An organisation designed to take on a big challenge
The Aura Botanica collection was set the bold goal of offering products that blend high performances, natural ingredients and biodegradability – a first in a sector where naturally-based products have not always managed to deliver stable formulas and great sensory experiences. But the objective was crystal-clear: “We wanted to create a unique beauty ritual with an unprecedented level of naturalness”, explains Andrew Edwardson, Kérastase’s head of marketing. The new routine had to be “capable of rivalling the very finest care ranges created by Kérastase”. To achieve this, no fewer than five different teams collaborated on the project within Research and Innovation at the L’Oréal Group, including Raw Materials representatives, biodegradability experts, the Natural and Organic business line and Instrumental Evaluation. Researchers worked together for 18 months to pick the right ingredients and devise innovative formulas for Aura Botanica.
A stringent creation process, from raw materials to environmental impact
As they worked to create the new collection, the participating teams applied an approach that is at the very core of the cosmetic industry, namely rigorous ingredient selection followed by design of appropriate formulas and meticulous supervision at every stage in the creation chain. What’s more, this demanding process also had to comply with the Group’s naturalness charter, which, for example, bans raw materials from containing controversial ingredients such as parabens, sulphates or silicones. Naturalness ratios calculated by Group experts enabled researchers to zero in on two key ingredients: argan oil from Morocco’s Atlas mountains, and coconut oil from the Samoan islands. Each one combines high performances with sensory properties and biodegradability. Ensuring that products are biodegradable, regardless of whether they are of natural origin, is one of the Group’s environmental targets. It is no simple task, however. Advanced research engineer Jean-Florient Campion explains that a product is biodegradable if it can be “broken down by the action of micro-organisms contained in wastewater treatment stations or the environment”. Tests on the selected ingredients revealed a biodegradability ratio of over 98%, which Jean-Florient calls “unique and unprecedented” for a professional range with such demanding standards.
High-performance products a hit with consumers
After trying out 50 or so different formulas, Kérastase researchers eventually developed four complementary and customisable products: a shampoo, a conditioner, a bi-phase oil and an essential concentrate. A refined in-salon ritual, a great sensory experience in use and outstanding performances create the value perceived by consumers. These performance levels were corroborated by the Instrumental Evaluation team, which found that the products delivered four times more shine, 48 hours of nutrition and 72 hours of anti-frizz control – proof that Aura Botanica products, which are ISO 16128 certified, do what they say they do. How have consumers responded? A few months after the range was launched, they seem to like the way the brand is positioning itself. SEO websites worldwide are buzzing with positive reviews from users, propelling Aura Botanica posts to seven million views on social media and driving a 76% increase in new visitors to Kérastase’s website.