PARIS — In a move to accelerate its product development for sub-Saharan Africa, L’Oréal has opened a new research-and-innovation center in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The unit, inaugurated on Thursday, was put in place to study African hair and skin specifics as well as beauty routines and expectations for consumers in the region. It houses product development, evaluation and advanced research teams and employs scientists from the chemistry, chemical engineering, physiology, cosmetology and biochemistry fields.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions for L’Oréal,” stated Alexandre Popoff, executive vice president for Eastern Europe and Africa and Middle East at the group. “Our new research arm in South Africa will solidly enable us to continually create the beauty products of the future for our African consumers, while drawing from the diverse beauty rituals and the various needs of our consumers on the continent.”

“Our consumer surveys conducted since 2010 and our in-depth studies of skin and hair since early 2000 represent the knowledge base for the development of tailored products for African consumers,” continued Laurent Attal, L’Oréal’s executive vice president of research and innovation. “We are starting with hair, and our ambitions are much broader and cover the body, hygiene, skin-care and makeup categories.”

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L’Oréal began its research in South Africa in 2003, with an evaluation center whose work was centered on consumer knowledge and product assessment.

“The mission of the brand new research and innovation center is to translate beauty needs and hair and skin knowledge into innovative products ranging from hair care, hair color, relaxers and shapers to personal hygiene,” the company stated. “The key areas will be skin evenness, sebum, acne, dryness, hair manageability, sensitive scalp and the fine-tuning of fragrances.”

The R&I center is to work also with universities, dermatologists, natural biodiversity centers and hairdressers in Africa.

Innovations already offered to consumers there from L’Oréal include black oil technology for colorants, relaxers billed to be “failsafe” and routines for skin evenness. Specifically for sub-Saharan consumers, Hair Food and Makeup was introduced.

The Johannesburg center is L’Oréal’s seventh research-and-innovation hub worldwide.

In other L’Oréal news, Nathalie Berger Duquene has been named managing director for perfumes France in the company’s Luxe division, succeeding Emmanuel Goulin in the role.

Goulin, who has held the position for four years, was appointed managing director Asia-Pacific in L’Oréal’s travel retail division.

Most recently, since 2011, Berger Duquene served as international marketing director for makeup at Lancôme. Prior to that, she was marketing director at Helena Rubinstein. The executive began her career at L’Oréal 11 years ago at Biotherm.