L'Oreal launches digital drive in Paris

L'Oreal, the world's biggest cosmetics company, wants to see more beauty tech such as hairbrushes that tell you how to care for your hair and skin patches that let you know how much sun you are getting.

Last Friday, it said it is launching a programme of start-up collaborations in Paris, as it ramps up digital investments and seeks out new beauty products such as its "smart" hairbrushes.

The French group makes an ever greater slice of sales online and has rolled out services and items for tech-savvy consumers, such as a phone app for virtual make-up tests.

It said it is looking to develop more inventions at a site for start-up companies in Paris, where 10 to 12 firms will work on projects with L'Oreal every year.

"The world of beauty has already become very digitalised... this will allow us to go even further than what we do today," L'Oreal chairman and chief executive Jean-Paul Agon said at the reconverted 1920s railway depot that now houses a start-up campus.

Known as Station F and launched by billionaire businessman Xavier Niel, it will now also have a L'Oreal workshop.

L'Oreal invested in London's Founders Factory, a so-called start-up incubator, last year and it has its own innovation programme in San Francisco.

Aside from seeking new technology, L'Oreal will also work with start-ups developing new beauty products, be it creams or make-up.

L'Oreal's push comes as Paris seeks to overtake London as a leading European tech centre for investors and inventors, in a "start-up nation" championed by France's pro-business President Emmanuel Macron. - REUTERS