Stories
Great chemistry (1) September 3, 2013

The most interesting Chemist you’ve ever met, and more of a mascara expert than most women, here is the first in a three-part interview with Richard Girousse.

Great chemistry (1)

Great chemistry (1)

September 3, 2013

The most interesting Chemist you’ve ever met, and more of a mascara expert than most women, here is the first in a three-part interview with Richard Girousse.

After getting his degree as a Chemist, Richard Girousse (R&D Director at MAKE UP FOR EVER) assumed he’d end up at a pharmaceutical company synthesizing new molecules, staring into a microscope all day and drinking too much coffee. The second part of his prediction was right but, as it turns out, not to help ward off boredom. As head of R&D at MAKE UP FOR EVER, he needs all the caffeine he can get to keep up with Creative Director and Founder Dany Sanz’ legendary energy and endless imagination. The most interesting Chemist you’ve ever met, and more of a mascara expert than most women, here is the first in an ongoing series of interviews with Richard.


What made you give up on the idea of a pharmaceutical job?

I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to be much fun. I had already mixed a few cosmetic products when I was an intern – I had made foundations, mascara and some cleansers, things like that.

I had the feeling even then that I had discovered some ‘hidden secret’ - playing with ingredients, grinding pigments, melting waxes, turning powders into gels, mixing those into emulsions, adding fragrance, molding lipsticks, all the while keeping meticulous analytical records of every change, every experiment – and so, after working in a straight lab for a while, I realized what I really wanted as my job was that combination of Chemistry and cosmetics. 

How on earth did you make the leap from lab to MAKE UP FOR EVER?

I was working in a research lab that had already done a few jobs for MAKE UP FOR EVER. Even then Dany had an ocean’s worth of new product development ideas and the poor laboratory couldn’t take it all on or keep up! As I like to say, I was at the wrong place at the right time. And I have been paying for it ever since (laughing).

Do you love it?

Of course! If I didn’t love it, I couldn’t have been here for 18 years. Developing new products is an exciting ride.

First of all, Dany comes to me with an idea – we talk about it, she explains exactly what she wants, how she wants it to go on, the properties (i.e waterproof, long-wearing), we really define what she wants.

Then we make a first ingredient mixture to use as our starting point. We do a first application test with Dany and based on that, we adapt and tweak it, by adding ingredients, taking some out, refining. Sometimes we make tiny, tiny adjustments. It can last a few months, a few years even.

My job is to take Dany’s ideas and make them tangible, to turn them into something real. When we get it right, it’s pretty magical.

Stay tuned next months and hear how Richard knows when he’s got a mascara formulation right. It might surprise you.