I had the pleasure of visiting P&G’s headquarters in Cincinnati, OH this week to not only get a peek behind the scenes at how they create products in their labs, but also hear from the P&G scientists themselves about what goes into the creation of those products.
From brands like Olay, Clairol, COVERGIRL, Head & Shoulders, Pantene and Secret I got to pick the scientist’s brains and get up close and personal with lab instruments and let me just tell you, it takes a lot of steps (and ingredients) before your Olay lotion can be put on shelves. Trust me, I attempted to make lotion myself!
Now that I’ve gushed about how fun it was to play scientist and explore the labs of P&G, I wanted to let you in on the top 10 coolest things I learned while there:
1. The top selling P&G product last year was Pampers. Everyone needs diapers, right? The #2 is Tide.
2. P&G’s first product was Ivory Soap, and the original “Ivory baby” ad is frightening. Not only does the baby have a receding hair line, but “it” is also dressed in some odd apparel. But, it sold a lot of soap back in 1884.
3.Max Factor, of the cosmetics company of the same name, loved to experiment and invent and invented a “Kissing Machine” which determined that the perfect kiss equals 10 lbs of pressure. The machine is even featured on a Red Hot Chili Peppers album.
4. P&G has numerous rooms around their headquarters that are different temperatures to test how hair reacts to certain products. For example, they have a room that stays at 45% humidity year round, a “rainforest room” a “sweatbox room” and so on.
5. Human hair is the most sensitive fiber in the world for absorbing and de-sorbing water.
6. The company keeps an archive of every one of its products so each brand can do research on its packaging through the years if need be. Old Spice’s latest bottle is actually a mix from the orginal bottle’s font, and an image of the boat from another version.
7. Many of the ideas for new products are shared between brands. For example, Glad’s Press n Seal Plastic Wraptechnology came from the Crest White Strip.
8. COVERGIRL teamed up with Tiffany to debut a pressed powder makup compact in the 1960s one that I’m still in awe of and trying to figure out how to get my hands on.
9. The Miami Valley Innovation Center of P&G (located northwest of downtown Cincinnati) has the highest concentration of PhD’s in the entire U.S.
10. Stick deodorant is the most common form of deodorant in the U.S., but outside of the U.S. spray deodorants are most common.
Editor’s Note: I was asked to attend this trip by P&G, but in no way asked to write this article. The above is all my own opinion, and cool facts that I simply wanted to share.