Início Tech L’Oréal, Debut to Develop Biotech Ingredients for Sustainable Beauty

L’Oréal, Debut to Develop Biotech Ingredients for Sustainable Beauty

L’Oréal and Debut are taking their relationship to the next stage.

Biotech beauty company Debut has signed an agreement with L’Oréal to develop more than a dozen bio-identical ingredients that will replace conventionally sourced ingredients currently used in L’Oréal global beauty and personal care brands across skin, hair, color cosmetics and fragrance. 

This is the first big joint announcement from the two companies since the beauty giant led a $40 million round of series B funding in the San Diego-based firm through its venture arm Bold in June 2023.

As part of the agreement, Debut will create new bio-based ingredients using proprietary advanced bio-manufacturing processes which combine fermentation and cell-free technology to replace conventional methods. Biotechnology makes it possible to obtain an ingredient through the culture of microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, microalgae, fungi) or of plant cells in bio-reactors, to preserve natural resources.

It will take roughly two to three years before these ingredients make their way to L’Oréal products, according to the two companies.

“We are partnering with L’Oréal to create the exact same ingredients that are used in amazing products worldwide, but the same way pretty much that you brew beer,” Debut founder and chief executive officer Joshua Britton said of the process in an interview with WWD. “Instead of those cells floating around a beer tank that kick out alcohol or wine or beer or sake, we go in and use our biologists to say, ‘no, now you’re going to create this ingredient,’ and that ingredient is one of many that L’Oréal uses in their formulations. But instead of it being made through petroleum or cultivation, now it could be made through this biological approach, which is far more sustainable.”

This fits in with L’Oréal’s sustainability goals. By 2030, the company aims to have wholly eco-designed formulas that respect aquatic ecosystems and 95 percent of the company’s ingredients stemming from renewable plant-based resources or abundant minerals.

Guive Balooch, global managing director of Augmented Beauty and Open Innovation at L’Oréal Groupe, said: “We’ve now started this journey of working with the best people outside through our open innovation teams to be able to find a way to reach our commitments….We have this knowledge of beauty, science, skin, hair and makeup, and we want to work with partners in the biotech industry like Debut that are allowing us to scale it. They have the innovation and they have the scale, and they do it in a way where they’re using new processes that are cell-free and innovative.”

Elsewhere, L’Oréal made an investment in Microphyt, a French start-up that developed a low-carbon impact process for microalgae production via fermentation, in 2022. The following year, it invested in the Geno-led initiative centered on developing, producing and commercializing biotechnology-based alternatives to key beauty product ingredients. Both of these were made via Bold.

“Through this exciting partnership and adoption of breakthrough technology, we are well-positioned to drive the creation of more sustainable and effective products that meet the demands of our consumers and fulfills our duty of care for the planet,” added Balooch.

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