Why L’Oréal Launched a Beauty Newsroom
Eugene Schueller is best known as the young chemist who founded L’Oréal in 1909. But many might not realize that he was also one of the most innovative advertisers of his time—and a pioneer of content marketing.
Before L’Oréal came to be, Schueller was breaking ground as an editor for the hairdressing magazine La Coiffure de Paris. In 1912, he bought the publication, and 20 years later, he launched Votre Beauté, the first monthly women’s health and beauty magazine.
It turns out that the biggest cosmetics company in the world has a strong editorial background. And that dedication to storytelling lives on to this day through L’Oréal’s creative marketing efforts. The company’s U.S. branch has already launched Makeup.com, an online publication that publishes beauty tips and trend reports. As Melissa Lafsky writes on TCS, the tone perfectly nails “the beauty-expert friend who always looks her best and genuinely wants to help you do the same.”
Now, L’Oréal is launching an entirely new content initiative from its headquarters in Paris. Published in both French and English, FAB-Beauty.com (FAB stands for flair, artistry, and beauty) celebrates beauty professionals around the world and showcases the latest industry trends.
Through daily articles, videos, interviews, backstage peeks, and “moments of intimacy,” the online magazine pushes open the doors of salons and explores how some of the greatest beauticians in the world operate.
“As the historical leader of the professional haircare market, it is our responsibility to showcase the industry and its bright future ahead,” said An Verhulst-Santos, president of the professional products division for L’Oréal. “Because there is nowhere else you can really find all these stories gathered in one unique place, we have taken the lead.”
To plan the content, the editorial board meets every week with the corporate communications team and agency partners to discuss upcoming topics. FAB Beauty’s editor-in-chief, Daphné Segretain, collaborates with a pool of international freelancers—including writers, data journalists, illustrators, photographers, and video reporters—to bring unique perspectives and expertise.
“All internal and external contributors are invited to come up with new, innovative professional beauty-related ideas,” Verhulst-Santos said. “From an article on beauticians in Delhi to the booth renters in New York, through interviews of the most renowned professionals, FAB Beauty aims to showcase the diversity and richness of beauty careers.”
After a soft launch in July, FAB first went live in September—but even in its brief existence, it has already gotten notable guest contributors on board. In July, for example, Italian actress Claudia Cardinale wrote firsthand about her hairstyle secrets and how she met famed hairstylist Jacques Moisant.
“It is still too soon to get into figures, but the first feedback we have from beauty experts, influencers, media, and from our brands and markets at L’Oréal are really encouraging,” Verhulst-Santos said. “Our qualitative indicators are showing that the quality is highly appreciated by our readership, which reassures us on the editorial choices choices we made.”
Verhulst-Santos cautioned that any new publisher has to go through a learning curve of testing and optimization, but she’s already noticed that content about barbers and professional hair tips gets the most engagement, like “Old-time wet shave on the historic Route 66,” a piece of video journalism about Harry of the HairCut Harry YouTube channel. With perhaps a better eye into the industry than anyone, Harry travels the world, filming his experiences in different hair salons and barber shops.
Going forward, the FAB team plans to continue providing relevant, aesthetically modern content for its audiences of key influencers that includes hairdressers, nail technicians, and beauticians.
“Beauty-related content is among the most sought-after on Google, and “hair” is the top searched-for beauty topic,” Verhulst-Santos said. “So we’re confident that by creating rich and varied content, we’ll soon stand as a reference media for the industry.”
However, she notes that FAB Beauty is not a commercially-oriented website aimed at advertising products. Rather, its purpose is to shed light on the professional beauty industry as a whole and build an audience of loyal readers, which can, in turn, have an impact on driving foot traffic and sales to salons.
As L’Oréal’s history archive points out, founder Eugene Schueller believed there were two types of advertising: “publicité d’attaque, designed to raise interest, and publicité de rendement, designed to maximize sales.” He would be proud to know that today’s marketers have found a unique way to combine both into one dynamic strategy at L’Oréal.
“I’m absolutely sold on this approach of quality content that is rich and varied both in terms of format and angle,” Verhulst-Santos said. “To valorize the professional beauty industry it is essential that we tell inspiring beauty stories, and this is something that there is demand for all around the world.”Image by Eduard Derule