beauty

L'Oreal has found a genius (and slightly creepy) alternative to animal testing.

Image via iStock.

Who do you imagine whispering the L’Oreal catchphrase, “Because you’re worth it?” A beautiful model, or a disembodied piece of lab-produced human skin?

In news which belongs in a sci-fi movie (starring Milla Jovovich, of course), French beauty giant L’Oreal has announced it will be creating human skin using 3D printing technology.

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The company has announced it “no longer tests on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world”. So, what’s a beauty company to do when it needs to test its products? L’Oreal’s solution was to grow its own samples of human skin. (Post continues after gallery…)

This might sound like brand new information to you, but it’s merely another step in L’Oreal’s adventures with human skin. Since the 1980s, the beauty megacorp has been growing it in a lab in Lyon, France, according to Bloomberg. And L’Oreal don’t do things by halves: in their lab, skin samples are grown in facilities the size of three Olympic swimming pools.

Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s research and innovation incubator, says: “We create [a lab] environment that’s as close as possible to being inside someone’s body.”

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The skin at these labs is grown from samples donated by plastic surgery patients. Any leftover skin is then sold to pharmaceutical companies and other cosmetics companies.

Earlier this month, L’Oreal announced that it has partnered with a company called Organovo, which specialises in bioprinting. Together, L’Oreal and Organovo plan to use 3D printing to create living human skin, which they will use to test whether L’Oreal products are safe for human use.

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This is a damn clever use of technology, if you ask us.

It's exciting to see one of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world use scientific innovation to facilitate the testing of their products, rather than resorting to testing on animals. Yes, all this skin printing and growing does sound creepy, but it’s also a great way to avoid unnecessary cruelty towards our furry counterparts.

Also, think of the medical applications of 3D printed skin for those who don’t have skin due to disease or accident.

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According to Bloomberg, L’Oreal spends more than $1 billion dollars annually on research and development, which they estimate is twice the industry standard. This year, L’Oreal also launched their Makeup Genius app, a free, world-first virtual makeup simulator that lets you try out various products and looks on your face, and see how they look in different lights and angles.

Don’t think for a second those who deal in lipstick and hairspray are bimbos. L’Oreal proves science is a beautiful thing.

What do you think of 3D printed skin - is it creepy or cool? Let us know in the comments!

Here's our Glow Guide Producer, Brittany Stewart, giving L'Oreal's Makeup Genius app a red hot go...

We’re looking for the best up-and-coming beauty vlogger to come and work for us here at The Glow. Enter our Beauty Vlogger Idol competition here.