Research & Development

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Research & Development

We are a brand-led innovation company with an R&D team that focuses on creating a multiyear pipeline of transformative products. From upstream discovery to downstream R&D execution; from revolutionary ingredients that visibly repair skin to the amazing sensorial aspects or our products — the texture of a serum, the click of a compact, the mist of a fragrance — we focus on delivering superior products with noticeable, meaningful benefits to consumers.

The Science in Beauty

Our multidisciplinary expertise includes basic science and advanced technologies; the intersections of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering; and state-of-the-art technology and how products are manufactured. Thus we enable all brands to benefit from the latest scientific breakthroughs, while ensuring the highest safety, quality and performance standards. We have approximately 800 employees engaged in research and development activities in the following areas:

Analytical science, package & device design, bio-actives, process development & scale Up, bio-mechanics, product formulation, clinical science, product safety, fermentation & bio-technology, regulatory science, imaging technologies, skin biology & physiology, material science, rheology & stability

A Global Network

With technical laboratories around the world, and creative and trend labs in Korea, California and other locations, we access the scientific and cultural strengths of each region — leveraging novel ideas from thought leaders, universities and innovators. Our multicultural teams bring varied problem-solving approaches to their work. This diversity of thinking is critical in developing locally relevant products and experiences for the most discerning consumers, regardless of age, ethnicity, culture or geography.

Centers of Excellence

By design, the global footprint of our R&D and innovation sites is built on category expertise and key regional presence. Whether it’s makeup formulation in Markham, Canada, the birthplace of M·A·C, biotechnology in Melville, New York, skin care development in Shanghai, China, package innovations in New York City or natural organic products for Aveda in Blaine, Minnesota, we leverage our deep institutional knowledge and expertise throughout the organization.

“Our R&D organization continually evolves to be the most agile, effective and efficient in our industry — from patents to products, ideas to innovation, benefits to brands, local to global,” says Carl Haney, Executive Vice President, Global Research and Development, Corporate Product Innovation, Package Development. “We are always building internal and external capabilities to deliver superior quality products that consumers love — with improved innovation success rate, value creation and speed to market. We want to deliver breakthrough products that benefit the consumer in the near term and over time and continue to invent the unexpected.”

We are always building internal and external capabilities to deliver superior quality products that consumers love — with improved success rate, value creation and speed to market.

Carl Haney

Executive Vice President, Global Research and Development, Corporate Product Innovation, Package Development

We are broadening our capabilities through scientific and technology partnering with universities and institutes — which grants us access to areas of science that are developing at logarithmic speeds, such as genomics and the microbiome. Growing these relationships with universities is part of our R&D strategy. Partnering directly with academia and fast-moving research is critically important, because science and technology are accelerating.

Stimulating the Senses

A conversation with Lisa Napolione, Senior Vice President, Global R&D

What sets The Estée Lauder Companies apart when it comes to R&D?

The combination of science and creativity skills is particularly special. We have amazing scientific depth, while our creativity is legendary. And it’s such a warm and caring culture. I see and feel this every day with the passionate scientists and engineers we work with all around the world. We attract top talent and are especially proud that over 70% of our technical organization employees are women.

What makes it exciting to work here?

I think it is particularly exciting to be in R&D in our company because we are laser-focused on prestige beauty — which frankly raises the bar on everything we do. There is great challenge in formulating and designing new products and packages for so many amazing brands, across all markets and channels. To do so, we must be on the leading edge of science and technology trends. This enables us to be really fresh and creative. And as scientists and engineers, that's what we seek: the highest of challenges. It is truly stimulating.

Give us an example of innovation in action.

We are working on innovating in more ways than ever: developing new ingredients, delivery systems and textures; determining how to process materials; designing new packages; exploring how to test and evaluate. Then you determine how to bring all this together. And you go from the lab bench to the pilot plant to the plant. This all happens in a seamless and collaborative way with our R&D teams and our partners around the world. The sharing is totally dynamic and fluid.

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The Estée Lauder Companies' Research & Development

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