Whether it’s a bold red lip or a fresh-faced, natural style, our concept of beauty is ever changing. But evolution within the beauty industry is more than just skin deep—and more than ever, leading companies like L’Oréal Canada are thinking beyond the surface to take an inclusive and forward-thinking approach to the business.
As beauty trends come and go, the real trick is striking a balance between feeling classic and timeless, but also of the moment. For L’Oréal Canada, marking 65 years of purposeful, empowered beauty is as much about embracing what looks good today as understanding where the world is going tomorrow.
For An Verhulst-Santos, L’Oréal Canada’s first female CEO, who leads 1,450 employees from over 80 nationalities and a portfolio of nearly 40 iconic global beauty brands, delivering tangible social impact means honouring that poignant legacy with an eye to how life is being transformed by new forces every day.
Celebrating the next generation of beauty services
One of the key shifts the industry has seen since L’Oréal Canada was established 65 years ago (starting out as a small hair colour production plant) is that the notion of beauty is no longer top-down, decided by editors and fashion designers and a select group of gatekeepers. Today the looks we love are democratized, brought to the forefront by everyday people via social media.
It’s not about the same beauty for all, but beauty for each, with a quest to satisfy all needs and desires in their infinite diversity. But this democratization of beauty poses new challenges for producers as society embraces not just one ideal but a full spectrum of looks.
Delivering beauty for each and every individual starts with understanding. That’s the mission at the L’Oréal Canada Business Data Lab, the organization’s first data science incubator. Launched in Montreal last year, the lab is relentlessly focused on understanding consumer habits and the diverse, ultra-personalized beauty needs of individuals striving to look and feel their best.
The creative influence of new technologies
Whether it’s asking a virtual voice assistant to help track down an out-of-stock item or the ease with which we can now use our phones to pay for just about anything, tech is disrupting all aspects of life. It only makes sense that forward-thinking beauty includes a focus on how the same innovations—A.I., the cloud—can also make beauty-related experiences more personalized, accessible and tailored to each individual consumer.
Take the metaverse and VR, which allow individuals to step outside their immediate surroundings and engage in new ways. With ModiFace Makeup Virtual Try On, a technology founded at the University of Toronto, L’Oréal Canada leverages augmented reality and artificial intelligence, allowing consumers to virtually try on makeup and hair colours across the entire brand portfolio.
And, Lancôme continues to set the pace of innovation with HAPTA, bringing the science of touch to women everywhere; Unveiled for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada (where L’Oréal Groupe is a nine-time Innovation Award honoree and keynote presenter in 2024), HAPTA is designed for those with hand-motion disorders, arthritis, Huntington’s disease, and following stroke-related motion challenges.
Beauty that moves the world
Today we know that looking good means feeling good, and that feeling good about beauty means respecting and protecting the natural beauty and resources that surround us. The vast majority of Canadians agree their choices as consumers have an impact on global sustainability and increasingly want to feel good about the brands they choose.
At L’Oréal Canada, which manufactures and distributes products throughout North America, beauty means sustainability, and the organization has been focused on transforming its business to not only respect the planet’s limits, but to help consumers make choices they can feel good about. For example, many products now receive an environmental and social impact score across the brand’s portfolio on 14 different factors. L’Oréal Canada also uses 100 per cent renewable energy and has committed to making 100 per cent of plastic packaging from either recycled or bio-based materials by the end of the decade.
It’s beauty that keeps getting better.