‘My six-month internship in L’Oréal labs’: 6 experiences and tips from R&I interns.
Founded by a chemist, L’Oréal has always invested in research to better understand skin and hair, searching to find scientific solutions to people needs around the world. Research and Innovation at L’Oréal is rich of more than a century expertise and scientific knowledge, larger than just chemistry, but combining biotechnologies, life sciences and new domains of research such as microbiome. In 2018, it represented 505 patents registered and 21 research centres spread across 6 regional HUBs. Since our R&I teams are at the beginning of any innovation, we caught up with six interns at L’Oréal Research & Innovation at the end of their six-month internship to better know what they have enjoyed, learned and would recommend the most to future interns in their position. Meet Stephanie, Lucie, Natacha, Julien, Emma and Coraline!
“Talk to as many people as possible”
“Hi I’m Stephanie, I’m Brazilian and I’m doing my last internship here at L’Oréal R&I in Paris. I’m working on adapting the technology from textile, the one we use generally in clothes to use it to improve the texture of hair, to preserve the fibre for instance.
What I prefer the most is that I have the possibility to connect with a new environment and learn a lot since I’m not French. My manager gives me a lot of freedom as well as he guides me. It means I can try whatever I feel is a good idea, but I’m still really coached. This is how I improved and learned a lot. Because I’m not from Europe, being in such a new environment for me, I grew a lot but also all the technical expertise that I could develop working with polymers was incredible, I had the chance to put all the theory I learned at university into practice.
My tip for future applicants and future interns would be: first be always sure of what you are doing. Do a lot of research at the beginning, it will always help you. Then talk to as many people as you can. Why? Because you have 6 months to learn as much as you can from others!”
“Just be yourself”
“I’m Natacha, working in the bleaching department. I’m working on raw materials for hair bleaching, especially I’m studying raw materials in order to optimize their performance and the bleaching process.
The collaboration between different labs is the most interesting part for me. One day I can work for the development department and the next day I’ll work with the applied research.
My biggest outcome from this six-month experience is that I gained in confidence. Of course scientific knowledge as well, but the professional world is very different from what you can learn at school.
My tip: just be yourself, be natural.”
“Dare to take risks”
“My name is Julien. Not a long time ago I was an intern in R&I but now I’m currently working in marketing development for Vichy. What I’m working on? Developing new concepts and content for the brand, focusing on anti-ageing and in my case on menopause. This is a particular stage of life for women, with many skin changes but also, my goal is to find concept and content to break the taboo and facilitate the interaction with dermatologists and doctors.
What I learned with Vichy is to make the perfect match between good marketing and good science. We are a scientific brand, a background I’ve already had but I learned also how to be more consumer-centric and people-centric. What matters most is that at the end of the day, you have a beautiful product, scientific excellence that matches with good storytelling. I love working with international and diverse people: marketers in the countries, dermatologists, doctors, and different nationalities. This is thrilling and exciting. Life at L’Oréal is exciting. It’s about reinventing all the time.
My tip: dare to take risks, and be disruptive in your ideas. When you have a project, and when you have a very good idea about the future, they support you and you have the ability to achieve it.”
“Don’t be afraid to meet new people”
“My name is Lucie, I’m an intern in advanced research, you know I’m in the labs as a nerdy chemist. My mission is to valorize natural extracts for natural hair dye. From all the natural extracts from plants, from flowers, I’m trying to find new ways to transform those extracts into cosmetics and hair products. The most exciting part of my internship is that I never know completely where I am going and what is going to be the results of my researches. Every day I am trying new things, using chemistry to find new solutions.
The biggest learning of my internship was definitely soft skills. It’s my first time in a big group and it’s completely different from schools or public labs. I’ve learned how to work with colleagues, with people from different expertise and fields but who are all interconnected in the end. I discovered how much you gain from exchanging knowledge together.
My tip for next interns in R&I would be this one: Don’t be afraid to meet people, to talk to people. Go ahead and talk to them, make friends and try to learn as much as you can. Here everyone is always happy to meet and exchange”.
“Share your work, don’t hesitate to take initiatives”
“Hi, I’m Emma. I’m currently my internship in the ECS department which is a claim substantiation and I work on risk assessment for product communication. It sounds complicated but in a nutshell, I’m making sure products’ claims are justified. A claim is everything that is about the product whether is efficacy or the presence of an ingredient. Claims need to be justified by tests like clinical tests to prove their veracity. This is our job to really verify that every claim is true and justified. So during my internship, my mission was also to develop a tool for marketing teams to help them to communicate with the claim teams to be more efficient together. What I enjoyed the most was interacting with different teams, different expertise etc. I learned to work on project management, how to deal with several projects at the same time and how to organize myself. In one word, I would describe life at L’Oréal with DIVERSITY.
My tip: I’ve learned here that you should never hesitate to take initiatives and if you have an idea, never hesitate to share it with people that could be interested. I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence at the beginning but you win a lot by sharing your work!”
“Stay who you are”
“Hi! My name is Coraline. I’m an apprentice in the clinical platform in Aulnay, near Paris. I was in a pharmacy degree before then I’ve done a master in industrial cosmetology. In my internship, my mission is to conduct clinical studies. It means that I write the protocol and I decide on the study design. Then we initiate the study with volunteers. I like the fact that’s it’s a real scientific job, I’ve always had to work on the theoretical part before designing the protocol, by reviewing the scientific literature in order to identify how we could prove what we are looking for. I also like the part where we go on the field, we check the study and how it is conducted. Overall, I’ve learned to work on global projects, to conduct it from the very beginning to the end, to the presentation of the results for instance.
My tip: “Simple as just stay who you are. There are many different profiles here, many different people, so you don’t have to ‘try to be someone else’.”
Inspired by their story? You can learn more on R&I expertise at L’Oréal and find our latest internships and apply!