In July 2016, L’Oreal will open a new research and development facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, to cater to our Sub Saharan Africa beauty needs. I’m here for it, it’s about time. L’Oreal is the biggest player in the global cosmetics market and African beauty brands will benefit from its expertise and resources, especially when it comes to this controversial issue -animal cruelty.
I’ve never really understood where beauty brands stand on animal cruelty in Uganda, let alone Africa. I haven’t come across any regulations and policies at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards or the East African Community. Are cruelty free cosmetics even on the African Union radar? I doubt it, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. We hear a lot about conserving wildlife, but not about going cruelty free.Hopefully, L’Oreal will set an example for the beauty regulators on the continent. The company doesn’t test its products or ingredients on animals.
According to this Bloomberg article, the company realized cruelty free cosmetics were the future, and since the 1980s, has been growing human skin by cultivating the cells from tissue discarded after plastic surgery. L’Oréal has a large facility in Lyon, France, just for this. The company uses about half of the “farmed skin” for its own product testing and sells the other half to companies that need skin for research.
As recently as 2015, L’Oreal announced that it would partner with Organovo, a bioprinting company that “designs and creates multicellular, dynamic, and functional human tissues for use in drug discovery and medical research,” to make artificial human skin. Basically 3D printing of human skin. How cool is this?!
Beauty magazine Allure “asked Guive Balooch, the global vice president of L’Oréal’s tech incubator, to explain the company’s goals when it comes to printing 3D skin. ‘Some of the biggest potential advantages of 3D bioprinting are the speed of production as well as the level of precision that 3-D printing can achieve,’ says Balooch. ‘We are still in the preliminary research phase of the partnership, but L’Oreal’s focus right now is to continue to build on the accuracy and consistent replication of the skin engineering process.” Source: Allure
Successfully creating artificial human skin would not only be a major step in the effort to end testing on animals – it would also make product testing easier and faster.
As Africans, we need to have a conversation about animal testing.What are your nation’s policies on cruelty free beauty? Do these policies even exist? Let me know in the comments.