Jean-Claude Le Joliff

Jean-Claude Le Joliff

Created on the initiative of Jean-Claude Le Joliff in January 2014, the Cosmétothèque, which is intended to preserve the cosmetics industry’s heritage, has already compiled thematic dossiers, stories, and over fifty subjects in the form of interviews.

Just like what is being done with perfumery at the Osmothèque in Versailles - the 20-year-old unique perfume library recounting the history of perfumery founded by Jean Kerléo - I had the idea to tell the whole long history of cosmetics, but written by the players and professionals of this industrial branch. And it was first to be available on a web portal.

What was Le Joliff’s aim? After he graduated as a biologist, he was in charge of the R&D, and then the Research & Innovation department of a leading French luxury and cosmetics group. He has now been committed to working as a consultant for companies implementing innovation strategies for 15 years. This forward-looking activity made him grow aware of the importance of being familiar with the past! And he wishes cosmetics players’ memory and know-how would not keep getting lost, because it is harmful for the industry. “The cosmetics industry is a real hub for intense research in innovation. But to be efficient, it needs to rely on the best state of the art, and it is not always an easy thing to do.

That is how the Cosmétothèque was created as an Association Loi 1901, and it now counts about fifty members. It is mainly based on voluntary, unpaid contributions, and the main cosmetics themes are presented via seven columns: brands, creators, products, ingredients, packaging, the collector corner, and the mirror effect.

The mirror effect shows old products can be used to create insights, by reinterpreting the past, as they do in fashion. Besides, it can be noted that some products were even ahead of their time, maybe sometimes too much, like the Clarins lotion against electromagnetic waves developed in 2007, whose production had to be stopped.

Today, a new milestone has been reached for the Cosmétothèque: it is now hosted by the BIU’s website. “Being hosted by this inter-university library shows the university community increasingly recognizes what we do. The Cosmétothèque will be available alongside historical pharmaceutical and dental sites, and we will be able to create virtual exhibitions like Secret de Beauté, built up at the IFSCC congress, and to gather several articles dealing with the same theme in the form of books: the Cahiers de la Cosmétothèque,” explains Jean-Claude Le Joliff.