L’Oréal boss says pollution and Instagram photo filters are both good for business

The boss of L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty company, has admitted in an interview with MarketWatch that pollution is good for business.

Jean-Paul Agon, chief executive and chairman of the parent company behind the Maybelline, Garnier and Lancôme brands, also said millennials are buying more cosmetics to try to replicate the digitally enhanced images they have created of themselves for social media when they venture into the real world.

But when asked if pollution was good for business, the L’Oréal OR, -2.16% lifer, who has been with the French-listed company for 41 years, said: “Yes, but we are not encouraging it. … Where there is pollution, we want to protect our consumers.

“When you live in a city your skin, your hair is challenged more than if you were living in a rural area, so you need more shampoos, conditioners, skin care, hydrating creams, anti-UV, etc. Urban life means more socialization, and more socialization means more beauty consumption.”

Millennials want to match their online looks in the real world

He also insisted that a trend among millennials to digitally enhance their looks on social media, such as Instagram and Snapchat(TICKER:SNAP), is not making beauty products redundant but actually boosting business. “The more you make yourself look really great online,” he said, “the more you have to work on yourself when you go out, because if, when people meet you, they discover that you are completely different from what they thought, then you have a problem.

“If they want to use filters to look better online, they have to do something in real life also to look better, and that is why they use more cosmetics, more makeup, more skin care, more everything.”

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