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Skincare’s new ‘Super Power Plants’

Add ‘harungana’ and ‘gorse’ extract to your skincare shopping list this season. Clarins adds both to the new generation of Super Restorative Creams to help lift, regenerate skin & target wrinkles.

Skincare's New Super Power Plants
Skincare’s New Super Power Plants

Since its inception in 1954, French skincare brand Clarins has searched the world for the most potent and effective plant botanicals for its prestige creams and serums. Jacques Courtin-Clarins understood the power of plant extracts when he first started blending oils for his massage clients in Paris. Today, the company has an official ‘ethnobotanist’ on staff who travels the globe studying how people in different cultures make use of indigenous plants. Some trees and bushes have remarkable healing effects on human skin – knowledge that indigenous elders have known for centuries.

This knowledge is studied in Clarins’ phytochemistry lab in Paris where 95 research and development staff look at 400 plants to see if there is any benefit to human skin. These scientists observe all parts of the plant: leaves, flowers, stems, fruit…with the exception of the roots. It’s important to ensure the plant extract is sustainable. A year’s worth of work studying 400 plants yields ten successful investigations. It then takes another three-to-eight years to develop, test and approve an ingredient for consumer use.

“Of the 300,000 plants on Earth, scientists have only categorized and studied a couple thousand of them. There are so many plants we know nothing about,” says Nathalie Issachar, Clarins Research and Development Director. “When someone asks me what my favourite plant is, I always say, ‘It’s the one we haven’t discovered yet’.” In this high tech world of synthetic ingredients and headspace technology, nature still offers incredible mysteries and breakthroughs. You’ll notice that every staff member at the company’s headquarters has incredible respect and appreciation for plants and trees. It’s a part of the company’s culture.

harungana
harungana

“The most exciting innovative plant discovery for fall 2022 is our Harungana extract,” adds Marie-Helene Lair, Director of Responsible Innovation at Clarins. She says the wide-leaved plant is nature’s answer to retinol. “It’s demonstrated that it is as afficient as retinol to replenish skin. Three kinds of significant tests have assessed this strong claim: in vitro, ex vivo and clinical data.” Researchers first uncovered the replenishing ability organic harungana eight years ago and began extensive scientific testing. It quickly proved to be a true botanical ‘treasure’ capable of revitalizing and replenishing the skin. The plant’s efficacy was proven on the five aspects of skin ageing: collagen, pro-collagen 1, elastin, laminin-5, and CRBP1. A scientific publication is pending.

harungana
harungana

For decades, retinol or Vitamin A has been the gold standard in anti-aging skincare. No other ingredient has as many scientific studies from universities around the world scientifically proving the effects on skin. The derivative of Vitamin A has been proven to work on skin firmness, wrinkles, dark spots and radiance. It does this by stimulating collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production to help visibly improve the quality of skin. Thanks to its plant-based expertise, Clarins’ researchers were able to find a plant-based alternative to retinol, which is just as effective as retinol and well-tolerated by all skin types, even sensitive skin. This is important to anyone who has tried retinol in the past but found its strength caused redness and irritation. Harungana appears to be much gentler on skin.

harungana
harungana

So just what is harungana? It’s a small African bushy tree found in evergreen forests throughout South Africa to Sudan. It’s characterized by its large, glossy leaves that thrive on a cylindrical trunk. It’s crown appears as a golden-green colour and the blooms are cream-coloured with an almond aroma. The tree has been used by indigenous communities to treat a wide range of health issues such as headaches, fevers and sore throats for generations. What’s particularly interesting about harungana is that its sap is a fluorescent orange colour which discharges when leaves or stems are snapped off. Clarins has found sustainable farms to grow the tree organically for skincare purposes.

gorse
gorse

The second ‘Skincare Super Power Plant’ sounds like a dish you’d order at a restaurant in Norway. It’s called ‘gorse’ and it is a powerful new addition in fighting skin slackening. An emblematic plant from Brittany, France, gorse is a very resistant ‘pioneer’ plant with vibrant yellow blooms that grows in almost any type of soil and can be found primarily along the coast. One plant can produce several thousand seeds every year that remain healthy for more than 20 years. And its nectar and pollen are a favourite food source for bee populations.

gorse
gorse

Gorse extract has remarkable effects on the skin’s vital fibroblast behavior. Fibroblasts help produce collagen and elastin fibres within the skin which help maintain skin tissues, firmness and elasticity. They help keep you looking younger, longer. Unfortunately, over time, production of these fibres diminish, implying a loss of density, firmness and elasticity in the skin – the skin’s natural ageing process. 

gorse
gorse

Organic gorse extract to the rescue. This plant active was proven to help restore tone to fibreblasts by 89% in In Vitro scientific tests. It significantly helped in targeting skin slackening. Now, here’s the wonder of nature in action: organic harungana extract boosts the efficacy of organic gorse by 95%. The synergies of the two plants working together led to even better results.

