Talking skin with the expertsAfter more than six decades of research and development in dermatological science, Jean Philippe Charrier, the managing director of L’Oreal Korea, says the internationally recognized French cosmetics company knows exactly what Asian women ―?especially Korean women ― want for their skin.
In the launching event of the L’Oreal Paris Premium cosmetics line “Derma-Expertise,” attended by industry professionals and press at the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in central Seoul earlier this month, skin-care experts gave a talk-show-like presentation on what the company has learned.
Karyn Yun, the director of L’Oreal R&D Center, stressed the importance of understanding how women’s daily habits vary according to their cultural background. Researchers surveyed 5,000 Asian women in Japan and Korea for their findings, which went into detail ― for instance, that Korean women tend to test the texture of a product on the back of the hand and sniff the fragrance. Korean women also enjoy rituals using several products of various textures, Ms. Yun said. L’Oreal Paris’ new moisturizer, “Hydra 24H,” was developed specifically for Korean women, who prefer the lightly oily texture of Korean “milky” lotion to clean gel-type moisturizer.
During the dermatological presentation, Nur Selcan Tokgoz, the marketing laboratory coordinator, discussed differences between Western and Asian women’s skin. According to Ms. Tokgoz, Asian women’s skin contains a much higher percentage of the darker pigment eumelanin, and about 50 percent of Asian women have skin more prone to premature discoloration, especially after the age of 40 or 45. Ms. Tokgoz said L’Oreal has come up with an artificial skin model, which enables scientists to test phototoxicity, allergy and discoloration from exposure to ultra-violet rays.
Dr. Lim Eeseok of Theme Skin & Laser Clinic in Seoul said that to retain moisture in the skin during changing seasons, a woman should wash her face in lukewarm water, avoid saunas and scrubbing and use light moisturizers that contain minerals. He said that deep cleansing and using a light moisturizer could also help reduce enlarged pores. “But if you want to see a dramatic result, then opt for chemical scaling or micro-derma-abrasion,” he said.
L’Oreal Paris introduced two shades of Aqua Delice lipsticks exclusively for the Korean market. To develop colors that worked for Korean women, the local makeup artist Kim Cheong-kyeong was sent to L’Oreal Paris’ R&D center in Paris earlier this year. The results were “Exotic Red” and “Jewelry Brown,” which have been included in the lipstick’s 12 colors. L’Oreal Paris’ Asia-specific products will be available in Japan and Korea.
A world of skin care experience
Nur Selcan Tokgoz, the marketing and laboratory coordinator for L’Oreal Paris, visited Korea to attend the recent launching event for the French company’s new skincare line, Dermo-Expertise and Aqua Delice lipstick.
The IHT-JoongAng Daily spoke with Ms. Tokgoz about her professional experience.
You’ve just flown in from Paris.
I’ve been through France’s horrible summer heat that went up to 40 degrees celsius (105 Fahrenheit). When it dropped to 30 degrees, it felt like spring! Paris homes and buildings are not equipped with air conditioners, so the heat indoors was just unbearable. Many old people died of hyperthermia ― in hospitals. I see that Korea has very distinctive seasons.
What is your background?
I’m originally from Turkey. I was 22 when I went to live in Paris and I’ve been working there for 13 years. I first worked in a British company called Boots, which handles health products, for six years, and then moved to a reputable French company before joining L’Oreal. The change from a British company to French was very big. The cultural change at work shocked me.
What shocked you?
Let me tell you what I miss in a French company. In a British company, for example, before a meeting, there is an agenda; during a meeting there are minutes. After the meeting, there is a decision, which is to be followed through on. In French meetings, there is no agenda, no minutes. A decision is made, but it will change in 24 hours.
While speaking about an issue, British people maintain their cool, never raising their voices. French people, on the other hand, get very emotional; they raise their voices and engage in what seems like an argument to me, but, when it’s over, they kiss and everything is fine!
What do you see in Asia?
The culture in cosmetics is very different. European women use, maybe, three bottles on their dressing tables. I, for example, use just soap, a lotion and a cream. It takes less than 10 minutes to get ready. Asian women use, according to our research, an average of 15 kinds of skincare products, a freshener, a “milky” lotion, an essence, a cream and so on.
The Asian market is a very big market because the individual need is much bigger, and Asian products are more function-specific. I use a made-in-Japan cream that can effectively control grease, because I have greasy skin. In Europe, most women have dry or combination skin.
What is your role in L’Oreal?
I’ve been with L’Oreal for two years. At the moment, I work on communication between the science and marketing departments and am involved in science marketing, packaging and advertising and scientific visuals that are used globally. I have a Ph.D in pharmaceutical science. I can see my future working in development and research departments in the company, but there are changes in every two years, so I’ve yet to find out my responsibility for the next two years.
by Ines Cho