Lancome’s story of beauty, makeup and science

Veronique Delvigne speaks about Genifique and Lancome As Veronique Delvigne explains genomics and proteomics in her clipped French accent, her passion for science, research and beauty shines through. As Scientific Director of Lancome Paris, you’d think it came with her job, but that only partially explains why she is beauty and brains rolled into one.

Veronique was in India recently to talk about the science behind two new products from the Lancome stable: Génifique Youth Activator and Teint Miracle Foundation.

Speaking Chic had a brief chat with with her about the present and future of skin care, makeup and the business of beauty.

What has changed recently to spur the growth of makeup products with skin care benefits?

We always knew that makeup can play with the deepest layer of skin, rather than just the surface. But today we have understood how we can actually play with the inner layer. For example, we know certain active substances can stimulate or provide a “boost” to specific gene activity. We have applied this concept while developing the product Génifique. Then we have a new generation of foundation that contain moisturisers, enhance transparency and provide sunscreen and UV protection.

The new approach to skin care is also leading to other changes. The European Union has adopted a new seal to indicate PPD (persistent pigment darkening) as a measurement of sun protection. Under this system, a product with UVA protection of at least 1/3 of the SPF (UVB protection)  will get the new seal.

You spoke extensively about proteomics and genes, and how they play an important role in dealing with the problem of ageing skin. In what other areas of skin care can this science be applied?

We are just starting out in this field of research, and are currently working on the problem of skin dryness—it’s a universal problem. We have identified genes that are linked to cosmetic dryness, along with a set of proteins that can address this problem.

Natural and organic are the new buzz words in skin care and the beauty industry. What are your views on such products?

Firstly, it’s important to understand that the consumer is looking for safety in her products. We have demonstrated for specific active ingredients the need to use specific extracts of natural ingredients rather a complex or blend to create product efficacy. We need to create products that can deliver efficacy. For instance, rose extract is good for skin, but it’s not enough. Also, there are false concerns about preservatives. If you don’t use preservatives, the product’s oxidation takes place in just a few days and it starts smelling. So my advice is don’t believe in small brands, use something you trust.

What other factors play a role in getting good skin, besides diet and exercise?

Enjoy life! It’s very important to be positive. Being happy produces endorphins which are produced in the ectoderm, which is the same envelope as part that controls the skin. Hence there’s a direct connection between your state of mind and your skin. Your skin can convey your emotion. Besides, people older than 100 years are always very positive.

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