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“Clean Beauty is much more than natural or synthetic ingredients,” Pierre Miasnik, Fiabila

A major player on the global nail varnish market, French group Fiabila has maintained a model policy for years as regards ingredients and good practices, both in product design and manufacturing. Today, this demanding strategy is perfectly in line with the market, and Fiabila can offer their customers various suggestions combining naturalness and innovation. However, to CEO Pierre Masnik, several received ideas are still blurring the perception of these products.

Pierre Miasnik, Fiabila

Pierre Miasnik, Fiabila

Premium Beauty News - The nail varnish market has not escaped the natural trend, has it?

Pierre Miasnik - Today, the green movement is much more than a trend. It is a structural, irreversible, universal shift that can be observed in all cosmetics categories. The younger the consumers, the more concerned they are with these issues. We have already invested a lot in research and development in this field: this year, Fiabila even offers 100% natural nail varnish – a real technical feat!

Still, natural resins are not as effective as synthetic ones, which is why we have developed nail varnish that meets all consumer requirements in terms of colour, gloss effect, coverage, drying time, long wear, and application, and which contains 77% natural ingredients, no controversial substance, and a biosourced plasticizer patented in 2010. Again, it was a huge technological challenge!

Premium Beauty News - Would it be wiser to talk about a “clean product”, then?

Pierre Miasnik - We need to be realistic in our approach. We aim to guarantee the safety of products, while minimizing their environmental impact. Naturalness at all costs is not the answer, so indeed, it would be best to aim at “clean products”. Brands increasingly share this view, and it is actually gaining ground among consumers too, as can be seen with the rise of clean beauty in the US, and with the success of concepts like The Detox Market, or Credo Beauty.

A synthetic product is not necessarily “dirty”, just like a natural product is not necessarily “clean”. Many synthetic compounds are absolutely safe for consumers and the environment, while not all natural raw materials are produced in a sustainable way – some are even harmful for health. We should not reject all synthetic products on principle, and neither should we be overoptimistic as regards natural products. That is what is interesting about the notion of clean beauty, and that is also what Credo Beauty express when they tell their customers that “synthetic ingredients can be safe and sustainable, and natural ingredients can be harmful and non-sustainable”.

The most important thing is to use “clean” raw materials which are harmless in all respects, but also a “clean” production tool. This aspect is often overlooked, and it is also the most complex to implement, given the associated costs. But our credibility is at stake here.

Premium Beauty News - What have you implemented?

Pierre Miasnik - As soon as 2001, we removed risky materials from our formulas, like formaldehyde, phthalates, toluene, etc., in order to work exclusively with “clean” raw materials with high purity levels. Our production sites are now free from any traces of toluene or formaldehyde.

In addition, we invested a lot to prevent any cross-contamination or pollution in our raw materials. In 2015, we started to build secure, automated production units specially designed for nail varnish in France, the US, and Brazil. It helps us guarantee the purity level of the materials and products we deliver our customers. In practice, we rent six trailers on an annual basis, each one being dedicated to the transport of one raw material (resins, solvents, plasticizers…), and each raw material has its own storage and pumping system, as well as its own pipe system, including production reactors. We are the only nail varnish manufacturer to have fully “clean” plants exclusively focused on nail varnish, which means we are a good way ahead of our competitors.

Lastly, we keep investing in R&D, and we have been making much progress with natural pigments, which do not cover the whole colour palette yet. Besides, we are doubling the surface of our laboratories on the French site of Maintenon.

Premium Beauty News - Precisely, as far as innovation is concerned, what has Fiabila developed lately?

Pierre Miasnik - Last March, we launched the Salon Prodigy innovation, an alternative to permanent gels without the drawbacks. This development was the next step after the Sun Prodigy nail varnish range. Its patented solution is based on the invention of an innovative oligomer which polymerizes under daylight to offer physical hardening properties and the flexibility of standard varnish, while providing a long-lasting result and a gloss effect beyond seven days. Brands still need to better convey this message to consumers, although these products have penetrated the market quite successfully, lately. On the other hand, we used one of our real patents on nitrosamines to produce an exclusive formula with extremely low original nitrosamine levels, in which we added an efficient patented inhibitor.

In addition, we have noticed a rising demand for nail care products, so we have developed a full range specially designed for nail health. There is a real efficacy challenge to meet with these products.

The future is clearly focused on more natural, sustainable, renewable solutions. Nine years ago, already, we registered a patent on a natural plasticizer. And this year, we created the first 100% natural nail varnish. Our research strategy is definitely oriented towards ever-greener, safer, more sustainable and responsible solutions, but without being dogmatic. If there is no safe, sustainable natural alternative to a “clean” synthetic substance, then we keep the synthetic one until we find a better solution. As a matter of fact, although there are still improvements to be made, applications like Yuka and Clean Beauty will play a major educating role in fighting against greenwashing.

Interview by Kristel Milet and Vincent Gallon

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