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Q&A with Élodie Carpentier, Co-Founder of Le Rouge Français

Q&A with Élodie Carpentier, Co-Founder of Le Rouge Français

Founded on the revolutionary concept of plant-based makeupology, Le Rouge Français has reimagined what beauty products can be—fusing the artistry of makeup with the science of botany.

Recipient of the John Bell & Croyden Anniversary Silver Award, Le Rouge Français not only challenges conventional beauty standards but also champions a more ethical and sustainable approach to cosmetics.

We spoke with co-founder Élodie, who delves into the inspiring journey of Le Rouge Français, exploring the motivations behind creating a brand that's as kind to the planet as it is to our skin. We uncover the ethos and innovation driving the cosmetics brand avant-garde brand and peel back the petals to reveal the story of Le Rouge Français, a testament to the power of plants and the potential for a greener, more beautiful world.

What inspired you to create Le Rouge Français and how were you led to explore plant-based makeup?

I created Le Rouge Français when I was pregnant with my little June, 5 years ago. At this time, it was necessary to keep an eye on what I was eating. I also started to pay attention to what I was putting on my skin. Then, I looked into cosmetic formulations and couldn’t find what I was looking for.

As a biotech engineer with a passion for botanicals, I naturally felt it was my duty to develop a formulation that was free of controversial ingredients, organic and vegan with wonderful coloring properties. I wanted to introduce and divert women towards vegetal colours in make-up.

Why was it important to you to maintain your commitment to plant-based ingredients?

Today, we are the first make-up company to adopt the regenerative economy model across its entire value chain, from field to finished product. Petrochemical and mineral color represent 99% of the global makeup industry. Using plant-based ingredients allows us to offer a sustainable solution that respects biodiversity and the health of every woman while contributing to the regeneration of the planet.

Moreover, the usage of plant-based ingredients is not brand new. In the 18th century, France was the first exporter of Madder. The country supplied the Imperial Court with this flower and other dye plants. Therefore, Le Rouge Français brings back ancestral customs, the "Savoir-faire" and the "Excellence à la Française".

Could you explain the science behind extracting the colour pigments and how you ensure consistency and durability in your products?

When it comes to plant extraction, we master the entire value chain, from the field to the final product. Beforehand, we use extraction processes derived from biotechnology, particularly bacterial fermentation. We also use enzymes to extract color, which we then transform into pigment. It also includes the infusion of plants into butter and oils that are completely vegetable and natural.

These biotechnological processes are sustainable and complemented by supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) physical processes that use no petrochemical solvents. As a green-tech company, our processes and products are sustainable and renewable. Moreover, we were certified Eclaireurs du Coq Vert by BPI France, as a voice for the French government on climate change.

What are some of your favourite products from the range?

There is quite an interesting significance and story in the packaging. Can you tell us a bit about this?

In luxury, every detail counts. Le Rouge Français strives to offer an entire experience from the packaging to the application of our makeup products. The packaging is just like origami, allowing one to discover all the story about it. It is fully recyclable, sustainable, and FSC-certified.

Our lipstick range represents a breakthrough innovation as we use bio-sourced castor oil materials which are also recyclable and sustainable. This is just as transparent as our formulations. Regarding other ranges, we use glass that is designed and crafted by French artisans. In this way, we put flowers in both our formulations and our packaging.

As the beauty industry continues to evolve, what future innovations and product lines can we look forward to from Le Rouge Français?

This worldwide innovation is patented and we can apply it to several market segments. Nowadays, as a pioneer, we want to keep our leadership position on vegetal colour in the beauty industry. That means makeup but also skincare.

However, we also want to explore our biotech and greentech processes with our R&D laboratory in Marseille to apply vegetal colour expertise to the automotive, eyewear, and even textile industries.