Women in Laboratory

Bringing numerous product innovations to the market like the first self-acting laundry detergent in the world, the first ever liquid hair shampoo and the first hair spray, just to name a few – we have shaped the lives of millions of people. Henkel looks back on a great history of innovations that revolutionized markets multiple times, and this tradition still continues to this day. We are well-known for our iconic brands such as Persil or Schwarzkopf, that were – and are – developed with leading technologies.

We build on strong consumer insights and knowledge around changing consumer behavior and trends. Continuous investments in research and development over generations have created a wealth of knowledge and patents. Together with universities and other research institutes, the international research team at Consumer Brands is constantly developing innovative products to delight our customers and consumers and exceed their expectations.


Consumer Brands Research areas

Our research and development activities benefit from our special approach as a multi-category platform. It creates unique research synergies through similarities in the R&D focus for hair and textiles. Solving common issues and technology challenges in the fields of raw materials, formulations, packaging concepts and production methods, help us to develop new technologies and formulations that form the basis for product innovations in our markets across all regions.  

Hair – a very special fibre

The visible part of the hair, the hair fibre, is not living tissue. The living hair roots are anchored deeply in the skin of the scalp and form complex "mini-organs" that are composed of different cell types to produce the visible hair fibres. By studying the biological processes in the roots we are able to develop specific hair care products which not only nourish the hair fibre but also support the living part of the hair – the hair root – in its distinctive functions. The use of a recently developed reconstructed tissue model of the hair root offers us the chance to evaluate the optimal combinations of bioactives.

The skin – protecting us against the environment

Like all living organisms, the skin is subject to ageing and its performance decreases with time. We support the skin in its various functions with innovative cosmetic products and effectively counteract ageing processes with novel combinations of bioactives. Our detailed understanding of the skin combined with our deep knowledge regarding tissue models allows us to develop highly effective products. In this way, we can provide our consumers with products whose effectiveness is proven in clinical trials.

Sustainable packaging concepts – towards a circular economy

Packaging plays a key role in our modern way of life. Without it, most products would expire or get damaged before arriving in a store. When it comes to tackling the challenges of sustainable packaging, packaging designers are the key players. From integrating more recycled material in new packaging to making packaging easier to recycle after use: These experts create packaging that protects the products while also offering a better contribution to the planet.

Recent examples in our portfolio in this area are all free clear eco in North America – an ultra-concentrated liquid detergent with packaging made of 100 percent recycled plastic, Pril Strong & Natural, through the use of recyclable refill bags, or the solid shampoo bars in a recyclable folded paper box under the Schauma brand.

In Australia, all laundry and home care products carry the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), which provides information to help consumers recycle correctly. Henkel Australia is a signatory of the Australian Packaging Covenant and has been working with the organisation to support Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets. Through the Schwarzkopf Cares Recycling Programme with Terracycle, we enable the recycling of hair care packaging, including aerosols.

Our global R&D Network

Consumer Brands R&D Locations