The world of beauty is complex, and navigating through the mind-boggling brand names of skincare products and the revolutionary ingredients they claim to use often lead to the wrong directions, especially for a young market like Vietnam.
While neighboring countries such as Thailand and the Philippines record massive consumption of personal and beauty care products, Vietnamese consumers spend three times less. But this is not necessarily a setback, says Valéry Gaucherand. As a matter of fact, Vietnam presents a huge opportunity for various beauty brands, not only for profit, but most importantly for education.
Valéry serves as CEO of L'Oréal Vietnam. Bringing with him a wealth of knowledge of the company’s products as General Manager across several L'Oréal branches like France, Mexico, Ireland and Turkey for a decade and more, Valéry arrived in Vietnam in 2017 to connect L'Oréal to its Vietnamese consumers and advocate for the brand’s mission to “universalize beauty”.
“There is a thirst for beauty information in Vietnam. There’s a lot to know and consider about skincare and beauty products. Vietnam being always hot, there’s a unique need for products that handle the effects of the sun; there’s a strong need for cleansing and skincare products. Although it’s currently low compared to other markets, the routine of usage is getting more sophisticated every year,” shares Valéry.
Vietnam’s openness to different kinds of beauty influences also helped drive L'Oréal’s popularity in the country. Young Vietnamese, women especially, use Western, French, Korean and Japanese beauty brands, making it easy for L'Oréal to market their multinational products like Maybelline New York, Garnier, Lancome and Shu Uemura.
The future of beauty
Last year, amidst the pandemic, L'Oreal launched its new and upgraded version of “L'Oreal For The Future” program in Vietnam, emphasizing its role in environmental preservation, women and community empowerment and diversity, among others.
While cosmetic products beautify its users, it is damaging the planet, and L'Oreal acknowledges this fact. The industry as a whole — from manufacturing to packaging, distribution and consumption — makes for a pretty big pile of waste that’s all dumped in landfills.
The future of beauty, according to Valéry, should be beyond external aesthetics. With its ambitious sustainability world map, L'Oreal aims to further promote ethical ways in the production and utilization of all its product lines by assessing and improving its own system and educating consumers on what products to use and irresponsible “beauty habits” (like using shampoo and facial cleansers with harmful and strong chemicals) can directly impact the environment.
“We want to bring beauty to everyone wherever they are. But it is our responsibility to inform and educate, or even insist, on products that are sustainable. At the end of the day, people would go for brands with strong values.”