Recent years have presented a whirl of novel breakthroughs in beauty, particularly in anti-ageing skincare.
Today’s intelligent ingredients and high-tech formulations are able to reach key cells more efficiently than ever to promise quick and visible results. To keep up with the race, cult products have undergone transformative updates to offer maximum efficacy. We look into three recent groundbreaking revamps.
Shiseido: Total Defense
Founded in 1872, this Japanese giant is the world’s oldest cosmetic company. As the brand modernised, it made scientific research its core. In 2014, it added the serum into its arsenal of flagship products. Its creation took 25 years of research – a worthy endeavour as it quickly garnered awards and a devoted following. Its Ultimune Complex was regarded as radical; where many sought to remedy existing signs of ageing, the serum’s bedrock was strengthening skin health as a long-term prevention.
Seven years later, Shiseido has unveiled its 2021 re-edition as a progressive evolution of past editions. The serum’s recent facelift, named Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, features a proprietary complex called The Lifeblood ImuGenerationRED Technology. It offers double defense through two primary technologies to boost skin circulation.
The first is its Lifeblood Research, which cares for capillaries lost due to ageing and external damage. Once their health is compromised, it sets off a chain effect in which immunity cells are unable to be delivered effectively through skin, leaving the capillaries susceptible to damage. Lifeblood technology counters by lengthening them, ensuring consistent blood circulation so that the skin’s immune system continually renews itself.
The serum also activates the Natural Killer (NK) cells, which patrol the blood stream to destroy foreign bodies and aged cells. In healthy skin, cells that are damaged are naturally eliminated to make way for new ones. This process declines as we age. Within aged tissue, the NK cells become dormant and the damaged cells infect the healthy surrounding ones, wreaking havoc to skin. The Ultimune revives the NK cells to maintain skin immunity. Together, the two technologies build a strong capillary network to strengthen skin’s inner defenses.
The Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate’s multi-defensive ability is backed by two key ingredients that assure its ant-ageing potency: extracts of the resilient Japanese heart leaf plant, used to treat arteries for centuries, and the roselle. The latter is extracted from roselle flowers, which were regarded as an elixir for longevity by ancient civilisations. In the Ultimune, it is given a probiotic surge with lactic acid bacteria.
Rich and dewy, the serum applies cool on skin. This soothing sensation for both the wearer’s complexion and state of mind is triggered by the ImuCalm Compound. The blend of green floral fragrances, such as rose and lotus, calms skin and relieves stress with an additional layer of spicy notes for re-energisation.
Guerlain: Supporting renewal
Like Shiseido, Guerlain is a skincare pioneer well-versed in creating tours de force that relax and repair. The maison began in 1828 as a fragrance house that customised scents for high society. Guerlain became a disruptor of its time, with trailblazing firsts that surpassed scents to include skincare, like the Abeille Royale.
Launched in 2010, the collection of anti-ageing skincare formulations primarily draws from bee products. Its star is the Advanced Youth Watery Oil, so beloved that it is often dubbed a magic oil.
Reformulated while maintaining its famed sensorial appeal, the oil now contains 95 per cent naturally derived ingredients, much of which are sourced from bee products. It is also putting skin self-repair first.
Frédéric Bonté, head of research at Guerlain, tells us that the Advanced Youth Watery Oil is updated with new findings stemming from the links between nerve cells and skin cells. “The skin is one of the most innervated organs in our body. If the nerve cells present within the skin help wounds to close, they also help the skin to repair itself from the signs of aging,” he says.
Researchers discovered that the skin repairs itself five times faster with the presence of nerve endings in the epidermis. “Their molecular dialogues with skin epidermal and dermal cells are fundamental for collagen production, regeneration and skin barrier formation. With age, the nerve cells and connections within the skin become scarcer. The skin loses its firmness, flexibility and ability to regenerate.”
With this research, Guerlain presented the new Dynamic Black Bee Repair Technology. This is made of four precious honeys from different ecosystems and protected environments. “This selection is based on the genetics of the bees, the nature of the ecosystem in which they forage and bee products’ biological activity to repair the skin,” adds Bonté.
Aside from pure black bee honey from Ouessant (Ushant), which is a French island at the southwestern end of the English Channel, the formula contains rare honeys from the French-Mediterranean island of Corsica, the Greek island of Ikaria and the Åland Islands of Finland. Each has unique properties to repair different types of skin damage and accelerate complete repair. Along with the brand’s nutrient-rich royal jelly, these offer skin a plumping, anti-ageing effect.
Bonté assures that the texture remains something to behold – it is rich as oil and light as water. “The active micro-beads create a surprise on application. They melt on contact with the skin, until they disappear without leaving a sticky finish, while offering perfect distribution on skin.”
Clarins: Double trouble
Another beauty innovation that deserves the title of an icon is the Clarins Double Serum. In 1985, founder and chairman of the Clarins Group Jacques Courtin-Clarins proposed combining all the anti-ageing active ingredients in a single product to his chemical engineer, Lionel de Benetti. This was a challenge for Benetti as the ingredients react differently in water and oil. Clarins proposed a winning idea: the treatment could be offered in two separate bottles, and the customer could mix them upon usage.
The Double Serum’s packaging is made up of two separate vials. The inner holds the lipid phase containing oil-soluble ingredients while the exterior contains the hydric phase containing water-soluble ingredients. Upon dispensing, the two mix together seamlessly.
The icon has evolved over the years, and is now into its eighth edition with the most anti-ageing potent formula to date. Lauded for its emphasis on skin youth, it is composed of 21 potent plant extracts in their most optimal Clarins Double Serum Eye concentration. These focus on a pentagon of five vital skin functions: hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection and revitalisation. It is also backed with Cell Sensory Intelligence (CSI) Innovation that better triggers skin to react and repair when faced with urban aggressors.
This year, the Double Serum’s magic has been replicated for the eyes. Speaking in the brand’s presentation, ambassador Jenna Courtin-Clarins, says: “Double Serum is one of Clarins most popular products and women have asked why there wasn’t one for the eye.” Noting that women had been using the serum for their eyes, the brand set out to create a solution adapted for the delicate area. Like the original, it is a double formula of two products in one, with 13 plant extracts soluble in water and oil presented in a single hydrolipidic technology bottle.
“We discovered specific proteins called integrins that play a particular role around the eye contour area,” says Marie-Hélène Lair, Clarins’ director of responsible innovation. These alpha-v integrins are proteins that assure the cohesion of cells. They drastically lessen around the eye contour as you age, leading to the deceleration of the skin’s vital purposes and resulting in issues like wrinkles, puffiness and dullness.
It took 196 plants for Clarins to discover the organic wild chervil. The plant was selected for its ability to increase the production of alpha-v integrins to enable skin to regain its strength and vitality with proper cellular cohesion. It is combined with 12 other powerful plant extracts, including white horehound, which protects the skin from oxidation caused by blue light.
Impressively, the research took only three years. “As we’ve worked with plants from the very beginning, we can say we know them. We’ve always been an innovation ahead because we’ve screened so many. We have a large reserve that allows us to find a response quickly whenever a new scientific discovery related to the skin occurs,” says Christian Courtin-Clarins, president of the brand’s supervisory board.
As expected of the skincare powerhouse, the innovation never stops. Lair says her company’s managing director Olivier Courtin-Clarins uses the phrase “open formula” to describe the products. She explains, “It is a synonym for ongoing innovation. Product formulas at Clarins are never set in stone, even if they are successful worldwide. Our labs want to optimise the best scientific discoveries where possible.”
(Main and featured image: Guerlain)
This story first appeared in the September issue of Prestige Singapore.