Clarins Doubles Down
Twenty-seven years ago, a monumental addition to the Clarins family came into being—make that two monumental additions: 1985 marked the launch of the French brand’s original Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate, a multitasking elixir designed to tackle the skin’s five vital functions (hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection, and regeneration), and front-row regular Virginie Courtin-Clarins was born. While both are now fixtures in the fashion world, the former has gone through six formula upgrades—let’s call them makeovers—to keep it functioning at optimal levels as new technologies and new ingredients have come to light. “Most companies launch new products, and when the one on the market isn’t working anymore, they switch to a different one. Clarins has a different policy,” explains Nathalie Issachar, the line’s director of marketing development and scientific communication. “[We] have a policy of open formula, so we update only if we find scientific technology that’s news”—which is exactly what keeps happening with Double Serum, and exactly why it remains such a favorite among consumers, which is to say it still works, and well.
Thanks in part to the tireless work of Clarins’ resident ethnobotanist Jean-Pierre Nicolas, who sources ingredients from all over the world for the green-leaning French beauty brand, and a nifty new packaging idea, Double Serum has just gotten a new lease on life yet again. “We did three hundred trials, with hundreds of extracts,” Issachar divulges of the process by which she came upon the twenty natural extracts that bolster the new formula, which includes burdock root and marshmallow to boost hydration; macadamia and kiwi extracts to restore suppleness; maritime pine and arnica to enhance radiance; pistachio and quinoa to protect against premature aging; and green banana and hops to help maintain firmness and density. What shocked Issachar the most was not the diverse array of super-foods, fruits, and herbs that Nicolas presented her with but the efficacy they had when put together. “I used to work a lot with the well-known molecule retinol, which treats photoaging, and I have a lot of knowledge of retinoic acid,” she explains. “And what we have been able to demonstrate is a comparably effective retinoic acid—without the irritation. That surprised me.”
Exceptionally potent ingredients are only part of the story here, as they can do more harm than good if not harnessed properly. “Botanical extracts are very sensitive to light and oxidation. When you use a plant extract, you usually have problems, so when you have twenty plant extracts, you have twenty more problems, as far as increasing the potential for chemical and physical incapability,” she reveals. But a breakthrough bottle design that includes two entirely different chambers—one that contains hydric, or water-soluble, ingredients and the other that contains lipidic, or oil-soluble, ingredients—has let Clarins maximize its new formula’s potency without the risk of compromising its components. “You have two-thirds water and one-third lipids in your body, so we are reproducing the ratio you have in the skin,” Issachar says of the serum’s bi-phase system that blends together through a singular pump right before you apply it. “We are bio-mimicking,” she explains, and as a result, the product absorbs better and treats all signs of aging, instead of just one—that’s, wrinkles, enlarged pores, discoloration, et al. Here’s to another twenty-seven years of innovation.
Photo: Courtesy of Clarins