturer at the UFR de Pharmacie de Nantes, shares this story with us. Jean Claude Le Joliff.

Reading time : ~ 16 minutes

Madame de Roeck, it was a man's first name that opened the doors of environments still marked by misogyny floating in the ambient air, memorable suits, in leather or turquoise blue suede, shoes in the shape of a china, in matching colours, sweaters no less extraordinary style Anny Blatt, blond hair raised in"choucroute bun", a square jaw signing a character well soaked… Such are the characteristic elements which remain in memory of any person whose steps crossed, one day, those of the famous professor.

It all started in 1935 for Yannick Holtzhauer. One fine day in 1935, the fairies leaned over his cradle generously offering him intelligence, a fierce will and the art of seducing his interlocutor, whoever he is. A few years later, in admiration of her central father, the little girl with long curly hair promised herself to make him proud by achieving an exemplary career. A lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Nantes - Anne Alliot, not to mention her - confided to us, many years later, that their families were related and that she heard very early about this"phenomenon" called Yannick. His brother frequently played with the mischievous little girl he had fun locking in a closet after proclaiming:"She is stupid… But she is stupid…". Not as silly as that, replied Mr. Alliot visionary:"You will see, Yannick, later… she will surprise you…". Indeed, Yannick's career did not fail to surprise more than one, thereafter.

Baccalaureate degree, pharmacy studies at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Nantes, thesis in the service of Professor Le Pollez: everything looks pretty good for this young girl from the Nantes bourgeoisie who soon passes from the faculty benches to the lecturer's desk. Admittedly, teaching attracts him, but it is above all research that finds value in his eyes. The young girl is determined to stand out from the crowd. This will not be done smoothly… as we can see by reading these lines. The Galenic Pharmacy department was too small for the young woman's personality, who found Michel Rouzet to be a strong opponent. Between the two teachers, a battle begins… There will, it seems, neither winner, nor loser. The service explodes, each one goes his own way, making his own life. Michel Rouzet remains the sole master aboard the Galenic Pharmacy department. Yannick, for her part, opens a new page in the Faculty by founding the Laboratory of Industrial Pharmacy and Cosmetology. "Separated from bodies", the two teachers put distance between them… the galenic pharmacy remains in the city centre, the industrial pharmacy goes green on the science campus in a sort of prefabricated building site. From that time on, the pharmacist was interested in cosmetology, a field judged by many of her colleagues who giggle in the hallways, summing up the discipline as just good fun for"beauticians". However, she does not cut bridges with the pharmaceutical field since, during the"divorce" with Michel Rouzet, she managed to negotiate the 1st year courses of pharmaceutical studies in galenic pharmacy (she drops the practical work without great resistance), the courses of homeopathy and veterinary pharmacy. Responsible for the pharmacy of St Jacques Hospital in Nantes, expert in the courts, the young woman, who is now assisted by her husband, an engineer by training, Hervé de Roeck, is determined to leave her mark in the cosmetic field. She turns, indeed, deliberately, towards this environment where everything remains to be done. In this perspective, it creates diplomas that will train technicians and executives for the cosmetics industry. With the help of her in-house engineer, she develops techniques to highlight the effectiveness of cosmetic products. A (ceramic…) toothbrushing machine to quantify the more or less abrasive power of toothpastes, a useful profilometer to determine the depth of wrinkles trapped in a silicone impression… So many ingenious devices that made the visitor smile and terrified the trainee who, inadvertently opening a cupboard, were facing an army of threatening dentures!

Laurence Coiffard, who arrived at the laboratory in 1987 as an associate assistant (a status that no longer exists today), had the mission of teaching (Yannick gradually lost the taste for teaching and increasingly delegated this mission), finalizing contracts and participating in the laboratory's research. She also accompanies the master in congresses and answers difficult questions when they arise.

The irritation tests are carried out without prejudice for the animals which will finish their life to frolic in a large garden of the Nantes vineyard (precisely in Château-Thébaud) before finishing in terrine ! Contracts are raining down. Yannick creates associations to raise funds: the CAEC (Centre Atlantique d'Études en Cosmétologie) and IRVALMER thus see pretty round sums of money passing through. At the Faculty of Pharmacy in Nantes, jealousies are exacerbated because it is not good to succeed when you have not received the approval of your peers. Yannick doesn't care much. The prefabricated Eugène Orieux Boulevard is considered too small. It is polar cold in winter and hot in summer. Researchers, technicians and trainees are crammed into a cheerful (not always!) jumble. A certain disorder reigns. The microwave oven that heats the dishes for lunch is tampered with by Hervé de Roeck to obtain essential oils by microwave, a great first of course, but you have to eat hot in winter… You have to do something before the implosion.

Yannick has two sons, Yann-Hervé and Emmanuel. The latter celebrated his baccalaureate in 1988. Paternalistic, Yannick invites me since I am Laurence's sister to celebrate the same event. This is how I meet, for the first time, Mrs 100 000 volts, between two aperitif biscuits. It will be necessary to wait until the end of my years of pharmaceutical studies for me to be confronted again with the sacred monster.

