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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.