Super Science-y Brand Oscience Leads The Advanced Skincare Category At French Chain Parashop
The science of sight and skincare have merged to form Oscience, a brand steeped in medical research that’s accelerating at retail.
Three months after entering 62 Parashop doors in February last year, Oscience became the number-one advanced skincare brand at the French pharmacy chain. The Lyon-based brand has also branched out to Asia and is available in the countries South Korea, Malaysia, China and Indonesia. The expansion is fueling sales growth expected to reach 80% this year.
Oscience’s retail presence didn’t happen overnight. The brand’s history extends 17 years. Back then, its founder Claire Bianchin was beginning to research eye cornea tissue transplant technology at INSERM or the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research at the Léon Bérard Center.
“At this time, 82% of the cornea tissue was unfortunately dying before we were able to use it. We needed to find a way to successfully transport 100% of the cornea cells,” she explains. Bianchin was a part of team that, over seven years, perfected a therapeutic technology to foster cornea repair by relaunching corneal activity to reconstruct cells. As a result of the technology, cornea transport success progressed markedly. The failure rate has dipped as low as 25%.
On Oscience’s website, Bianchin describes the breakthrough as “more than an innovation, it was a real revolution for the scientific community.” But Bianchin’s research didn’t end there. She realized corneal tissue is similar to skin and figured she could broaden the application of the corneal technology she’d worked on for skincare purposes. Bianchin recounts she thought, “I’ll just adapt this technology to skincare. I am sure we can easily preserve and increase the survival of aging skin cells.”
However, it wasn’t easy to translate the corneal process to skin and took six years until Bianchin finally cracked the skincare code. Oscience incorporates the so-called CXOS Molecular Complex she landed on following the extensive research. It’s designed to encourage cell reconstruction by creating the ideal environment on the skin to fight external and internal stressors.
“I’ll just adapt this technology to skincare. I am sure we can easily preserve and increase the survival of aging skin cells.”
Oscience was developed in collaboration with the Université Claude Bernard Lyon I and received support from the technology accelerator Pulsalys. It hit the market in 2015 with three products: Anti-Aging Cream, High Concentration Skin Sensitive Serum and Eye Zone Global Repair, Bianchin’s pièce de résistance.
The letter ‘O’ in the brand name reinforces its pedigree. Bianchin says, “I chose this letter for several reasons. The shape of the letter represents where this all started: the eye. But it also looks like a cell. The word ‘eau’ in French, pronounced ‘o,’ also means water.”
Inspired by makeup packaging, Eye Zone Global Repair has a dual-ended applicator to target not only the area around the eye, but the eyelashes and eyebrows as well. In clinical studies, 95% of women reported they saw a remarkable improvement in wrinkles and crow’s feet from usage of the Eye Zone Global Repair. This year, Oscience plans to augment its assortment with products that have multiple benefits like Eye Zone Global Repair. It anticipates tackling scarring with an upcoming formula, too.
Oscience has amassed a diverse distribution network. It’s stocked by pharmacies, department stores, aesthetic clinics and more. The brand’s first major distribution break came in 2016, when it was featured on France’s two main teleshopping channels, TF1 and M6. Oscience is gearing up to amplify its global reach in 2019 with possible entrances into the United States and United Kingdom.
Bianchin is determined to drive Oscience’s business herself. Not everyone agrees with her strategy. Bianchin is frequently contacted by big beauty conglomerates interested in harnessing the patented CXOS Molecular Complex, but she’s holding onto it tightly for now.