From An Idea To The Skincare Shelf: How Your Favourite Products Are Made

We go behind the scenes on product development with L’Oréal Senior Chemist, Rabije Cekovic.

Ever wondered what goes into the making of your favourite skincare products? Well, we caught up with L’Oréal Senior Chemist, Rabije Cekovic to learn all about how iconic SkinCeuticals formulations like HA Intensifier came to be.

The product development journey

I: Idea

“Every new product starts off as an idea,” explains Cekovic. “These ideas can come from our product development team or from the R&I labs.

New concepts are driven by innovation or market needs. And, what determines market needs isn’t just based on current consumer demand but also on predicting what future demand might be.

“At SkinCeuticals, we try to anticipate the future needs of our patients and our physicians and develop formulas that will address the future of health,” says Cekovic.

Once an idea has been settled upon, “teams then work together to finalise that concept and decide on the actives and format that fit best,” continues Cekovic.

II: Development and formulation

Who’s involved

To produce such high-quality cosmeceutical products, SkinCeuticals unsurprisingly enlists the help of a high calibre lineup of experts during product development.

“SkinCeuticals is a brand focused on medical integrated skincare with a professional-centric approach. We collaborate constantly with internal experts and external physicians and other medical professionals to develop products with optimal efficacy for our consumers,” says Cekovic.

How ingredients are chosen

To determine which ingredients will be included, SkinCeuticals conducts extensive research into which compounds will best address the skin challenge that’s trying to be resolved.

“SkinCeuticals is always seeking out highly efficacious ingredients with interesting mechanisms of actions. When we have an ingredient of interest, we need to determine sustainability impact, global compliance, solubility, and safety to determine if we can use it,” says Cekovic.

III: The testing process

Before a product goes to market, it’s time to “test, test, test,” says Cekovic. “At SkinCeuticals, we invest a great deal of resources into extensive testing throughout the product development process. From in-vitro testing early on to weed out ingredients of interest to in-vivo testing of final formulas, we make sure we prove our concepts work,” she shares.

At SkinCeuticals, several mandatory tests are performed which include:

  • Stability to test the integrity of the formula
  • Microbiology testing to confirm the robustness of the preservative system
  • Compatibility to ensure the best packaging is chosen to deliver the formula to consumers
  • Safety to ensure formulations don’t cause any adverse reactions

“The L’Oréal group holds its brands to very stringent standards in all areas so the process is quite lengthy. Once the formula is finalised and satisfies all criteria, it is sent off for large-scale production,” says Cekovic.

The time it takes to develop a new product

Sounds like there’s a bit to do, right? Unsurprisingly, this process can take quite a long time. “It typically takes SkinCeuticals three to five years to launch new products, like HA Intensifier, due to the level of complexity and testing involved,” says Cekovic.

“With HA Intensifier, for example, there is a lot of proactive research involved in studying different forms of hyaluronic acid as well as in seeking out other ingredients (like Proxylane, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, and purple rice extract) to support and preserve HA content in the skin. Then, there are many iterations created before a final formula is achieved to solve challenges like solubility and stability. Finally, we must account for our testing plan. SkinCeuticals employs extensive testing plans, including full clinicals in-vivo on final formulas, to prove that our formulas work,” Cekovic finishes.

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