Long, long before today’s natural beauty trend, Clarins was pioneering the use of botanicals in skincare. Its roots are on Rue Tronchet in Paris, where Jacques Courtin-Clarins developed a massage oil for his spa, blending essential oils with slimming properties, to increase the effectiveness of the firming massages which body-conscious Parisiennes flocked there for. As a medical student, Jacques began treating circulatory problems with massage, noticing improvements in patients’ skin. He decided to focus his research on improving the way patients felt and looked, opening that Institut de Beauté.
Fast-forwarded to the 21st Century and not only is Clarins one of the best-known beauty names in the entire world but at its heart – alongside the famous creams and oils – is an innovative fragrance which has been uplifting spirits and re-energising women (and men!) for more than 25 years:. The legendary Clarins Eau Dynamisante was the first eau de toilette to combine a perfume with the principles of aromatherapy and phytotherapy (plant therapy), hydrating and toning the skin while it refreshes. To celebrate 25 years of success, a couple of years ago, Clarins teamed up with 25 artists to illustrate a bottle of the fragrance – including designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and pastry genius Pierre Hermé – which were showcased in the window of Paris’s Colette, the fashionistas’ favourite department store.
Clarins has become quite some dynasty. The daughters of Christian and Olivier Courtin-Clarins (who took over running Clarins from their father Jacques) – Jenna, Prisca, Virginie and Claire – have now joined the group’s board – bringing a forward-looking spirit to the group. (Which also, FYI, has fragrances by Thierry Mugler, Azzaro, Swarovski and Zadig & Voltaire under its umbrella; 32% of Clarins’s sales are fragrance).
Says Virginie: ‘I’m very involved with the ethical and technological side of the brand. I try to give a young eye because we are a 100% family-owned company. My father and uncle are from a different generation – we have to explain blogs and Facebook to them. My sister and cousins try to make sure we’re opening Clarins to a young generation.’
In line with the world’s new, more sustainable way of thinking, Clarins Eau Dynamisante is now available in a refillable bottle. But it’s a fragrance which has also, from an ethical point of view, been ‘giving back’, for many years, in line with the family’s philosophy. The Clarins Dynamisante Woman of the Year Award takes place each year in countries around the world, including South Africa, Korea, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Germany, the US and the UK.
The Award recognises women who’ve set up charities to help children and young people, presenting generous cheques to their causes to advance the work they do – but also acknowledging the drive, get-up-and-go and initiative of the women themselves, who’ve included Camila Batmangelidjh, founder of Kids Company, and Emma Samms, the former Dynasty actress who established the Starlight Foundation, offering ‘experiences’ and in-hospital entertainment to children with serious illnesses. Over 70 charities have been helped, in this way.
Which means there’s a ‘feel-good’ factor to this Clarins bestseller which goes way beyond the spirit-lifting blend of lemon, patchouli, ginseng, petitgrain and white tea in the fragrance itself…
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