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“Have you ever been in a store and you see someone straightening the shelves?” laughingly asks Rosemarie Osborne, research fellow of P&G Beauty Science. “I’m one of those people who does that, to make sure everything is really neat looking.”
This story first appeared in the October 12, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s no wonder Osborne takes such a proprietary interest in making sure that Olay skin care, in particular, is always shown to its best advantage—she’s responsible for many of the breakthroughs that have led to the creation of some of the brand’s most successful products.
After spending 13 years developing in vitro and laboratory models of skin as an alternative to animal testing (“As a result of my work, we saved thousands of rabbit lives,” Osborne notes), the scientist has most recently been working on skin discoloration issues. Osborne’s newest launch, Pro-X Even Skin Tone Spot Fading Treatment, is based on the research of Dr. Tomohiro Hakozaki of the University of Cincinnati, which identified the five fundamental pathways involved in the pigmentation process that leads to age spots, only 7 percent of which are actually related to pigmentation itself. “Ninety-three percent are related to other pathways,” says Osborne. “Who would have thought that?” She and her team identified phlorogine, an algae extract sourced from Brittany, to address the newly understood pathways. The resulting product launches in January; P&G claims clinical studies have shown it to be more effective than hydroquinone in treating dark spots.
Osborne lives for such moments. When asked how she feels when she discovers one of her products compares favorably with a prescription alternative, her answer is immediate: “Elation. Pure elation,” she says. “All the knowledge, all the connections, are crystallized into that moment and it is an absolute feeling of elation.”