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Planning Retirement Online

Laterlife visits Clarins

Maureen Green visits Clarins for (January 2001)

The French cosmetic house of Clarins has risen to fame with a series of products and treatments based on plant extracts. They are researched and tested in their laboratories outside Paris, totally without recourse to animal tests. Despite the position of number one selling skin-care company in the UK, Clarins is still an independent, privately owned French company, which has brought to a world-wide market the ideas of Jacques Courtin-Clarins, one-time medical student who interrupted his studies during World War Two, and returned to civilian life as a physiotherapist.


He began producing his own massage and treatment oils based on plant extracts. When his patients saw an improvement not just in their physical health but also in their appearance, he moved into the field of beauty therapy as well.

The Clarins beauty routine has a lot to offer the mature face and body, both in its products and also in personal treatments. There are 75 Clarins Studios attached to Clarins counters throughout the UK, plus many more world-wide. Here the "Paris method " face treatments, which take just over an hour, concentrate on working on lymphatic drainage and increasing blood circulation in the face. The aim is to stimulate cell renewal using delicate massage that sensitive skins can tolerate. The facial massage costs 39, with a similar price for body treatment.

But whether you can get to a Clarins Studio or not, their products are well worth considering. When I visited their London headquarters beside leafy Cavendish Place, they emphasised the importance of a daily beauty routine. This, they say, pays dividends in maintaining a youthful appearance, whereas happily dipping into a pot of cream a couple of times and hoping for miracles does not. Daily means every day.

The mature moisturiser

The moisturiser recommended for the mature skin is Multi-Regenerante Jour (Extra Firming Day Cream; it comes as a lotion too), rich in plant extracts including sage, hops and red algae which are activated by daylight to boost the skin’s diminishing levels of vitamin D. Other ingredients are horsetail and meadowsweet which are included to improve skin vitality. Algae from the Antarctic are claimed to provide resistance to pollution, central heating and other hazards while extracts from wheatgerm and sesame oils provide a protective shield against free radicals. Launched in 1996, this quickly became a top seller with a 50 ml jar costing 36.

A year later, Multi-Regenerante Nuit (Extra Firming Night Cream) was launched to complement the day cream. Its purpose is to enhance normal overnight rest and regeneration of the skin by strengthening collagen and elastin fibres which maintain the skin’s firmness. Ingredients include micro-algae spiruline and chlorella. A jar for night time repair costs 38 for 50 ml. Clarins also make a lighter night cream, Peau Neuve Fluide, which is claimed to do much the same job.

Try the crash course

For those who feel their skin and facial outline is in need of even more help, a six-weeks use of Serum Tenseur Raffermisant (Extra-Firming Concentrate) in the morning and/or Double Serum 38 at night, both including plant auxins, are recommended. This treatment can be thought of as a crash course. Use it six weeks on and six weeks as needed . It is the anti-ageing treatment par excellence, containing plant auxins, which, we are told, "are also known as phytohormones and are naturally occurring molecules which behave like hormones to encourage plant development and extend plant life". Plant auxins extracted from sunflowers (a very strong plant able to hold a heavy flower head) and the sequoia (the oldest and tallest of trees) can significantly increase the skin’s resistance to the signs of ageing, we are assured.

This product is a gel to be applied under a daytime moisturiser to the face, around the eye socket (but not within), over the lips and neck. Especially suitable for the mature skin, it comes in a 30 ml pump dispenser bottle at 35.

For a pick-me-up when the skin looks particularly tired there is also a Masque Raffermisant Multi-Regenerant which is applied over the face and neck, left on for ten minutes and then removed with a damp cotton pad. The mask costs 30 for a 75m1 tube.

Eyes right for this

Clarins skin-care staff counsel that most women are far too rough with the eye area, and can provoke puffiness by putting eye creams too far into the eye socket itself. Patting around the bony socket is usually enough and the cream will seep gently into the inner area. In the morning, Clarins Extra Firming Eye Contour Serum, based on papaya and pineapple extracts among others, should be patted on the bone around the eye socket to reduce puffiness, and dark circles. At night, the Extra-Firming Eye Contour Cream is a lightweight formula, full of vitamins C and E and chicory extract for moisture. Both products have the same PH balance as tears and sell for 25 for a 20 ml mini pump dispenser.

Remember to use an eye make-up remover, never the same make-up remover intended for the rest of the face. The area around the eye is very tender and fragile, so it needs special care.

Facelift in a bottle

It won't do the same as surgery, but Clarins researchers came up with their facelift in a bottle, Lift Minceur Visage (Contouring Facial Lift), which they would recommend to women of any age who feel that they are losing or have never had a firm facial outline. Said to be particularly helpful against a ‘jowly’ look are the extracts of garcinia cambogia and caffeine which help release fatty deposits, while dark algae and butcher’s broom stimulate the micro-circulation to drain away toxins and excess fluid. Application, once a day and preferably at night, is by a novel method: the product is pumped into the hands, then you rest your elbows on the knees so your face is lowered onto the hands. Stay there for a couple of minutes to press the cream into the skin of the jowl. Any extra can be pressed into the forehead and neck.

As facelifts go, this is perhaps not that expensive, at 28 for a 50 ml dispenser.

All in all, Clarms comes across as a producer of very refined and elegant skin-care creams and lotions, with a good part of their range directed at the mature face.

Multi-Regenerante Jour 50 ml jar, 36.

Multi-Regenerante Nuit 50 ml jar, 38

Serum Tenseur Raffermisant or Double Serum 38 30 ml dispenser, 35

Masque Raffermisant Multi-Regenerant 75m tube, 30

Extra Firming Eye Contour Serum or Extra-Firming Eye Contour Cream 20 ml dispenser, 25

Lift Minceur Visage 50 ml dispenser, 28


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