Buro chats with Clarins' ambassador Jenna Courtins-Clarins
Being part of the Clarins family, must be both daunting and exciting in equal measure. After all, the French cosmetics and skincare empire that was founded in 1954, is one of the few, surviving family-run beauty businesses that has gone truly global. Founder Jacques Courtins-Clarins, who pretty much popularised concepts like the modern spa treatment and harnessing plant extracts in skincare, passed away in 2007. The brand is currently run by his sons Christian and Dr Olivier Courtin-Clarins, while the next generation — their daughters Virginie, Claire, Prisca and Jenna — have taken on various roles within the Clarins group.
In person, Courtin-Clarins, like her twin sister Prisca and cousins Virginie and Claire, is tall, lithe and effortlessly stylish in the way only French women seem to be. And with her blonde mane, understated clothes and air of confidence, she's also the perfect ambassador for both French beauty and the brand. Here to relaunch a new retail concept in the Clarins store in Ion Orchard, Courtin-Clarins, speaks to us on always putting the customer first, why she believes so strongly in cleansing, and her must-haves when it comes to makeup.
On the new retail concept
We are opening this new concept everywhere in the world — so far 10 stores have opened. We have some stores in Europe as well as one in Hong Kong. The consumer is the most important thing for us. She has to enter a Clarins boutique and feel at home. She has to find what she is looking for easily with the proper categorisation of products, nice typography and good service staff who can lead you to what you need. She will find it funny and engaging, with little tips to help her.
Memories of her grandfather
Our grandfather used to try every product on us — me, my sister and my cousins. He would teach us how to apply the product — it was like a game for us and we were happy to learn about it. He taught us how to warm the cream, put some pressure when we applied it and even how to apply a body product from the feet up to the hips, even before the tender age of 10.
He also taught us how to have a healthy lifestyle and to use sunscreen as we were with him at his family house by the seaside for one month during the summer.
On what makes Clarins enduringly popular
It has always been centred around the consumer. My grandfather was the first to do customer relationship management. He was reading all the consumer feedback about the cream, and this was really important for him. He knew that if women did not like the product they would not buy it again. He was so in love with women, that he wanted to really help them and solve their problems.
Favourite Clarins makeup
I love nourished lips so the Hydraquench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm for my lips is important. To have a beautiful, unified complexion, I use the Skin Illusion foundation and finally mascara. For the night, I add a little eyeliner — usually brown as black is too dark for me.
Skincare she can't live without
Always a product to take off the makeup. It's very important to have fresh and healthy skin. You cannot apply cream on dirty skin that has been exposed to pollution or with makeup still on it. We have the anti-pollution complex in every Clarins cream. I won't travel without the Gentle Foaming Cleanser as I love to wash my face with water, the Toning Lotion, then eye cream and the Multi-Active Day Cream — I never go out without protection on my skin — and I'll mix it with the Double Serum. That's not a lot of product!
When I'm travelling I use the Detox Booster — at Christmas time when I eat or drink too much — and the Repair Booster, when I'm really jetlagged and my skin is really dry and irritated.
Her role in Clarins
I travel around the world to talk about the brand and the family heritage, and I'm happy to share my vision and tips on using Clarins products. In Paris we worked for years to create this new concept, so we're proud to see it open around the world. We're developing more stores in Bordeaux and Lille, as well as in the big cities in Europe.
On Instagram and social media
It's really important and that's why our Instagram account has new concepts like videos, tutorials on how to apply makeup and fun illustrations.
Clarins is a brand where we don't just sell the product. After buying it you can go to the website, to see how to apply it, or find tips on how to wear the makeup or how to mix products. We don't just leave the customer to their devices. The younger generation loves that kind of engagement.
On what French beauty means
Effortless. Messy hair. Just the eyes or the lips done — not both. Parisian girls wear jeans, pullovers, sunglasses and carry baskets. They're very loose and relaxed, but when they have a big party or event, they can don full makeup and get dressed up.
That's the nice thing about Parisian girls. During the day, they're effortless and during the night, they can go all out with smoky eyes.