Not well known from the general public, the job of regulator is of paramount importance, as it ensures the safety and compliance of cosmetics before they are put on the market. Juliette Fincias, second in the special 10-year competition of CosmeticsOBS, works in this profession for the Visiomed laboratories. She opened the doors of her office to showcase her activities.
“The idea of working in the cosmetics sector started in high school. I have always loved chemistry and make-up, both in creation and in the pleasure of use. I realized that the job of a cosmetics formulator made it possible to reconcile the two. After obtaining a scientific baccalaureate S in 2011, I headed in this direction”, begins Juliette Fincias.
She enrolled in a degree in chemistry/biology/geology with a view to specializing in the beauty sector in the future. After two years, she decided to change schools.
"In the end, the option that would have allowed me to train in the beauty sector was cancelled. I went to the University of Guingamp, much more cosmetically oriented. Its originality lies in the fact that it operates like a small company. So it’s extremely professionalizing because we create our own products," she says.
Convinced for a long time that she wants to work in formulation, Juliette Fincias is not at the end of her surprises. While she has, a priori, no taste for regulations, she is beginning to take an interest in it.
“It was one of my teachers who changed my vision. François Bourrust has succeeded in making this discipline much more alive and has motivated me in this way. My last year of work experience has convinced me. For the first time, I was really working behind a bench and I realized it wasn’t for me.”
Juliette Fincias, who recently graduated in 2016, is ready to conquer the job market.
She began her career in Brittany, as a regulatory affairs manager in a company specialising in medical devices produced from seawater. Of course, these are not cosmetics, but this experience allows her to understand different regulations and to have a more global vision of things.
She joins the Omega Pharma group under the Innoxa and T. Leclerc brands, which were acquired in August 2018 by VisioMed Laboratories. She is therefore still working on the regulatory framework for these entities.
A typical day
“It’s a little complicated. You might think that the regulatory affairs officer is in charge of its files and that’s all, but that’s not the case,” says Juliette Fincias.
The first thing she gets started on in the morning is a thorough check of her emails. Indeed, her company has an international activity, so messages are likely to arrive at any time.
"The topics can be very varied: different departments that ask questions related to ongoing developments or consumer complaints. Sometimes, just checking the emails is enough to drive the rest of my day if I don’t have any other emergencies," she adds.
As cosmetics regulations are constantly evolving, Juliette Fincias is obliged to keep herself informed. It is committed, as much as possible, to monitoring on different media (such as CosmeticOBS!).
“Every day, I work on the Product Information Files (PIFs) of cosmetics under development. They include all the information that attests the safety of the product for human health and that complies with the Cosmetics Regulation. Even when the product is on the market, you must remain alert, because there may be updates to be made, in case of cosmetovigilance for example. I take care of the declarations on the CPNP portal, validation of outworks and communication supports at the product development level. I am also in charge of the follow-up of the tests. I identify those that need to be done, have them done and then use the results to make support claims so that it is easier for marketing teams,” she explains.
Regulatory manager, real conductor
Contrary to what one might think, a regulator does not work alone in his corner, quite the contrary.
Juliette Fincias explains “being in constant contact with the various departments, whether in the supply chain, marketing or R&D. My colleagues and I are here to provide a framework and ensure that it is respected. Be careful, we’re not the police either. Our mission is also to answer questions and requests while keeping in mind the company’s interests. The notion of business strategy is also crucial. For example, when I receive a marketing brief for validation. If, in view of the allegations, I realize that the product is more in line with a medical device, I direct it in this direction”.
Flexibility and versatility seem to be the essential qualities of a good regulatory manager. “Curiosity and the desire to learn are all equally important. The Cosmetics Regulation and the various Directives are in constant evolution. In this business, you are constantly out of your comfort zone,” she concludes.