Anne Rossignol-Castera, Oléos

Premium Beauty News - After 23 years of a career in fatty substances at the Institut des Corps Gras (ITERG), why did you chose to create – quite belatedly if I may say so, Oléos using a relatively old idea, namely the extraction of plant actives with an oily compound?

Anne Rossignol-Castera - During the 23 years spent at the ITERG I had the chance to occupy four positions which have formed the pillars of my business creation: A technical experience as a young research fellow after my engineering degree in agribusiness, an experience in team management as a laboratory manager, a mission in marketing and business development, and finally an approach to business strategy in my last position as a Development Director.

By working with manufacturers on their needs and the potential transfers with the ITERG, I realized that I was sometimes frustrated at not being able to carry ideas to their logical conclusion. This is how creating my own business gradually emerged as evidence.

Premium Beauty News - How was your development undertaken and who were your first customers?

Anne Rossignol-Castera - The original idea, which benefited from an envelope Soleau [1] in 2006, emerged from my market observations. Indeed, oily macerated already existed – in ancient times they consisted of compositions made of plants which were left to infuse in fatty substances – but the result was disappointing particularly in terms of oxidative stability and concentration in active ingredients. The first idea, registered with the INPI (Institut National de la Protection Intellectuelle or National Industrial Property Institute) was to develop an innovative and efficient method of oily extraction based on green technology.

In 2008, a second envelope Soleau was registered and in parallel, I took leave to start a business. The support of Oséo [2] and of the business incubator of Lunel enabled me to be in contact with the Faculty of Pharmacy and the School of Chemistry of Montpellier. I took this opportunity to further my knowledge of plants and skin biology. I Very quickly I started testing microwave and ultrasound intensified eco-extractions. These techniques improve the solvent power of oils, ensure a good reproducibility of produced extracts, high yields and optimized organoleptic characteristics. The products obtained are very qualitative.

In parallel, I prospected potential customers and several of them found the idea very interesting among which the Laboratoires Nuxe which were interested in organic certified oily actives, stable and objectified. We filed a patent for our oleo-extraction process [3] totally green with zero chemicals, zero solvents, zero pollution and Ecocert certified. The company Oléos SAS was created at the end of 2010. Today we have a portfolio of twenty clients with some large groups like LVMH, NUXE and small innovative brands in organic cosmetics like Alorée, Akane, Kadalys...

Premium Beauty News - What do the Oléoactifs® offer compared to traditional oily actives such as oil or vitamin E?

Anne Rossignol-Castera - Performance, quality, stability and significant opportunities in terms of actives since we can create exclusive and patented custom made Oléoactifs®.

These compounds have a concentration in active molecules 10 times higher than a carrier oil and improved associated properties. Measurement tests have delivered very good results in terms of oxidative stress, hydration, improvement of the barrier function and of the dermal bioavailability. The oily carrier offers many advantages for the skin and can be introduced into all formulas for skincare, make-up, massage products. On the marketplace, liposoluble actives are seldom found and we are partnering with several university laboratories including the one of Prof. Patrice Rat at the University Paris Descartes, to develop cellular tests enabling to highlight the great potential of this product category and particularly of Oléoactifs®.

Premium Beauty News - What does your range of Oléoactifs® consist of?

Anne Rossignol-Castera - 90% of our customers are looking for custom-made and exclusive Oléoactifs® but we have a small range of specific anti-aging Oléoactifs® developed in 2011. These six products support our International development, which is achieved with exclusive distributors. We are present in South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece and Russia.

Premium Beauty News - Now you are taking an interest in the perfume industry with the launch of Oléo’Sense®. Which markets are you targeting?

Anne Rossignol-Castera - The Oléoactifs® represent a modern version of maceration, while with the Oléo’Sense® it’s enfleurage which is reworked. We use the solvent power of oils to extract the olfactory fingerprint of plants. We work with a perfumer to refine our compositions. The great advantage of our technique is to only extract heart notes and base notes, the heaviest molecules, and to not have the often allergenic volatile terpenes. These are therefore fragrance extracts with a low content in allergens, very suitable for the bio market and hypoallergenic ranges. The Oléo’Sense® are compounds from waxes, butters and perfume plants, they are sensory and active ingredients. We do not intend to replace a fragrance but to provide to skin care products for sensitive and hypoallergenic skins the fragrant note which was up to now difficult to achieve. We can claim zero perfume and zero allergen.

Premium Beauty News - Do you have other projects?

Anne Rossignol-Castera - To remain innovative, you must constantly renew yourself and keep a broad open mind. So, of course, we have other projects! Right now, we are working on another extraction technique and on the development of nutritional Oléoactifs®. We were laureates of the Oséo contest for the development of this project which provides us a help for the next two years for the funding of our R&D activities. In parallel, we are building a 500 sqm site as part of a beautiful activity park project hosting "green" companies, scheduled in 2014.

Otherwise, in the short term, our objective is to develop the Oléoactifs® abroad and introduce the Oléo’Sense® in the perfume and organic world.