It all started with a black rose, the ultimate symbol of beauty. It was the symbol chosen to represent BABOR’s founding innovation, HYÖL ®, a unique facial cleanser that continues to be one of BABOR’s biggest selling products.
“HY-ÖL® was developed in 1955 by company founder Dr. Michael Babor,” says CEO Michael Schummert. “A year later he set up BABOR to market the product.”
HY-ÖL® combines the natural cleansing properties of oil and water to create a cleanser that reaches deep into the pores of the skin without drying it out. Freed from excess sebum and dead skin cells, the skin is able to breathe and appears refreshed with a radiant glow.
HY-ÖL® was a hit from the very beginning and is still a hugely popular product within the BABOR range. This range has expanded continually over the years as BABOR’s research and development laboratory has continued to respond to the needs of its customers by formulating new and effective cosmetics based on innovative ingredients and delivery methods.
“We have developed a wide range of high-precision formulations, each of which is targeted at a specific skin type or problem for optimum results and skin compatibility,” says Mr. Schummert. “There is a great deal of science that goes into our development work. It is part of our DNA. We have a well-equipped laboratory at our company headquarters in Aachen where every new product is overseen from the initial concept to the final formulation. We work with interdisciplinary scientific teams and cooperate with leading universities and other research institutions to ensure that BABOR leads the way with ground-breaking research insights into new and effective ingredients.”
The results of these efforts can be seen in a clutch of product awards from professional associations and consumer media. One of the most recent wins was the Aesthetician’s Choice Award for BABOR’s SkinovagePX Daily Calming Cream, which was presented by DERMASCOPE.com, an American online beauty magazine in March of this year.
In 2014 BABOR’s Cleansing Enzyme Cleanser was named Best Exfoliating Cleanser by Harper’s Bazaar. Awards such as these are extremely important in the highly competitive beauty industry.
“We know so much more now about how the skin fulfils its function as a barrier to the outside world and how it also needs to be protected from external pollutants and irritants as well as internal hormonal fluctuations,” says Mr. Schummert. “Skin is also highly susceptible to the stresses of modern living. Our products are formulated to combat those stresses.”
BABOR offers face and body care products for cleansing and moisturizing in a variety of application forms. The core delivery system is the BABOR ampoule. “BABOR is the pioneer and leading producer of beauty products in ampoule form, producing more than 20 million ampoules each year,” says Mr. Schummert. “Our ampoules set us apart from our competitors and reflect our development expertise. BABOR ampoules are much copied but never matched.”
Each of the delicate glass ampoules contains its own high-tech beauty secret. The contents are so highly concentrated that just 2 ml is enough to produce an immediate visible effect. BABOR’s Ampoule Concentrates FP are available in a wide range of formulations to purify and nourish the skin.
Another key line is REVERSIVE, a range of anti-ageing treatments that turn back the clock to leave skin looking dewy and feeling refreshed. Featuring Re-Youth Complex, the range of creams and serums help maintain the natural, youthful beauty of the skin while diminishing minor inconsistencies.
The high-tech ingredients visibly smooth away fine lines for a more youthful, radiant appearance. Behind the DOCTOR BABOR brand lies a close cooperation with dermatologists and plastic surgeons. The result is a professional range of high-performance formulations or cosmeceuticals.
“The DOCTOR BABOR range is an homage to the company founder and his pioneering vision of creating precisely dosed, highly concentrated active ingredients to ensure intensive skin care,” says Mr. Schummert. “BABOR takes beauty personally. We want customers to find the treatment that suits their needs best and are not afraid to be the first to try out something new.”
One of its latest innovations is being marketed under its BABOR TECH brand for professional beauticians. “Using specially designed equipment to improve skin quality is very much on trend at the moment,” says Mr. Schummert. “The equipment we supply to cosmetic studios can be seen as a secret weapon in the fight against sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines. To accompany our treatment devices, we have formulated a range of complementary skin products for optimum effect and to ensure that the visible improvements last.”
The range includes devices for microdermoabrasion, microneedling and ultrasound treatments to stimulate blood flow and cellular regeneration in the deeper layers of the skin. These treatments are followed by soothing creams containing ingredients proven to have a positive effect. The range also includes equipment for use at home.
“Where professional salons lead, the home treatment market always follows,” describes Mr. Schummert. “Our pioneering products will ensure that we are ahead of the curve in this exciting new market.”
Another relatively new market that is growing strongly is the market for men’s skincare and grooming products. In a sign that the pressure to maintain a youthful appearance is no longer being felt exclusively by women, an increasing number of products are being developed specifically to target male consumers.
“Men’s grooming is a huge potential market for us,” says Mr. Schummert. “German men on the whole have not been as keen on the idea of using skincare products, but our BABOR MEN range sells well in our export markets. In time, the German market will catch up.”
While German men may still need persuading that their skin is worth taking care of, BABOR products for both men and women are proving hugely popular in export markets. BABOR currently generates 60% of its 107 million EUR annual turnover in 70 different international markets.
The most important markets are in Europe, but the brand also sells well in the USA, China, Japan and Korea. Although it is no longer owned by the Babor family, BABOR continues to be a family-owned company.
It was bought by pharmacist Dr. Leo Vossen, who relocated the company to Aachen, and is now owned by his grand-children. Around 30 years ago, it was decided to appoint managers outside of the family to run BABOR on their behalf.
Current CEO Michael Schummert has been with BABOR since 2007, having previously enjoyed significant success with other major industry players such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Wolford.
“I joined BABOR because it gave me the opportunity to rejuvenate a somewhat dusty brand and help it regain its position in the market,” explains Mr. Schummert. “The company had a great depth of expertise in product development and a well-developed distribution network in 70 different countries. It was the perfect time to dust the brand off and bring it up to date.”
With a position as number one in the German market and within the top ten worldwide, BABOR is one of the most successful cosmetic brands in the market. As well as its own branded products, the company also manufactures for private labels such as own brand products for beauty clinics and hotels.
Production is located entirely in Aachen and all products are clinically tested to ensure there are no adverse reactions from their use. “Our promise to customers is guaranteed by a high level of transparency and strict focus on quality,” insists Mr. Schummert. “Our goal for the future is continued growth, particularly in the US market, where potential is high. We are exploring options such as co-branding of our ampoules with major fashion brands or a series of special editions for the American market.”