What was your job description when you joined L’Oreal in 1971?
I have a marketing background and started at L’Oreal as a trainee product manager. After a year, there was an opportunity for me to create new marketing concepts. All the mascara brushes at this time were synthetic. They were like screws with big gaps in them so that the lashes would fall between the bristles, creating gluggy lashes.
In 1982 I created the smallest mascara brush in the world, Lancôme Scylocil, and then the break through came in 1986 when I created what I call the “clever” or “dynamic” brush that could finally meet all the marketing claims. It was a revolution because this creation gave freedom to the [mascara] formula.
Lancôme Oscillation is the world’s first auto-vibrating mascara by micro-oscillation. What was your inspiration behind the revolutionary idea?
We wanted to replicate the exact gesture of the zig-zag motion that professional make-up artists use [to apply mascara]. If you can imagine making a fork with two fingers and you put the lash in between those fingers and you wiggle them, you will see that you are wrapping the formula 360 degrees all around the lashes.
That is how micro-oscillation works. It is the longitudinal, micro-oscillating movement of the brush, performing no less than 7000 vibrations per minute, which wraps around the lashes making them longer and fuller. With standard mascara, because there are no vibrations, the lashes fall between the teeth of the brush rather than being coated completely.
How is Oscillation different to other mascaras?
Every mascara does something good for the lashes but with this mascara you are in another world. I want to explain something to you – this mascara replaces no other. This mascara has created a new beauty gesture because the brush is doing the job for you.
You don’t need to brush your lashes as your were so randomly before. It was very difficult to obtain the same look every day [with regular mascara] – sometimes you would find that the mascara was sticking, sometimes it was clogging – it was a fight.
But with this mascara we have created a unique gesture made for all the women in the world, no matter what type of lashes [they have]. Oscillation is made for all lashes of the world because the brush is doing all the work. It’s a revolution.
How do you apply Oscillation?
You start [by holding the mascara brush] at the base of the lashes and you push the button [to generate the micro-oscillation] and then you move [the brush] very, very slowly stretching your lashes upwards very, very slowly.
And you can coat seven layers if you want. It only takes one minute for high colour, high shape and perfect organisation of the lashes. It is something completely different. It is the best of Lancôme. Other mascaras are doing a good job but this one is very different.
What was the biggest hurdle in developing this vibrating mascara?
The most difficult thing was to transmit the oscillation movement to the applicator. That is, to produce the exact zig-zag effect used by professional makeup artists. I spent many hours practicing on my own lashes.
Lancôme are pioneers in mascara. You need that kind of experience to have a good [mascara] formula. We travelled up the mountain to see ahead of the times while others stayed in the valley. All the expertise behind Lancôme allowed us to be six years ahead of everybody. Every woman will love this mascara.
In your view, what is the most remarkable effect this mascara has on the lashes?
Once more I tell you – it is the fact that we have invented a new gesture that every women can have. This mascara heralds a new era in lash make-up. All she has to do is surf the lashes with the brush.
The second fact is that the woman can wear the mascara the way she wants it. She can spread and stretch [the lashes], she can build volume, she can apply many, many coats.
With one coat and one stroke you get a natural look; three or four coats and you get a dramatic look. This mascara is really amazing but you have to rethink the way you put on mascara. It contradicts with the way normal mascaras work. You need to let the brush and the vibrations do the work for you.
Can you explain the UFD formula?
I’m not a technical person so I wont give you a crazy explanation. This is a new formula that has very fine particles. Because of the longitudinal oscillation we needed the formula to give a very smooth and thin layer on the lashes, coating them 360 degrees. The finer the formula, the smoother the application. You can see the shade going onto the lashes immediately and it always looks even.
Now that a vibrating mascara has been conquered, what is next?
We are at the beginning of a great switch for the future of mascara. The longitudinal oscillation we have created for Lancôme is on the same revolution as when cake mascara became automatic in the 1960s with the wand-brush.
We are working on plenty of new mascara concepts although it will take many years to improve what we have already revolutionised. You ask what is next but first we must optimise what is Oscillation.