Discover ANEW: Day 2 – A Visit to Avon R&D Center, Shanghai

One of the main event while on the Discover ANEW Avon Trip is to visit Avon R&D Center in Shanghai. So on the 2nd day in Shanghai, we were taken to the center on a tour bus. The visit was my first one to R&D lab or center and I was excited to see what it looks like.

Located in Jinqiao, Shanghai the 40,000 square Avon building houses scientists in the areas of product development, safety and quality testing, microbiology, chemical engineering and consumer research.

After putting on our lab jackets, Dr, Zhi Lu, the Senior Manager, Regional R&D, APAC Avon, told us a history behind little perfumes showcased in the guest area at the reception lobby.

Originally, Avon founder David H. McConnell did not intend to create a beauty company. He was actually a book salesman and he founded Avon in 1886 after realizing his female customers were far more interested in the free perfume samples he offered than in his books. The first perfumes he created was (see above picture) the Little Dot perfume Set, five single-note fragrances – Lily of the Valley, Violet, Heliotrope, White Rose and Hyacinth.

This Avon building achieved LEED Platinum 2011 certification; a Gold standard for commercial interiors under the U.S. Green Building Council‘s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The green features include:

  • High-efficiency water fixtures, which will reduce water consumption by 44%
  • Energy-efficient lighting systems
  • Waste recycling
  • An interior fit-out containing 31% recycled material
  • 87% of office equipment and appliances are Energy Star rated to reduce energy usage.

As for the lighting, Avon uses motion sensors in private offices and meeting rooms shut off lights. To maximize the use of natural daylight, work-station dividers are low, permitting light to penetrate deep into the floor plate. However, exception is given to the Color Lab as lighting is very crucial in developing colors correctly.


We were taken on a tour to all labs in the 6-storey building. According to Dr Zi Lu, researchers at the Shanghai R&D center work closely with Avon’s regional brand marketing center to allow for the development of more specialized products for the Asian markets including the Malaysia market. It is focussing on developing beauty products including skincare, personal care, color and haircare.

One of the lab on the 1st floor. Final tests are done in here before they send products for manufacturing.

Color labs on the 3rd Floor is one of my favourite labs.

Colors are coded by numbers.

Here is one researcher working in the Color Lab. He tested the colors on himself. 

I met Reese Witherspoon in the Color Lab but she was looking at the mascara all the time.

Haircare Lab.

Perfume Lab.

Skincare Lab.

A place where they monitor facial progress during the usage of skincare products.

Overall, the visit was very satisfying. The explanation by researchers has made it more easy for me to understand the whole process from A to Z and how the products are being tested and being ensured that they are safe for consumers. It is also great to learn that apart from taking care the need for women, Avon is helping to save the environment by incorporating green features on their building.

Thank you Avon for giving me this opportunity to visit Avon R&D Center, Shanghai.

Here is a photo of the Malaysian group:

Seated from left: yours truly, Mei Sin from China Press, Siti Fatimah Hassan from harian Metro, Soo Wincci, Miss World Malaysia. Standing from left: Aspalin Haji Sirat, Head of Commercial Marketing, Avon Malaysia, Dr. Xiaochun Luo, Avon’s Global Vice President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer and Elaine Aisyah Abdullah, PR Manager, Avon Malaysia.



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  1. I really like the fact of “Avon building achieved LEED Platinum 2011 certification; a Gold standard for commercial interiors” and the rest of the story .. Avon is really amazing

  2. this kind of field trip is what I love best.. bkn sesiapa je yg dpt visit R&D center ni kan.. lagipun, it is related to what I’ve been learning in uni.. I wish I can be there.. >.<

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