Our History

COTTAN was first created at the confluence of the art of formulation and art nouveau, two disciplines magnifying nature in the service of beauty. Today, it is reborn with the deep conviction that the inspiration and know-how of that beautiful era, combined with contemporary science, can illuminate the future of beauty.
COTTAN - Jean-François Arsène COTTAN - Pionnier - Gravure - Bleu

Paris, 1840.

The metric system is adopted, Balzac presents Vautrin, Zola and Monet are born, and Jean-François Arsène founds the Société Hygiénique du Docteur COTTAN.

In the middle of the 19th century, this pioneer became aware of a disturbing fact: the vast majority of cosmetic products intended to take care of the skin are in fact composed of harmful compounds, more likely to harden and dry it than to preserve its beauty.

Carried by the hygienist trend of his time, he summoned the knowledge of scientists and pharmacists, and created the very first collection of healthy and natural products, free of ingredients of animal origin, truly guaranteeing the radiance, softness, and health of the skin.

Success was not long in coming, and on May 10, 1842, with two patents in his pocket, J-F.A. COTTAN set up his first shop at no. 5 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. From the heart of Paris, he reached the heart of the ladies of France, then of Europe, and even of America. A second emblematic perfumery was set up in rue de Châteaudun and the range developed with successive innovations to cover all aspects of toiletries, skincare, make-up, and finally exceptional perfumes still highly prized by collectors today.

After his death in 1869, his work was passed into the hands of his associates who did not fail to increase the prestige and notoriety of the house.

"The successors of Dr. COTTAN, while following the progress of science, have always meticulously observed the principles of the founder of the house, to the most recent articles of creation, such as the violet milk cream, the kalodermal fluid, the make-up, etc., only products with the most effective hygienic qualities are used."

Extrait de : Parfumerie Française et l'art dans la Présentation, 1925.

COTTAN - Parfumerie COTTAN - Boutique Historique - Gravure - Noir et Blanc
COTTAN - Retour en grâce - Gravure - Doré

At the beginning of the 20th century, the hygienic company set up a shop in rue de Rivoli, and became an essential address for elegant Parisian women, alongside other great names such as Coty, Molinard, and Guerlain. Unfortunately, the factory and workshops of the house, located in Courbevoie, burned down during the First World War, and despite the release of a few collector perfumes during the interwar period before the crisis of 1929, this harsh historical context will be the last hope of the Cottan House.

Its memory will be diluted over the years, despite the scientific heritage and the sensory imagination that still carries without a name in memories...However, this original know-how, which is the basis of contemporary cosmetics, has so much to offer us at a time when we are facing new challenges:

"Before going too far back into the past and to the miraculous recipes, a particular period focuses our attention: the second part of the XIXth century. Indeed, it is during this period that cosmetics will become an industry replacing the artisanal and traditional approach of the previous period. This period will see the emergence of brands that will offer many products whose modernity is still astonishing..."

Extract of : Jean-Claude Le Joliff in Legato n°1, 2021.

Paris, nowadays.

At a time when Clean Beauty and veganism are questioning the foundations of cosmetics, it seems obvious to us that Dr. Cottan's innovative spirit is more than ever in keeping with the times.

In order to exalt his legacy, we decipher his most marvelous preparations and, with the precious help of our master formulators, we give a second wind to the aspirations of Jean-François Arsène, in light of the latest advances of the French dermo-cosmetic expertise, in order to reveal all their modernity.

Our first collection, Arsène, is inspired by the greatest successes of the Société Hygiénique: the beauty vinegar, the authentic evanescent cream, and the softened soap. An audacious rewriting of the original formulas, motivated according to the new art of formulation.

Discover our collection and its inaugural set.

COTTAN - Le nouvel art formulatoire d'aujourd'hui - Composition de produits
COTTAN - Le nouvel art formulatoire aujourd'hui - Composition claire

The new art of formulation, for the future.

This philosophy, inherited from the original know-how of the master formulators of the 19th century, guides each step of the Cottan House in order to propose, for today as for tomorrow, another approach to the conception of cosmetic products.

Indeed, the master formulator does not need a miracle ingredient or an INCI list of several pages. Two extremes between which the marketing stakes make the good balance of the products proposed in the field of beauty.

The relevance of a formula is measured by the accuracy of its proportions, and the ingenuity used to offer the best performance through the most refined and balanced compositions.

An art that is learned through practice, and defines the elegance of your cosmetics.

Thus, each of our products is developed according to these precepts, to fully meet its promise of efficiency, at the height of the pleasure of the senses. Welcome to COTTAN.