Inside Cosme Decorté's luxurious AQ range
When it comes to product design, Cosme Decorté's partnership with Dutch designer Marcel Wanders is one of the most endearing and enduring that we've seen in the beauty industry. Using motifs of the brand, like the flower and the diamond shape, Wanders and team have created one of the prettiest and most distinctive skincare designs in the industry — one that is instantly recognisable, feminine and chic, all at the same time. Wanders also designed the brand's iconic Maison Decorté store in Ginza Six. But if you're a skincare lover you'll know that it's what's in the bottle that is even important than the bottle itself.
A luxury brand under Japanese skincare giant Kosé, Cosme Decorté is all about combining science with a pampering experience so that your skin is calmed and rejuvenated. Created in 1990, AQ's (which stands for Absolute Quality) latest update is now focused on skin healing and responsiveness, under the premise that your skincare is most effective when you are relaxed. It makes sense, as internal imbalances can lead to everything from dull and uneven skin to acne breakouts, but many brands have treated skin as an organ that exists almost independent of the rest of the body. To put it in layman's terms, the new range attempts to create a sensation of relaxation in both the skin and the mind. The key ingredient in the range is white mucuna extract, which acts on the skin's natural ability to rejuvenate itself. Also in the formula, is white birch sap which is so rare that it can only be harvested just four times a year when the snow begins to melt. Because the scent of the products is integral to the range's success at creating a relaxing mood, the brand has ensured that it is soothing, pleasant and not too obtrusive. The choice of fragrance is a refreshing, yet deep, floral-woody scent that is centred around the elegant, night-blooming cereus — a rare plant that blooms just once a year in the summer. It's the kind that of smell that will make you want to take a deep breath, and relax, which helps to create the mood Cosme Decorté is aiming for.
While some may find the extensive Japanese skincare regimen confusing — the Japanese invented multiple steps waay before anyone else, after all — it is quite straightforward. Start with the Cleansing Cream which removes both subum and makeup, and add on the Washing Cream if you want to do double-cleansing at night. Next soften with the Emulsion, before applying one of two Lotions — depending on your preference for a hydrating or astrigent formula. Finally finish off with the moisturising Cream at night. Additional products include a Massage Cream — ideal for those who have the time and patience to add the massage step into their routine — and the Moisture Lift Mask, a peel-off treatment that can be applied a few times a week to tone and lift the skin. This innovative mask changes colour when its applied, so you know just when to remove it.
Another star product from the new range is their oils. Perfect for use at night, the Oil Infusion, in particular has a non-oily texture because it was created from a special base that is meant to be non-sticky. It's the perfect faceoil for non-oil lovers and even those who suffer from hormonally-induced pimples. Created with a high concentration of white mucuna extract, this leaves even the driest complexions glossy and revitalised, yet absorbs almost immediately into skin, leaving a smooth, but matte finish. If you would like a more traditional oil, the Botanical Pure Oil is made from 100 per cent plant-derived oils including organic olive fruit oil, jojoba and safflower as well as kukui nut oil. This rich oil is full of essential fatty acids which helps to maintain moisture while firming the skin,and is recommended for dry climates, air-conditioned bedrooms and for those with drier, or more mature complexions.
And who better to tell us the effects of the new range that someone who has been using it faithfully for the past 12 months (at the time of our press trip). According to Hiroko Ishii, from the brand's product development team, "The products improve the density, fairness, tone and resilience of the skin. My facial contours are sharper and it also addresses sagging and dullness that many women experience at the end of the day." Products like the Oil Infusion for example improve not just the skin, but act as a good makeup base too. Says Ishii, "When I apply this every morning before my makeup, you can really see the difference in tone and clarity of the complexion." Ultimately good skincare is functional, but also pleasurable. No one wants to use products that smell like fish oil on their faces, although some may do so in the name of beauty. But if you're the kind who doesn't mind or react to fragrances in skincare, and prefer your products to look as good as they are, you can't do any better than this range.
From $75 to $298. Available from 6 October at Kosé counters