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“Brazil is a country that is extremely important for L’Oréal Group’s strategy,” Patrick Sabatier from L’Oréal Brazil

L’Oréal is celebrating its 60th year in Brazil. The country is fourth on the world ranking for cosmetics consumption, which makes it a very important market for the global business of L’Oréal Group. Brazil’s large ethnic and cultural diversity makes the country a challenge and an opportunity for innovation in the beauty market. In an interview with Brazil Beauty News (the Brazilian edition of Premium Beauty News), Patrick Sabatier - L’Oréal Brazil’s director of institutional relations and communication - discusses the company’s trajectory and new investments in the country, such as the launch of Episkin, which will sell reconstructed human skin to test new products and ingredients.

Patrick Sabatier, L’Oréal Brazil’s director of institutional relations and communication

Patrick Sabatier, L’Oréal Brazil’s director of institutional relations and communication

Premium Beauty News - L’Oréal is celebrating its 60th year in Brazil. How important is the country for L’Oréal Group?

Patrick Sabatier - Brazil is the fourth largest beauty market in the world, the second in fragrances and third in hair colouring and sun protection. We have been in Brazil for 60 years, sharing beauty with our consumers. When it comes to beauty, Brazilian women are the most demanding in the world. All of this makes Brazil a country that is extremely important for L’Oréal Group’s strategy.

Premium Beauty News - Brazil is a very diverse country. There are different types of hair and an even larger variety of skin types. How is it to work in a market like this?

Patrick Sabatier - It is a challenge and, at the same time, a big opportunity. Brazil is an open laboratory due to its diversity, and the country has a key role in the cosmetics market.

In our country, we have eight types of hair that are listed by L’Oréal, from the straightest to the most curled. Brazilian women have the most complicated hair routine in the world: they use five different products every day, while French women use three on average. Out of the 66 skin tones registered by L’Oréal, 55 can be found in Brazil. This ethnic and cultural diversity has inspired L’Oréal for 60 years.

That is why we have invested in research in the country for over 10 years and, two years ago, we opened a Research and Innovation Center in Rio de Janeiro - our only center in Latin America and one of the six L’Oréal research hubs in the world. It confirms our long-term commitment to Brazil and it allows us to quickly launch innovations that Brazilian consumers desire, potentially launching them globally. It also allows us to adapt global innovations to Brazilian consumers.

Premium Beauty News - Four business divisions of L’Oréal are in Brazil. Is there any that stand out with best-selling products?

Patrick Sabatier - We have performances and innovations that stand out in every single one of the four business divisions in Brazil. There are 20 iconic multi-category brands, for every hair, skin and beauty type.

The Active Cosmetics division leads the market of dermocosmetics with brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Skinceuticals and Cerave.

In the Consumer Products division, I highlight our iconic brand L’Oréal Paris. The brand kick-started our journey in Brazil in 1959 with Imédia Cream, a hair dye that is popular among women to this day. We also have Niely, a national brand with over 30 million consumers that aims to make beauty care more democratic.

In our Luxe division we grew strongly - two digits - in a very competitive market thanks to brands such as Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent. In this sector, we lead in female perfumery with Lancôme’s La Vie et Belle and we recently launched Idôle - from the same brand - that has been selling well.

Finally, there is the Professional Products division, with L’Oréal Professional, Kérastase and Redken. Redken was a brand built through the relationship with beauty salons and it now has an omni-channel strategy - going from beauty salons, to e-commerce platforms and kiosks in shopping malls.

Premium Beauty News - Among L’Oréal’s innovations in the country is the launch of Episkin. How will it work?

Patrick Sabatier - Episkin is already fully operational in our Research and Innovation Center in Rio de Janeiro. In September, in order to contribute to making alternative methods a reality in Brazil, we opened the Brazilian subsidiary of Episkin. The brand is a world leader in reconstructed skin. We then made this innovation available to other companies in Brazil, so they can assess the safety and efficiency of new ingredients and products without testing on animals.

Premium Beauty News - The company is also investing in a plant in São Paulo. What is the goal?

Patrick Sabatier - L’Oréal Brazil is investing so it can have a 4.0 industry in São Paulo, with digitalizing, automation, augmented reality technology and artificial intelligence to optimize the production process.

Together with our global program Sharing Beauty With All, we are also investing in our plant’s sustainability. We currently buy 100% of our electricity from renewable sources for all of our locations in Brazil. The next step is to install solar energy panels in our São Paulo plant, just like we did with our Research and Innovation Center in Rio de Janeiro.

Interview by Renata Martins

Portfolio

  • Launch campaign for L'Oréal Paris Imédia Cream in Brasil in 1959
  • L'Oréal's research and innovation center in Rio de Janeiro
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