The laboratory moves to the outskirts of Nantes, to Saint-Herblain, rue du moulin de la Rousselière, on the edge of a four-lane road. The location leaves something to be desired for students who have to take several buses and finish on foot to finally arrive at the course site. The building is vast (more than 1000 m  2 ), there is room for everyone. Classrooms are available to accommodate students. A vast room of practical work in the colours of Yannick de Roeck (turquoise blue and orange straw mattresses) allows students to learn the art of formulation. CPG, HPLC, Headspace, UV and IR spectrophotometers… are used to perform the necessary dosages both for research and for contracts that do not dry up. Emmanuel haunts the place. He's the in-house computer specialist. He introduces his mother to the Internet, demonstrating its importance in terms of communication.

Both associations are operating at full capacity. Yannick hires a secretary (Céline) and a technician (Alban), by this means. The PhD students, the ATERs (Attaché Temporaire d'Enseignement et de Recherche), the trainees… everyone is shaking in front of the head of the laboratory. A real competition is set up. If you want to stay in the lab, it's worth it. Here, we want above all that there is a return on investment! In her large office on the first floor, when Mrs de Roeck calls one or the other, it is better to know her subject. Installed behind his large glazed desk, tight jaw, impeccable tailor, the great chef goes straight to the point. No need to prepare various and varied decorations, you would risk irritating Mrs. 100 000 volts. A PhD student made the expense. During his three years of thesis, he was never again summoned to the office for having lacked speed during the first interview. In order to save time, Mrs de Roeck then decided to go through an intermediary, Laurence in this case, who, at a sufficiently rapid rate, was able to indicate the progress of the thesis.

In my memory, I knew Yannick de Roeck during my three years of thesis, it is difficult to dissociate this extraordinary character from plastic bins filled with documents that followed her everywhere. Reports, publications, magazines… piled up in these bins and shuttled between the laboratory and the private home, rather private homes… because Mrs de Roeck collected houses, like Helena Rubinstein jewels or paintings of price. A house in Nantes, boulevard Jules Vernes adjoining the Plessis Tison park six months of the year, a country house in Saint-Étienne-de-Montluc for the remaining six months, two houses in Brittany (one in Lanmodez, in the Côtes-d'Armor, and the other on an island of Morbihan) for weekends iodized, an apartment in Paris for business trips. A chef's soul (everything works with the stick, the tone is such that no one wants to make humour) put at the service of a laboratory, with a real obsession: to leave an indelible mark in the cosmetic field in general and the valorization of algae and marine products in particular.

Yannick de Roeck, for all those who worked with her, it was a difficult temperament to live with every day! There are many anecdotes showing that everything had to bend before an iron will. It is also and especially, in the field that interests us, a true pioneer who has left her mark in the field. Any element heard in a conference or read in a publication inevitably gave him a host of ideas. There were only… Congresses at gogo, research in the field of marine cosmetology with the development of a database called Biotekalg, dosages by the thousands, inexhaustible ideas…

In 1999, Yannick de Roeck's health deteriorated. Nevertheless, she remains at the head of the ship. Meetings are no longer held in his office but in his car. She no longer has the strength to move. Everyone takes turns exchanging a word with her at the door of her car…

Sixteen years after his death, the image of Yannick de Roeck remains alive for all those who were formed by his hand (and they are numerous), a difficult school because the demands were strong. Meet someone who works in the industry today and knew her then, she will necessarily remember this woman with an atypical look and no less atypical requirements.

Some publications Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie (two contributions from 1975 to 1988) - Pharmacopoeias and Pharmacy in the Middle East (1975, article) - Cosmetology through the ages (1988, article)

This contribution was made by Céline Couteau.

Céline Couteau was born on January 2, 1970 in Nantes. She arrives on the benches of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Nantes, scientific baccalaureate in pocket, in September 1988, without suspecting that she will make career there one day next. A marked interest for the galenic aspects related to the profession of pharmacist, a thesis of practice having as subject Liposomes: experimental models and therapeutic applications (these are then very fashionable in the cosmetics industry), a DEA internship carried out in the laboratories Reckitt & Colman (Barbara Gould) with as finality the valorization of beet pectins for gelling purposes, a doctoral thesis (1994 - 1999) at the Laboratory of Industrial Pharmacy and Cosmetology, under the direction of Professor Yannick de Roeck, having as theme the"". Study of the thermo and photostability of intense sweeteners in dilute aqueous solution" Céline Couteau's university career: Céline Couteau's various stages make her discover different facets of the cosmetic world. After holding several positions between 1999 and 2004 in the Industrial Pharmacy and Cosmetology laboratory, she was appointed Associate Professor in 2004. In 2009, she obtained her Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (HDR) by exposing the interest of the methods in vitro in terms of determining the effectiveness of sunscreen products ( Solar products: determination of efficiency by methods in vitro - Screening of molecules or extracts of interest ). Since then, she divides her time between teaching, the responsibility of the Professional License Cosmetology Specialty, research (the theme of the laboratory concerns the theme Skin and Sun) and writing.

And besides, Mrs. Watercolor!

Yannick de Roeck Holtzhauer (1935 - 1999), University Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Nantes, left a collection of thirty-seven watercolours representing algae . For each painting, she chose the subject on site, picked it up or picked it up, and drew it in watercolour. She then entered the name after consulting reference works and often algologists, but sometimes their opinions diverged. Here are some boards. They're all signed.

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