Azelis launches South African personal care laboratory, Henkel unveils J-beauty innovation hub in Tokyo
22 Mar 2023 --- Industry’s chemicals heavyweights have made moves this week toward cultivating their regional footprints, with Henkel announcing its new “J-beauty innovation hub” in Tokyo to develop brands and innovations for Asian consumers. In South Africa, specialty chemicals giant Azelis inaugurated a personal care laboratory in Midrand.
Together with its laboratory in Cairo, Egypt, Azelis’ new innovation lab is intended to reinforce the company’s presence in the Middle East and Africa personal care sector, enabling technical support and innovation to customers throughout the region.
Tailored to the local needs of African consumers, the new lab is fully equipped to support various personal care applications such as hair care, skincare, sun care, baby care, oral care and color cosmetics application.
“With this state-of-the-art facility, we can now provide more tailored and up-to-date solutions for our customers’ personal care needs,” comments Chris Sacy, managing director of Azelis MEA.
“We are confident that this will enhance our position as a leading service provider for specialty ingredients and innovative concepts.”
Alvinesa Natural Ingredients, which transforms agricultural coproducts, such as grape and olive pomace, into a range of natural products that can be used in cosmetics and personal care products. The partnership will expand Alvinesa’s footprint to Vietnam, India and South Korea, opening a new market for its sustainable plant-based ingredients.Earlier this month, Azelis teamed up with agricultural upcycling and circular economy specialist
In February, Azelis opened a personal care application laboratory in Barcelona, Spain. The laboratory is equipped to service various personal care sub-segments and will focus on skin and hair care – complementing Azelis’ network of personal care laboratories across EMEA.
Azelis has also been focused on scaling its Southeast Asian operations together with Unilever across the skincare, hair solutions and home cleaning product segments. The companies individually published updates on their investments in the Philippines, which is an attractive entry point to the broader Asia-Pacific region.
In other developments to expand its footprint, Azelis acquired 100% of the shares of Chemiplas Agencies, a specialty chemicals and ingredients distributor in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Henkel taps into Japanese hair care market
Henkel has officially opened its “J-beauty innovation hub” in Tokyo. The hub for the Hair Professional business will leverage the expertise of Schwarzkopf and Shiseido Professional in hair color innovation and trends as well as premium hair and scalp care, anti-hair loss, styling and perm solutions.
The innovation hub is tipped as the latest milestone in the integration of the Shiseido Professional business into the Henkel organization, with the Schwarzkopf and Shiseido Professional teams co-located within the 1,400 square meter premises.
With an international workforce of approximately 100 people including 40 R&D experts, the hub leverages the expertise of Schwarzkopf and Shiseido Professional with regards to strategy, marketing, product development, hairdressing education and operations.
In R&D in particular, Henkel will significantly increase its capabilities in new product development and ingredient formulation. The teams are working closely together to bring a unique fusion of Asian and Western beauty concepts, trends and solutions to Asian salon partners and consumers.
“Asia is a highly dynamic region generating many trends and innovations, especially in the consumer goods market, which we are expanding and leveraging globally,” remarks Carsten Knobel, Henkel CEO.
“We purposefully built the J-beauty innovation hub in Japan, as it is the world’s second largest Hair Professional market. Together with our Schwarzkopf Professional hubs in Los Angeles and Hamburg, we now have a global ecosystem across North America, Europe and Asia for our Hair Professional business,” comments Wolfgang König, executive VP at Henkel Consumer Brands.
Key features of the “J-beauty innovation hub” include a R&D lab and an advanced product evaluation studio, equipped with a color observation room and behavior observation cube. “We will tap into this exciting opportunity to elevate our iconic brands and drive new innovations to meet the changing needs of hairdressers and consumers,” says König.
The R&D lab has state-of-the-art equipment for product development and characterization with a focus on hair product and color development for the Japanese market and Asia – deemed a “strategically important” region.
The product evaluation studio, installed with beauty mirrors and shampoo basins, is used for testing the sensory performance of the products for hair care, hair color, perm and styling.
The color observation room is fitted with a special lighting system to enable evaluators to observe the color of the hair in a constant condition 24/7.
“The behavior observation cube is a reproduction of the bathroom in an average household,” details the company. “Working with test users and learning from their experiences will enable the team to develop customized solutions and improve product designs.”
David Tung, regional president at Henkel Consumer Brands Asia, says: “It is a game changer for our business and salon partners in Japan as well as in the leading Asian beauty markets of Greater China, Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.”
“The close collaboration between marketing, brand development and R&D creates an entrepreneurial culture, where the teams can conceptualize and test new ideas quicker and make decisions faster on go-to-market strategies.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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