In case you ever wonder what Evaluation at L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation looks like, this article is for you!
A skin care treatment or beauty gesture stimulates all our senses. So does the use of a cosmetic product — cream, shampoo, mascara… It all involves our senses. This is why at L’Oréal the teams have always paid great attention to the sensory evaluation of the products, one of the key component that makes L’Oréal products unique. Identifying these sensations and translating them into valuable data to better understand them is what sensory analysis aims to do and L’Oréal has long been in the front runner in this field: as early as 1987 when the group created a research laboratory entirely devoted to this discipline.
Only sensory analysis can really ensure that the performance of a product exceeds the expectations of customers. And that’s where Manon and Nadine — L’Oréal interns from the L’Oréal Evaluations teams — come in. Get to know Manon and Nadine and learn how they help the L’Oréal development teams create the amazing beauty products worldwide.
Nadine, Manon, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Manon: I am Manon and I have been part of L’Oréal for the last 6 months as an intern. I love travelling, I guess because I lived in East-Africa with my family as a kid… It was an amazing experience! Back in France, I studied biology in Tours. For those who don’t know Tours, it is a city of the Loire Valley, very famous for its gastronomy and wines, which is possibly why I decided to specialize in food’s sensory analysis for my master’s degree. Who doesn’t like Food and wines, right?
Nadine: I am Nadine and I am from Lebanon - a land far far away. I studied food industries and bio-engineering in Lille for the past 4 years. I recently moved to Paris for my end-of-studies internship at L’Oréal and currently I am working in the team of clinical claim evaluation. Our role is to support claims by carrying out clinical studies — testing the performances of L’Oréal’s scalp care products.
Give us some fun facts about yourself!
Manon: My faculty in Tours is in the middle of a big forest. So, when I started my first day at L’Oréal I was a little bit disoriented by the innovative and inspiring work place. It reminds me of a jungle itself.
Also, I specialized in food sciences last year. As part of the development of an innovative project during my master degree, we developed a cracker with a recipe composed of sea weed and yam. Now I’m working on developing a hair spray with hairdressers. It’s really different but that is the beauty of L’Oréal — you always have the chance to discover new fields. You just have to be open-minded.
Nadine: I am always taking pictures of everything. It’s a way for me to keep them in my memory. On top of that, I am always super bubbly and smiley, spreading happiness everywhere I go! People here know me as the bubbly phone girl :)
Describe a current project you are working on!
Manon: I currently work on the sensory evaluation of hairspray. My role is to understand the gesture application of hairspray on the consumer and the impact on their hair. I test different hairsprays that our amazing Research & Innovations (R&I) teams came up with. When I started my internship, I didn’t suspect there are so many different hairspray consumers and so many different ways to apply the product. It’s really interesting! Now when I take a subway home it happens that I ask myself how the passengers would apply hairspray when doing their hair.
Nadine: I currently work on the harmonization of methodologies used in clinical studies. To do this, our clinical team is collaborating with different R&I teams from 7 countries. It’s very interesting to collaborate with so many different countries and cultures because you learn so much about their lifestyle and their way of thinking. It is a nice way to develop “out-of-the-box” thinking, which is very valuable here at L’Oréal.
Give us 3 emoji’s to describe your team!
I’m lucky to have such a wonderful team that supports me throughout my internship. I really appreciate that I can learn from their expertise every day. Every day is different and there’s no routine here. Sometimes I have a feeling that I am in a race car, because the weeks just fly by here.
As part of a team, we always share good times. It’s important to know how to disconnect from work in order to create bonds with your team. For us, it all comes down to… PIZZA at the L’Oréal restaurant, or at one of our afterworks; Our team loves Italian food!
I have my direct team but I’m also part of a larger intern community. Since the beginning of my internship, L’Oréal has encouraged and facilitated me to meet and get to know other interns from different fields and different brands. For example, we recently took part in the Innovations Games - a challenge created to help us develop new products and we were a team coming from different parts of L’Oréal, which was really interesting.
Sharing great moments with the team is crucial in order to enjoy the time at work. So this is what we do every day with our team — share funny stories and laugh together.
There’s always something sweet to eat at our open office space. We just love sugar and we need that extra sugary rush to get us creative!
We always work as a team and this is what has enabled me to learn a lot of things in a short period.
Can you tell us about the innovation that has surprised you the most at L’Oréal?
Manon: The innovation that has surprised me the most is the way L’Oréal does sensory evaluation. A sensory evaluation is an objective evaluation to characterize the performances of a product, which is usually made by a consumer trained to evaluate the product. But here, we work with professional hairdressers, who have become experts of sensory analysis! They are able to characterize different products — for example, if a shampoo is too foamy or a conditioner gives a soft touch to hair. It’s really great because hairdressers have a very vast expertise about hair and hair products, so they have a very valuable opinion to share.
Nadine: I think it is impressive how advanced L’Oréal is in terms of connected devices and digital. It is honestly amazing to see how far ahead L’Oréal is when it comes to combining digital, data and science to create ground breaking innovations for the whole world. It really feels amazing to be part of this journey!
Have your perceptions about L’Oréal changed from what you knew about L’Oréal before?
Manon: I did not expect to discover such inspiring work environment. You can truly be yourself here without the fear of being judged. I have a feeling that I have grown more in the last 5 months than in my entire graduate studies. At L’Oréal I’ve been constantly challenged during my internship, but always in a very positive way that has helped me to develop new set of skills and grow as a personality.
Nadine: When I joined L’Oréal I learned about how much they care about creating a great workplace for their employees. My first impression was that L’Oréal is a small start-up with teams that are all so passionate about what they do. The team spirit really encouraged me to build my own network and get to know people outside my team.
You started at L’Oréal as an intern, why did you choose us?
Manon: During my sensory class in my master’s, my teacher gave us some examples of sensory analysis in companies such as L’Oréal. From what we learned about R&I at L’Oréal it was clear that L’Oréal is a pioneer in the industry sensory evaluation. Sensory analysis is a big part of the L’Oréal R&I division and that’s why I choose L’Oréal!
Nadine: When I started my studies I wanted to work in the food industry, but along the way I started having an affinity for the cosmetic field. That’s how L’Oréal came into the picture. What’s better than learning from the leader in the industry! Moreover, L’Oréal is really socially involved, which also really attracted me. I was impressed by their “Sharing Beauty With All” program and their initiative “For Women in Science”. So, around 3 years ago, I set a goal for myself to get an internship at L’Oréal. And here I am today, really happy that I landed this internship, which helped me grow so much a professional and a personal level.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring other people applying to L’Oréal?
First of all, be passionate about what you do. It’s important in order to be able to grow. Also, at L’Oréal you have many opportunities to develop your expertise in various areas. So, if you do not know what you like most, try out different things until you find the one that you like the most. If you are proactive and passionate, you will learn a lot and on the way share your experience and knowledge with others.
Be curious to learn. Numerous L’Oréal collaborators started as experts of one field but became an expert in another one. There are so many career opportunities at L’Oréal and if you show that you are motivated to learn and share, L’Oréal is the best challenge for you.
Be prepared to be part of an amazing group! Here at L’Oréal you are surrounded by entrepreneurs, out-of-the-box thinkers, and super innovative teams. Be brave, creative and curious! Ask as many questions as you can and network, network, network!
When you love your work and the people you work with, amazing things can happen.
Inspired by Manon and Nadine’s story? Learn more about our Research & Innovation teams here