Internal affairs: suffern – the science of beauty

Avon’s huge R&D facility was rebuilt in Suffern in 2005 – but it seems as if not a single day has passed. The huge structure where beauty and technology combine, made entirely of reflective glass, still appears just as modern today as it did 5 years ago. Avon’s innovation promise to consumers is scientific credibility and products they’ll love, which is exactly what this facility allows it to provide.

Another great part of being an intern? Getting a chance to visit this super high-tech building and see inside all of the product-producing laboratories, as all of both the Avon and mark. interns did yesterday. Claudia Poccia, the president of mark., described it as “the Willy Wonka of cosmetics” – it was like a candy factory of colors and confections!

For me, the most interesting part was learning the science behind cosmetics (as someone who has not taken a legitimate science class in two years). Who knew how much chemistry was involved in developing a lipstick? The scientists are tested on their ability to distinguish between the tiniest shade variations – how many types of red can there be? Many, many more than you think!

One of the best parts of the day was when we put on lab coats and goggles (huge flashback to sophomore year) and tried our hand at being beauty scientists – mixing colors for a shower gel, pressing an eye shadow, creating a shimmery hair gel and more taught us how the products we market to customers on a daily basis are produced. Hands-on experience really is the best kind!

Inside the building:

Think tanks: rooms where scientists meet and discuss

Color Labs

  • Tons and tons of pigments and dyes to mix colors
  • Library of every shade ever produced for any Avon or mark. product

Fragrance rooms: chambers to mix and develop fragrances

The Hallways

  • The wallpaper was mark. interns’ favorite part (aside from seeing how all of our favorite products were made, of course) – from Andy Warhol-esque portraits to giant painted nails that look like Easter eggs, the Suffern building is literally the most creative place ever.

…plus so much more! Intern at the facility next year for an actual inside look 🙂

Top row, from left: molecular biology cell wallpaper; one of many fragrance chambers; a super cool lip couch!

Middle row, from left: lipstick wallpaper; a drawer of eyeshadow shades in the extensive color library; pop art wall paper

Bottom row, from left: a creative inspiration board; Natalie in front of face chart wallpaper; some interns outside a lab (I, of course, am the only one without goggles and with an open lab coat…not surprising!)

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