Skincare & Hormonal Balances: New Advances

Now that we know the two new “Skincare Super Power Plants”, where do we find them? And what are they best used for? Targeting skin slackening linked to hormonal changes. In 2014, Nathalie Issachar’s team discovered how fibroblasts in the skin change during hormonal balances. Their shape changed due to a reduction of estrogen. Their activity slowed down and their number declined. Consequently, the skin’s renewal slowed, wrinkles set in and the signs of skin ageing intensified. Fast forward eight years and thanks to a partnership with a network of scientific laboratories across France (INSERM), the brand studied the impact reduced hormonal activity can have on fibroblasts’ ability to maintain fiber tension to which they attached. After menopause, fibroblasts lose 99% of their tension strength compared to young fibroblasts. Besides producing less collagen, affected fibroblasts lose tone. They aren’t as ‘strong’ as before so they struggle to pull on fibres to maintain their tightening effect on skin. The result? Skin slackening.

Thankfully, there are two new formulas that can help with this skin concern: the NEW generation of Clarins Super Restorative Day and Night Creams.

Super Restorative Day Cream

With a new ultra-comfortable second-skin texture, the day cream is formulated to work with the skin’s chronobiology to meet the skin’s specific needs during the day. It protects against external aggressors all day long and is enriched with vegetal squalane that helps restore the hydrolidic film.

Super Restorative Night Cream

The skin focuses most of its repair work during the night while we sleep. The skin’s natural rhythms change which is why you need to use a night cream. The plant actives work to support fibroblast activity and organic sea lily helps counterbalance any dehydration.

gorse
gorse

Clarins Super Restorative Day and Night Creams are available in Canada at clarins.ca

352 Comments

  • Reply
    Kimberly A Cage
    August 22, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    wow that is so cool that theres a research team of 95 people and development staff that look at 400 plants to see if there is any benefit to human skin

  • Reply
    Susan Gillam
    August 22, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Niee!! Some great info here!

  • Reply
    Kristen Visser
    August 22, 2022 at 11:49 am

    wow that is so cool that theres a research team of 95 people and development staff that look at 400 plants to see if there is any benefit to human skin

  • Reply
    Kelly Martin
    August 22, 2022 at 11:47 am

    I love when natural derivatives are used to make our skin so beautiful

  • Reply
    linda l
    August 22, 2022 at 11:45 am

    Very interesting and I like hearing and seeing more companies using natural ingredients like plants for their products.
    @lindas7700

  • Reply
    Donna Maslen
    August 22, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Love learning how nature is so healing. @iCruiseify

  • Reply
    shirleynaegeli
    August 22, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Interesting to learn about the Harungana plant and how the extracts have the same effects as retinol.

  • Reply
    Tracey Poliakiwski
    August 22, 2022 at 11:10 am

    Interesting that there are 300,000 plants on Earth, and that only thousand of them have been studied and categorized. That there are so many plants that we really don’t know anything about and the discoveries that are waiting for us.

  • Reply
    Heather T
    August 22, 2022 at 11:06 am

    Neat! Very interesting! I never heard about these super power plants before.

  • Reply
    Christine Geo
    August 22, 2022 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for sharing this very interesting information

  • Reply
    KIMBERLEY MALACHOWSKI
    August 22, 2022 at 10:51 am

    I LEARNED A LOT FROM THIS ARTICLE! @FERGIE_KIM

  • Reply
    Naomi
    August 22, 2022 at 10:29 am

    I may have to plant a field of gorse in my backyard…

  • Reply
    Cheryl Germain
    August 22, 2022 at 10:28 am

    An interesting fact that I learned is “Of the 300,000 plants on Earth, scientists have only categorized and studied a couple thousand of them”

  • Reply
    Becky Depiano
    August 22, 2022 at 10:23 am

    I find the healing properties of plants to be so interesting.

  • Reply
    Cindy Procter
    August 22, 2022 at 10:23 am

    It just amazes me how useful plants can be ,,very interesting read

  • Reply
    Garelyn Williams
    August 22, 2022 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Thandi Maphongwana
    August 22, 2022 at 10:23 am

    I love that they use natural plants for their products

  • Reply
    Ruweida Muhammad
    August 22, 2022 at 10:14 am

    This is so interesting and fascinating 😍 Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Jodi
    August 22, 2022 at 10:03 am

    Clarins has always been way ahead of the curve with their plant extracts. Amazing!

  • Reply
    Holly S.
    August 22, 2022 at 9:49 am

    It blows my mind to think that of all the plants that scientists have only studied a couple of thousand so far.

  • Reply
    Carole
    August 22, 2022 at 9:42 am

    I thought I knew a lot of plants used in skincare nowadays, but This article made me discover new plants that I have never heard before! Clarins did it again!

  • Reply
    Lisa O.
    August 22, 2022 at 9:35 am

    After reading about the gorse, I definitely need some to help my stressed, aging desert living skin out!!

  • Reply
    Helena K
    August 22, 2022 at 9:33 am

    I love clarins products and these seem fabulous!

  • Reply
    Mrs Sharon Lawrence
    August 22, 2022 at 9:31 am

    I adore the smell of Plants, their Healing properties are helpful too. I enjoyed your article and learnt loads. So funny, that we have gone back to simpler times and using nature to heal us again. Clarins is a Brand I know I can trust too.

  • Reply
    Lisa Carbone
    August 22, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Wonderfully informative and exciting new formulas from Clarins. I need some “gorse” in my life immediately!

    Cheers Lisa

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