At the confluence of beauty and health, from molecules to social habits.
At the confluence of beauty and health, youth and old age, body image and self-esteem, cosmetics challenge science, economy, territories, social norms, standards and habits as to: 1) identifying the spatial, socio-economic and symbolic territories of beauty, their stakeholders, modus operandi and application since the 1950s; 2) understanding the evolution of social and generational standards of skin pigmentation to create effective and safe molecules using innovative skin models; 3) and establishing both objective and subjective risk-benefit ratios to develop an informational cosmetovigilance tool.


The aim is to decrypt the social and cultural models of “eternal youth” and “ideal skin”, which underlie a major economic sector in France that is competitive at the international level and subjected to inquiries in terms of health risks. To this end, it is key to understand the mechanisms of pigmentation and its modulation, identify the viewpoints of cosmetic users and their psychological perceptions, complete our knowledge and expertise (i.e. cosmetopoeia), enhance cosmetovigilance tools, develop an analytical sub-sector of products and propose innovative skin models as an alternative to animal tests.


Cosmethics is a multidisciplinary project that brings together History, Management, Psychology, Information and Communication Sciences, Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacy and Public Health. Our approach is unique, with a perspective that is both global and integrative: Each theme or subject closely combines the knowledge and expertise of different fields. For example, skin pigmentation is tackled from historical and social aspects as well as at molecular, biological and chemical levels.

Project's organization...

This project gives Grenoble a central role in an innovative and competitive domain that brings together fundamental and applied research, with a strong potential for academic research and industrial partners. Cosmethics brings to Univ. Grenoble Alpes a cutting-edge research dynamic in terms of methodology, studied themes and as joint actions between the socio-economic actors of the sector and academia. Overall, the project will help to build new interdisciplinary collaborations that will challenge the traditional approaches.

... and its international visibility

In its interdisciplinary set-up, Cosmethics is truly pioneering at both national and international levels. It brings together researchers from France, Europe and worldwide who are partners of the Univ. Grenoble Alpes network. Cosmethics will bring recognition to Univ. Grenoble Alpes through current and acquired expertise, both in theory and practice, combining fields of study that are rarely gathered together on a topic that has been usually associated with other regions. This project is an opportunity to make Grenoble a “laboratory” in the concerned theme, with the development of new ideas and applications through a close interplay between academia and the industrial sector.

Updated on  February 23, 2024