Evolution of an icon: Behind the 8th generation of the Clarins Double Serum
All in the family
It's a skincare saga that began in 1985 and has successively brought legions of women into its fold over the years. Ever evolving and not one to rest on their laurels, Clarins once again reworks its cult Double Serum to unveil the 8th generation successor to the 30-year old formula. A plant-based concoction founded on cellular biology that transformed the way women took care of their complexions, 2017 sees Clarins Laboratories taking it to the next level by decoding the language of youthful skin.
By sussing out the five vital functions — regeneration, oxygenation, nutrition, hydration and protection — that transmit 'messages' among the cells to preserve the skin's youth and beauty, the art of 'expression and listening' is the new Double Serum's beauty byline. What this means is every single drop of the serum enhances the receptive capability of cells, optimised by all of Clarins' most recent plant discoveries (a whopping 21 in total), the star ingredient of which is the turmeric root. Extracted and refined into tumerone, this key concentrate protects the cells' lipid microdomains responsible for churning out keratinocytes in the skin's barrier function and also promotes fibroblasts for youthful skin. Essentially, you'll have an 'open communications network' that reacts way better to combat wrinkles, loss of firmness and radiance on top of visible pores. You know, all the pesky signs of ageing.
Completely repackaged to boot, the Double Serum's unique two-part hydric and lipidic formula — that's water-soluble and oil-based in everyday speak — comes in a new double vial bottle that makes it possible for the all ingredients to co-exist without causing instability or breaking down. It's the complete, all-in-one wunderkind formula to target every possible skin concern. And if the psyched reaction during the exclusive media preview is any indication, this iconic re-innovation needs to be your skincare staple, stat. But pre-pomp and circumstance, we nip in for a quick Q&A with Lair on the hows and whys that go into the 8th-gen edit of the Clarins Double Serum, and the reason she lovingly calls it the 'Swiss army knife of skincare':
The Double Serum is an iconic product for Clarins. Why did the brand decide to re-innovate this product again?
It's iconic because when Jacques Courtin-Clarins decided to launch the product in 1984, he wanted to put in one bottle the best of nature with a concentration of active ingredients. But due to the incompatibilities between all the plants, the solution then was to have two bottles. And that's the beginning of the story. Following year after year of permanent innovation where we discover new plants and new secrets in the skin, we improve the efficacy of the serum. This innovative spirit is what drives us. Between the previous serum and the new Double Serum, we've made so many discoveries and innovations that it's time to change; it's time to embrace the two-bottle formulation, the best of nature and the best of dermatology derived from science.
What is the new ingredient, technology or discovery that drove the re-invention of the product?
If you remember, the previous serum was about the expression of self. It's about how the skin reaches out to say, "Oh, I need water, I need oxygen, and so on..,". But that's really just half of the communication. It's like humans — we speak, but we also have to listen. It's a two-way street, and that's important. It's the purpose of the Double Serum. This is the second half of the skincare language: Listening capacity and listening ability. Nobody gave this element any attention. So our biologists decided to work with international specialists from Belgium who study interaction within cells and the environment. They're cell biologists and they know everything about the membrane and every facet of the cells. We knew that this team had discovered a very specific area of the membrane a few years ago, full of 'receptors'. It's like the ears of the cells because that's where the cells can catch all the messages sent by surrounding cells and by the environment.
So we began to research deeply into this area and we made two discoveries. First, we discovered that due to age — and also due to outside stressors such as pollution — the number of these receptors decrease dramatically. This led to an overall decrease in the listening capacity of the skin and a drop in skin vitality. This discovery was so significant that the team we worked with decided to publish the findings in a scientific publication magazine. So now we had to find the solution. How do we help the skin listen again? And that's when we looked to nature and we found a very 'talkative' plant, which was the turmeric. It has specific molecules that are active and aromatic, so they can appeal or repel insects to boost pollination. So we isolated the turmeric in a very specific extract and you've got it in the inner bottle, in the lipidic phase.
What differences can we expect in terms of results and also the texture of this much-loved serum? Incidentally, how will the serum wear in Singapore's humid climate?
You'll discover it's lighter. With one pump, you can see the two serum phases and it almost looks like an egg yolk (laughs). You will feel the difference in terms of texture because we've removed the mineral oil. There is only vegetable oil in this new version, and we kept the same scent. Plus you now have a choice between two drop 'sizes' — the small one or a generous one when you twist the lid accordingly.
So you use the Double Serum according to your needs, the climate, or even your travels. And don't forget the neck too! Face and neck; that's very important. Whether you need one drop or two, small or large, it's up to you. To me, the Double Serum meets the needs of every woman —regardless of their age, ethnicity, country's climate and skin conditions.
Tell us some tricks and tips on combining the Double Serum with other Clarins products and makeup to maximise efficiency.
My favourite makeup artist gave me a tip to put one drop of the Double Serum in your foundation in the morning. Melt the two textures and apply, and you'll have baby skin! And the makeup holds all day long too; I just love it. When I travel a lot, I will apply two large drops of the serum to soothe my skin. It has no silicon, so it penetrates deeper into the skin and it's such a wonderful texture, so comfortable.
Another tip is that you can combine your Double Serum with all your creams. I love it with any of our Clarins face masks. Sometimes you just need a little bit more because you're tired, and this will boost the mask. It's a global formula with all the skincare powers, so you are going to find that it's a fit for everyone. That's why I call it my Swiss army knife with many blades.
To you, what makes the Double Serum an innovative star product — that is, what that is often copied but not bettered by other brands?
Clarins is the only one to address our skin's listening capacity. We are the brand that really details the communication [the language of skin] based on this double dimension: Expression and listening. That's why we have published our research to state that we're the first with this discovery and innovation. It's better than having patents because our published research is like a worldwide release. And it goes beyond any regular serum because it prevents the loss of the five vital functions of the skin. By boosting the global vitality of the skin, you regain its health and youth, so it's much more than just an anti-ageing serum.
Christian Courtin-Clarins once described the serum as a multi-vitamin. How is it like a vitamin for your skin?
I'd say it's much more than just vitamins, because that's just one part of having good skin. You also need mineral salts and many other nutrients. So instead of introducing new facial tools for the skin — what we deem as passive action — we'd rather the skin help itself by being active. Think of it like that analogy, "instead of giving a man a fish, teach him how to fish instead". It's exactly the same with the Double Serum. That's why its effect is long-term and not just a supplement.
Of course, when you apply a product, you want to have that sensorial feel right away and it's impossible to wait weeks to have that change. With the Double Serum, you will feel an immediate effect because it is an active texture. As soon as you apply it, you'll see, feel and smell this signature Clarins formula, which differs from other brands due to the speed of penetration. And that's also how Clarins sets itself apart from the competition, because it's always evolving and actively meeting the needs of the modern woman who want the best and that 'right now' element. But take note that you have to wait four weeks for the deep biological effects to take place. We're very honest at Clarins; yes, you will see something immediately on application due to the active texture but you must keep using it daily to truly transform your skin.
Will the brand be expanding the Double Serum to other complementary products?
At the moment we're very excited because we have another idea to complete the lineup. However, the competition in the skincare industry is fierce and we're very slow at Clarins when it comes to product development because we only want to have the very best. You can find competitors being very speedy with their launches, but that's not the case with us because what we do is handcrafted development. We need time to create the best product for women all over the world. Also, we have to do product testing before we do regional launches — be it in Asia, Europe or the US — and that takes time. And that's why Clarins will always stay on our toes because that's the universe of skincare.
The new 8th generation edition Double Serum will be available at all Clarins counters, boutiques and the Clarins Skin Spa from 31 August, $125 - $170