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MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. — Coty Inc.’s recently opened 115,000-square-foot research facility here is expected to be a hotbed of new product activity.
The site, which brought staff and operations from two nearby facilities into one more efficient location, is already credited with putting the final touches on the Sally Hansen brand’s biggest debut of the year, Miracle Gel nail polish, as well as Philosophy’s Time in a Bottle skin-care serum.
“What we’ve found in this new center is that with everyone under one roof, we really see it stimulates creativity. This leads to more innovation,” Ralph Macchio, Coty’s chief scientific officer and senior vice president of global research and development, said during a tour.
Another goal of the site, which was designed by the Coty team from the blueprint stage, was to “break down the barriers” between product categories and capitalize on synergies in beauty such as face- and skin-care and lip and nail by merging the work areas.
Quality research, said Macchio, is becoming more important today as well-informed consumers seek products with claims that can be supported. Retailers agreed shoppers don’t just buy a skin-care product or nail color because of the brand’s advertising claims. “They want to see research, they talk to friends and seek out bloggers,” said one buyer. “We especially see in nail color that inferior products hurt our sales. We want validation that products will satisfy shoppers who are more reluctant than ever to part with their dollars,” the buyer added.
In the case of Miracle Gel, a nail enamel that produces the gloss and endurance of salon gels without the need for a lamp, the new center allowed Coty to not only test on consumers, but to reenact daily abuse nail polish endures in the lab. Machines simulate excessive wear and tear on nail color samples. “We can show that our product wins against competition,” said Macchio.
At the on-site Coty Testing Institute, the polishes are put to real-world trial by a panel of consumers, who use and record results without knowing the brand name. The new facility is outfitted with nail stations and pedicure thrones that rival upscale salons.
The Coty Testing Institute is also the site for consumer testing of other Coty products, including skin care and hair removal. Coty has assembled a list of more than 3,000 people who participate in the studies.
The facility here is also a showcase of safety, history and sustainability. There are special areas for explosive ingredients. Packages displayed in the entry chronicle Coty’s rich beauty background. And there are Coty “recycled” doors and other materials from former offices in New York. With extra space ready for build-out, the new research and development center is designed to accommodate future growth.