Jean-François Harpes, IL Cosmetics President

Jean-François Harpes, IL Cosmetics President

Premium Beauty News - How is the nail polish market doing?

Jean-François Harpes - The nail polish market itself is rather "flat" not to say declining. In this context we can observe a "streamlining" of the market around two major global players. Indeed, the manufacture of nail polish requires both heavy investments and high expertise. Brands must rely on specialized suppliers. We are delighted to see that IL Cosmetics is gaining market share. Today we are the European market leaders and the number two worldwide in the nail polish segment.

We are also taking advantage of our diversification in the make-up category with our Luxcos division, which is one of the leaders in the mascara segment, with also a strong growth in the lip segment, particularly for long wear and liquid lipsticks. In 2016, we expect our turnover in make-up to grow by more than 45%.

Premium Beauty News - How do you explain this impressive growth?

Jean-François Harpes - Our investments in research and innovation, these past five years, have certainly helped propel IL Cosmetics as the new leader on the European market.

Today, we invest 5% of our turnover in R&D. In our labs a total 85 people are dedicated to research, development and quality, with 45 of them exclusively involved in research on nail polish. In practice, our research teams are dedicated to each product category: formulation for nail polishes and make-up, colour, special effects, nail care, new technologies...

We have also renewed and extended our collaboration with the LIST (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology), the leading research institute in Luxembourg. A dedicated team of 10 people works specifically on improving organoleptic parameters such as brightness, staying power and of course stability. Their scientific and highly analytical work has led to many advances.

These technology breakthroughs have led to the conclusion of a number of contracts in premium markets, such as France, UK and Korea where our market shares have quadrupled in five years.

And our constant growth also results from improvements in our consumer panel techniques, which are mostly performed in-house. This allows us to speed up our time to market approach and to increase the number of formulas and concepts developed simultaneously.

This panel is a key tool to continuously improve our formulas sensory parameters, to guarantee a perfect match between our results and those of our customers and to know the purchasing intentions of our different formulas and concepts. Finally, it allows us a more qualitative approach concerning future consumer requirements.

Premium Beauty News - Precisely, what do you see as the major upcoming trends in the nail polish market?

Jean-François Harpes - According to a consumer study we conducted recently and to forecasts on the fashion sector, the trend is for a return of colour, with colour hold remaining an unavoidable feature along with formulas enabling to stage colours. We are working on new technologies to highlight these key consumer parameters: gloss - thanks to a patented proprietary technology -, brightness, radiance, and a second generation gel texture.

Consumers regard the staying power as a key element in assessing quality. Note that in almost all tests related to the staying power, performed by our clients we were well ahead our competitors. This is why it is important to have a perfect mastery of the gel technology, which is also a great source of inspiration to innovate and optimize the traditional nail polish technology.

For each season, we will showcase collections in line with these trends. Hence we invite our customers to visit us at the upcoming Cosmoprof Asia trade show that will be held in Hong Kong from 16 to 18 November 2016, to discover our latest innovations. We will exhibit in the Convention & Exhibition Center - hall 3G- stand K2B.