For Jacques Playe, Global Head of Packaging Development at L’Oréal, the Packaging Lab’s mission is clear: to push the boundaries of packaging performance and sustainability, to “create the packaging of the future.” A packaging he defines as able to protect formulations, with minimized environmental impact, while remaining visually appealing to consumers. To achieve this goal, many professions collaborate within the Packaging Lab using the latest generation tools.

Materials and sustainability

Research into new and more sustainable materials is one of the Packaging Lab’s long-term missions, with the potential to completely transform the market.

For instance, David Guerin, Cellulosic Materials Expert at L’Oréal, discussed the group’s efforts to create a fully recyclable paper bottle. Overcoming technical challenges, such as finding suitable coatings that do not interfere with recycling, is key to this innovation, which L’Oréal aims to achieve within five years. In glass packaging, the focus is on reducing weight while maintaining structural integrity, especially for complex shapes.

Digital simulation tools like Dassault Systems’ Abaqus software are also crucial when it comes to crate improved versions of existing packaging. For instance, when L’Oréal has revamped the packaging of Garnier’s Ultra Doux shampoos in order to reduce plastic use and introduce removable caps for refilling, the software simulated and optimized plastic distribution to maintain rigidity despite extra thin bottle walls.

Desirability and quality

As far as desirability is concerned, L’Oréal’s explores CMF design (colour, material, and finishes), a new expertise within the company. The Deco Showroom team analyses global consumer trends and the emotional significance of colours. Extensive testing ensures the selected decorations resonate with consumers and align with the brand’s aesthetic language.

Under the direction of Jordan Molinié, the UX Design Lab emphasizes creating packaging that offers superior user experiences. Beyond aesthetics, the lab focuses on functionality, sensorial appeal, and sustainability from the outset. Design teams across Europe, the US, China, and India ensure the packaging meets diverse consumer needs. Today, generative AI tools like Midjourney make the creative process easier and faster.

Once a new packaging has been designed, 3D printing tools allow rapid prototyping, producing up to 10,000 mock-ups annually, facilitating quick creation and testing.

Eventually, in the Qualification Lab, packaging undergoes rigorous testing to meet L’Oréal’s quality standards.

More than just an R&D center, the L’Oréal Packaging Lab stands as a symbol of the responsible beauty of the future, embodying the group’s commitment to sustainability.