Digital in beauty labs : data matters
Digital improves knowledge management
First, what we have to mention is that digital evolution means a lot in terms of needed skills. Thanks to new technologies such as data science and artificial intelligence, we are now able to collect a large (even massive) amount of data. This drastically changes the way we work. Since we are not spending so much time on finding and gathering the data we need, it helps us to focus on our added-value : creativity. All the repetitive and time-consuming tasks may thus be ensured by algorithms or robots. Wether it concerns intellectual property or product evaluation, cosmetic labs will benefit from data collection in the future.
Digital transforms R&D
From the moment we need to study science literacy, to chemistry or phytochemistry analysis, data science represents a great opportunity of high-scale data mining and interpretation. As for medical diagnosis, data is key to build reliable and wide databases that will be of great importance in technical and scientific approach. For example, Philippe Bernard has found Greenpharma in 2000, a phytochemistry-driven company. The core business is based on the knowledge of natural substances and relies on a multidisciplinary technical platform, which allows the understanding of active molecules and the discovery of ingredients for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic or agri-food industry. The originality of the platform is the integration of computer and lab tools : a proprietary ethnopharmacological database (includes molecule structures, organisms, traditional uses, biological pathways). It accelerates the discovery of active molecules by an exhaustive biological and phytochemical profiling in silico. Because knowledge saves time and limits trial and error, it fosters innovation. In order to find the best biological solution, matching is key. In order to improve it, data management and data mining are important. Besides, cosmetic companies may develop proprietary tools enabling them to proactively test and try new molecules or formula.
A predictive approach
Even if not massively used in the cosmetic industry yet, artificial intelligence will provide new tools to identify patterns. These could be in terms of molecular profiles, as well as in efficacy testing. Computer science combined to mathematical modelisation and instrumental technologies will lead to innovative solutions and new opportunities. For example, molecules and biological pathways will enter algorithmic processes that may propose matching molecules.
What data, artificial intelligence and algorithms will bring to beauty industry is the ability to analyze at a large scale and identify some patterns in order to define models. This may lead to predictive solutions : in terms of chemical compounds, biological targets or efficacy tests. Combined with mathematical modelization, data management will help R&D getting faster and acurate.
Even few ingredient suppliers are integrating these new technologies for the moment, it is a promising way of innovation. Digital devices are also able to improve testing, like Charlotte Gang from Merck explained at the French Cosmetic Society symposium dedicated to digitalisation of beauty, in order to better color analysis.
Marketing has already integrated digital
Specialchem, a leader in ingredient selection make it faster and richer by accessing more product information and the right expert knowledge through a crowdsourcing platform. SpecialChem also offers marketing solutions to help marketers and business developers to accelerate and digitalize their growth in the cosmetic industry. Videos are available such as : « How to validate new chemicals prototypes with digital », which is particularly interesting for R&D teams cosmetic companies.
Many opportunities are being developed in research and development fields, in biology, chemistry and techniques. This is the early stage of digitalization in beauty labs.
For more information on the impact of digital transformation on cosmetic brands, visit the Cosmetic 360 exhibition, 16-17 October 2019 in Paris.