Biotechnology the Tuture of the Cosmetics

What are the stakes of the cosmetics industry in France, more and more jostled by consumers looking for natural products?

The search for bio-sourced compounds and molecules produced by environmentally friendly technologies represents a major challenge for professionals in the sector, observes Pierre Monsan, founding director of TWB (Toulouse White Biotechnology). He defends biotechnologies as the future of the sector.

The cosmetics industry is one of the few sectors in which France is world leader. In France, this market ranks just behind aeronautics, wines and spirits. In 2017, exports of the French cosmetic sector reached 13.6 billion euros, according to the union of the sector, the FEBEA.

In order to maintain their leading position in the global market, French players in the sector are constantly innovating and investing in biotechnologies, a genuine alternative to the sustainable production of cosmetics. Indeed, by relying on the living (enzymes or micro-organisms), biotechnologies ensure the development of biobased ingredients or biodegradable packaging in replacement of chemicals.

In addition to the eco-responsible aspect, biotechs make it possible to diversify the already existing molecules, or even to generate molecules that do not exist today in nature with properties that are quite interesting and more optimized. For example, it is possible to create new components to develop perfume products. New aromatic compounds, new notes with scents nonexistent until then can be created. Biotechnology thus offers a huge potential for innovation in this sector, making it possible to respond to the challenges of sustainable development and the growing consumer demand for “naturalness” of products.

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But the main revolution in this sector will be based on the possibility of knowing precisely the state of the skin by analyzing its microbiota via DNA sequencing. Thanks to biotechnologies, it will then be possible to offer tailor-made products with active molecules that perfectly match the needs of each individual. Like other sectors and thanks to new technologies, cosmetics will be more and more personalized.

Poles dedicated to biotech in the field of cosmetics are emerging in France. The Toulouse region, which is a benchmark in biotechnology, attracts many global companies in the cosmetics sector. In addition to the historic presence of the renowned industrialist Pierre Fabre, the Toulouse Metropolis has attracted Givaudan, world leader in perfumes and flavors, through the acquisition of the company Libragen. Recent arrivals like Clariant and IFF-Lucas Meyer demonstrate the attractiveness of France in this sector. France intends to stay ahead of this strategic sector for its economy.