Clarins’ Blockbuster Skincare Launch: Double Serum Eye
Of all the skincare brands I’ve covered in my career, I’ve recommended Clarins more than any other. Here’s why: I’ve been to the Research & Development Labs in Paris and interviewed the scientists and research director. I’ve interviewed almost every member of the Courtin-Clarins family. I’ve spent hours with Clarins’ Director of Responsible Innovation, Marie-Helene Lair. And I’ve traveled across the country hosting Twitter dinners with the brand. I believe Clarins offers really good value-for-money. The quality of the ingredients, the technology and the research that goes into every Clarins product is very good. It’s worth the price. That is my honest professional opinion.
French beauty expertise
Clarins was founded in 1954 by Jacques Courtin-Clarins, a medical student who developed a new approach to face and body treatments formulating a handful of luxury products based exclusively on plants. What was unique is that Jacques took traditional French spa techniques and rituals and combined them with these new botanical oils and creams scented with light and fresh floral notes. Every product came with detailed instructions on how to best apply using gentle massage, pressing products onto skin and warming the products in the palm of your hand before using. Response was so enthusiastic, he started expanding internationally in the 1970s. Today, the family-owned company is overseen by Jacques’ sons: Christian and Olivier, and their daughters. It’s one of the few prestige beauty companies that remains family-run.
It’s no surprise that skincare sales surged during the pandemic. Stay-at-home mandates meant that makeup was sidelined to the back of the beauty vanity and skincare products took centre stage. Sales of cleansers, face masks, toners, moisturizers and night creams all increased thanks to the self-care movement. These little luxuries gave women and men a lift during some very challenging times.
Out of this skincare trend came one star product: the skincare serum. Every brand from mass drugstore labels to ultra-luxe niche labels introduced its take on the trend. The popularity of this ultra-light skincare product is it allows consumers to target specific concerns with the highest concentration of active botanicals.
I was so fortunate to have a front-row seat during the early days of the serum trend before it truly took off. I was a guest of the Courtin-Clarins family at the global launch of the 8th generation of Clarins Double Serum in Paris, a formula that turned out to be a game-changer in the industry. This next-generation serum featured two separate chambers that dispensed a hydric serum and lipidic oil to mimic the skin’s composition which is 70% water and 30% oil. (Some plant actives are only soluble in oil; others in water. And while the star ingredient in this new formula was turmeric, I was quietly told at a briefing session that there were indeed more plant actives in the product than listed in the marketing material. Clarins has always operated on the theory of “open formula” and from the very first days in 1985 when Double Serum first arrived on store shelves, the brand’s scientists were adding additional plant extracts as they made new discoveries. They constantly work to make the products even better while retaining the texture and results. You could say they are particularly proficient at understanding and utilizing anti-oxidants.
Let’s back up for a moment and answer an important question: What is a serum?
“A serum is a concentrate of care, an efficiency booster,” explains Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins. “They are designed to target specialized needs, act according to the needs of the skin on the functions responsible for youth, or restore natural moisture or contribute to the firmness or skin balance mechanisms. They guarantee the beauty and strength of the epidermis.” He says serums are formulated with an extra-fine, instantly-penetrating nature to absorb deep into the skin. Think of them as skin problem solvers.
Does a serum replace a moisturizer? “No, that’s because a serum does not replace the hydrating and protecting actions of your day or night cream, but serves to optimize them. If your serum has an anti-wrinkle control element such as Double Serum Eye, it is best to use it at night, because that is when cell regeneration is most active.”
The latest version of Clarins Double Serum has won more than 394 global beauty awards and ranked at the top of beauty retailer sales lists since its debut in 2017. Almost immediately after the launch, the Research and Development Team began working on an eye serum version. It all started with a single sentence:
“We blink 10,000 times per day utilizing 22 muscles.”
With that remarkable fact, all attention focused on the skin around the eye.
Why skin around the eye shows skin aging first
When it comes to the signs of skin aging, the skin around the eye shows aging first. That is because the skin around the eye area is four times thinner than the rest of the face. Compounding the problem is that there aren’t as many support fibres either. Add in the damage by UV rays and the effects of blue light from smartphones and laptops and you have skin that becomes fragile and easily damaged. Unlike the rest of our face, the skin around the eye has almost no hydrolipic film causing the eye contour to become dehydrated more quickly. This is skin that needs careful and consistent attention to keep it healthy and looking younger, longer.
Double Serum Eye
The story of Double Serum Eye began five years ago deep inside Clarins’ Research and Development Centre on the outskirts of Paris. There, in the high-tech labs, Nathalie Issachar, Research and Development Director challenged her 95 R&D staff to formulate the next great skincare serum using the finest plant actives from around the world.
“At any one time, we are working on 460 formulas which allows us to launch 170 new products every year,” she tells me while giving me a tour of the high-tech labs. “It takes three-to-five years to develop and perfect a formula. And we are constantly travelling the world, through Peru, Brazil and China to discover new plants that have beneficial effects on our skin.” She points to a room to our right. “We even have our own phytochemistry lab which allows us to study different parts of plants such as the leaves, flowers and fruit. We don’t want to use the roots or stems because we only want sustainable ingredients that are good for the earth.”
“There are over 300,000 plants on earth and we only know a couple thousand of them. And that doesn’t include the multitude of ocean plant species. We’re only at the very beginning of understanding the remarkable power and benefits of plants.” Clarins scientists study and test 400 plants each year with approximately ten proving beneficial to skin.
Marie-Helene Lair, director of responsible innovation for the Clarins Group, explains that this in-depth research of 196 plants specifically related to eye skin vitality led to a remarkable discovery. “We discovered the unique power of organic wild chervil extract to boost the production of alpha-v integrins which reinforces the proper cellular cohesion in the skin around the eye contour. This single ingredient increased alpha-v integrins by 119%.” What’s even more impressive that when paired with turmeric, it results in a double, complementary action on the five vital functions around the eye contour.”
The inhouse studies revealed that the product smoothed wrinkles instantly, reduced puffiness and dark circles, strengthened the skin around the eye contour, illuminated the eye area and thanks to an anti-pollution complex protected the skin from the harmful effects of blue light.
So what else is in Double Serum Eye? Along with the wild chervil and turmeric, you’ll find avocado for regeneration, horse chestnut for oxygenation, organic kiwi for added vitamins, Arabica coffee shrub to reduce puffiness, leaf of life for hydration and ginger lily for protection. All-in-all, the formula is 96% natural.
“Most people underestimate how important it is to use a skincare product like an eye serum properly,” adds Lair. “You need to use it consistently morning and night – never skipping a day – to show the best results.” Your skin needs a regular, consistent supply of these plant actives every day to help it repair itself. And show healthy, radiant results.
How to Properly Apply Double Serum Eye
To start, mix both formula phases in the palm of your hand using your fingertips. Then apply by gently patting the product into the skin, both under the eyes and on the eyelids. Work from the inner corner out to the temples then press down gently between the eyebrows. You never want to rub an eye serum as that will just rub away the product from where your skin needs it most. Always gently pat.