CosmeticOBS - L'Observatoire des cosmétiques
Oct. 24, 2013Focus on French Launches

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The Observatory of Cosmetics

Thanks to the Internet and computer bioengineering, tailor-made care is now truly tailor-made! Will they finally take off? Zoom in on the cosmetic news of the week by Ariane Le Febvre.

Reading time : ~ 10 minutes

Many women are not satisfied with the care available on the market. We are well aware of this: each skin is unique and deserves special care. What's more, an"evolutionary" care whose formula is not fixed but adapts to our lifestyle, the seasons, the environment, the level of stress… This is the great luxury of course, and we are already afraid of the price it will cost us. However, with the Internet, which allows an accurate online diagnosis in complete confidentiality, it becomes much easier and more accessible to obtain a tailor-made facial treatment. The proposals can even be adapted to each person's budget. After Diagnoderm in the 1990s, and more recently, My Blend (developed by Doctor Olivier Courtin, son of Jacques Courtin, creator of Clarins, a luxurious brand distributed in spas like the Royal Monceau Raffles in Paris or the Hôtel de Paris in Saint-Tropez) and État Pur (at much more democratic prices!), here are the innovations of Codage, Prima-Derm and Dr Pierre Ricaud.

"Millions of combinations, only one for you": this is the Codage slogan that offers authentic tailor-made care. Because in this field, there are clearly different levels, from simplified made-to-measure (the case of My Blend and Dr Pierre Ricaud) to"Haute Couture" made-to-measure (Codage, Prima-Derm, État Pur). Is the French market mature? This is the question we are entitled to ask ourselves, because until now, tailor-made care has not met its public. In other words, real custom-made products are expensive to manufacture, time-consuming, complicated and not very profitable in the short term. It never gives rise to a purchase of impulse, presupposes education, service and individual support (one-to-one sales, as the marketing professionals say!), makes the bet of the long term and loyalty. Moreover, if it obeys a"marketing hit", it is doomed to failure, because what always makes the difference (and therefore the profitability) is the quality of the products and their personalization, as well as good word-of-mouth.

" Facial care is the most technical thing. It must follow a rational approach. This is what our expert diagnosis offers and its 22 questions which take into account of course the nature of skin, the age, the degree of sensitivity, the mapping of areas that shoot or shine… but also your relationship with the sun, your environment, your lifestyle and your stress level, in order to establish the concentrations of active ingredients and nutrients your epidermis needs. After each diagnosis, we will submit you three formulas according to your budget. As a result, 43% of our online customers buy their custom serum every three months, says Julien Azencott, co-founder (with his sister Amandine) and president of Codage. " Some of our clients ask us to develop formulas only for them, telling us for example that they are going on a three-week business trip to Southeast Asia. We adapt capacity, active ingredients, texture, fragrance desire or not to their needs. As our laboratory is on the Côte d'Azur, we even considered a treatment for the Cannes festival-goer, who celebrates a little too much and exposes himself immoderately to the sun". .

Codage really conceives formulas"in the small point" and the term of Haute Couture, so overused, is not usurped for once ! Explanations: this young French brand (created in 2007 and also distributed at Colette, Le Bon Marché or Nose in Paris) offers a real"made-to-measure" formulation service on a case-by-case basis (no stock), according to the principles of the pharmacy (masterful preparation by a pharmacy assistant). Each My Codage serum (because the brand also offers ready-to-wear formulas, all ready to wear, since 2012) is manufactured and packaged (with your initials) by hand, then shipped in one week throughout the world. We can talk about"fresh cosmetics"! Prices range from 41 to 119 €. Result: the brand recorded a growth rate of 1000 % in 2012 and is developing at high speed internationally! French know-how, mastery of formulation, love of active ingredients (the two founders have long formulated for American doctor brands), constant research for the most effective at concentrations of up to 70%, these are some of the secrets of Codage's success.

" To succeed, the system must be flexible and the formulas"open", i.e. they must integrate the latest peak assets. At the level of the questionnaire, it is better to limit the self-assessments and the number of choices, because the choice is always complicated. The more you ask the consumer (very volatile on the Internet) to get involved and decide, the more you make him/her responsible, the less you infantilize him/her and the more you distance him/her from the act of buying. I mean, don't be a little chemist. The manufacture of a skincare product is complex, some active ingredients must be heated, others integrated at a certain point in the manufacturing process… Cosmetics is a very specialized field of expertise, which must be seriously supervised. But, even if it remains a"niche" positioning, personalized cosmetics and"customization" are trendy and possess assets, such as the fact that there is no intermediary. We go directly from producer to consumer, which reduces costs, continues Julien Azencott.

Let's change the register, but not the theme with One.gen/0.1 from Prima-Derm (Spanish molecular cosmetics laboratory), which combines cosmetics and genomics and is aimed at dermatologists, aesthetic doctors and plastic surgeons. A new dimension in personalised diagnosis and care, as this time the brand offers a genetic analysis, via a saliva sample taken in a doctor's office. Thanks to advances in computer bioengineering, 35 key genetic variations called SNP ( Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms ), providing information on the predisposition of the skin to age prematurely or to present aesthetic alterations, Prima-Derm formulates predictive treatments that modulate the expression and activity of the genetic markers analyzed. Gen.boosters select an effective combination of 21 ultra-concentrated active ingredients corresponding to the specific needs of each person: wrinkles, sensitivity, cell longevity, detoxification, pigmentation and tissue structure. The"Cosmetogenomics" program also includes Gen.Peel Micro-Exfoliating Progressive Cream, Gen.Elixir Intensive Serum (soft base that will be customized with Gen.Boosters) and Gen.Sinergy, a moisturizing emulsion that creates a molecular film to protect and stimulate the penetration of active ingredients. The whole will be available by the end of the year in Paris and in January for the province, at the price of 795 € (genetic analysis + the 4 products). The restocking of the personalized care (Gen Elixir + 3 Gen Boosters) will cost, thereafter, 290 €.

Less complex, MaCrèmeSurMesure™ by Dr Pierre Ricaud (50 ml, 70 €) will allow, from November, to create his personalized care on Internet, in institute or by telephone. A skin diagnosis (composed of 8 simple questions) identifies the base (fine or creamy texture) and the 3 specific active ingredients (among eight) that correspond to each. Simply incorporate them into the cream, one after the other, while mixing well between each dose, using the appropriate spatula. Then write the date of preparation on the label at the base of the jar, peel the labels off the concentrates and stick them on the back of the jar. This step is important because it ensures traceability and memorizes the assets used. According to Anne Clément, Scientific Director of Laboratoires Dr. Pierre Ricaud, who initiated the project," the questions asked must be behavioural because the vision we have of ourselves is biased. On the other hand, we must take into account the"experience" of the skin, especially its relationship with the sun, because it will impact its needs in the future. Finally, the diagnosis must be renewed at least every season because the skin changes and its needs change".

Well, we suspect that all this is not necessarily for everyone… but it's trendy!

Ariane Le Febvre

The Observatory of Cosmetics

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