I know you've seen the ads for French cosmetics firm L'Oreal ("Because I'm worth it!"), or you might even use its products. While some of you might be tempted to think, "It's just a cosmetics company, so what?" there's actually a lot of science that goes into each product.
As part of all that science comes a lot of testing. After all, before you apply cosmetics to your skin or around your eyes, you probably want some assurance that it isn't going to hurt you. By testing a product before it goes to market, safety hazards can be identified and fixed before anyone gets hurt. But testing isn't just for safety.
Cosmetics is a huge business! L'Oreal earned over $30 billion in 2013. With that much money up for grabs, competition is fierce to find the next wrinkle-smoothing, spot-covering, skin-tightening breakthrough. That's why L'Oreal is constantly testing new products.
Now here's a big surprise. The company doesn't just recruit volunteers to try out proposed products. L'Oreal actually grows human skin samples to use in testing. Using skin donated by plastic surgery patients, the company says it grows 100,000 samples per year covering nine ages and ethnicities.
As if growing human skin in a lab isn't creepy enough, now L'Oreal is trying something that seems right out of a Frankenstein movie.