From plant to product

  1. Observation

    The number of ingredients
    (raw materials) available to
    Clarins researchers

    observe nature and be inspired

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    “Biomimicry: bio (life) and mimicry (to copy). The inspiration of life is to respectfully look at what is happening in nature and see what applications we can apply to cosmetics.” Christian Courtin-Clarins

    Clarins researchers have always based part of their work on this observation of nature to create products that have innovative performances. Several Clarins products are based on biomimicry.

    Double serum, a surprising example of biomimicry

    Clarins researchers formulated Double Serum by observing nature and the skin’s hydrolipidic film. Double Serum is a unique treatment, certainly the most complete in the cosmetics industry, because it unites all of the ingredients known to fight skin ageing and improve its appearance in the same bottle. These are ingredients that should otherwise not be able to ‘co-inhabit.’
    The hydrolipidic film is characteristic of oily skin that has a tendency to look shiny due to the mixture of sebaceous (oil) glands and sweat glands. By imitating this combination of oil and water, the researchers created a product that united water-soluble ingredients and oil-soluble ones. However, in cosmetics, it is impossible to mix together both of these types of ingredients. The researchers found a solution: they created two separate ‘vials’ within the bottle. Upon application, the ingredients from each phase were mixed together in the palm of the hand before being applied to the skin. This is an example of biomimicry.

  2. Extraction

    The number of
    researchers who work in
    the Laboratories

    The best of plants
    for optimal product results

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    Always searching for the most active plant extracts, Clarins Research works with a network of botanists who study traditional plant usage worldwide. Their work has been validated by rigorous scientific experiments and has opened the way towards innovation, allowing Clarins to regularly be a precursor in skin care.
    Each plant is carefully analysed and screened so that it delivers only the very best. The most active part of the plant (leaf, flower, stem or root) is selected based on strict performance criteria (including safety) and is used in the most effective concentration.
    • Jean-Pierre Nicolas

      Clarins Botanist
      This expert ethno-botanist works with Clarins teams researching new ingredients while respecting biodiversity.

    The best experts

    In its quest for plant-based extracts, Clarins brings together the best experts in the fields of chemistry, biology, pharmacology and dermatology. They share their knowledge and unite their efforts with one common goal: to ensure a finished products quality and effectiveness.

    Together we are stronger

    Because one plant can boost the properties of another, Clarins biochemists are constantly looking to create the highest performing combination of vegetal ingredients.
    Pioneering products in natural beauty, Clarins AromaPhyto products are the best example of the art of dosage and mixing. They combine aromatic essential oils and plant extracts with treatment benefits selected for their complementary and ideal synergetic actions.

  3. Formulation

    The minimum amount
    of time needed to develop
    a new formula

    Formulation: a mixture of intuition,
    creativity and high-tech know-how

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    When plants have given us the best of themselves, Clarins researchers are faced with a new feat: to create a formula that gives the product all of the plants’ benefits and delivers maximum comfort to the skin.
    For Clarins formulators, there are essential criterions: stability, ease of application, sensoriality and fragrance.

    Rigor and perserverence

    Several months of work and constant controls are required in order to find the most effective formula.
    Since the demand for quality is on-going, several analyses are required: physical, chemical and bacteriological. These analyses are carried out in a very controlled manner. The development of a new formula often takes 18 months to carry out, more than 100 trials and an average of 250 quality controls.

    Specialised experts

    The development of a Clarins product depends upon the talent and experience of several teams of formulators, each one specialised in a different area; cleansers, day creams, sun products, make-up etc.


    For each raw material, the choice of supplier is essential. Each supplier is evaluated and audited to verify their respect of the environment and that of their collaborators. Each supplier must provide the place and date of gathering or harvest of their raw materials, the impact of this to natural areas and details of transportation and storage. This applies not only to the raw materials but to the packaging of the finished products as well.

  4. Tests

    The number necessary
    when developing
    a new product

    Product effectiveness and safe use:
    absolute priorities

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    In Clarins biometrology unit, measures of effectiveness are particularly strict and tolerance tests are always carried out under dermatologist supervision.
    Following a rigorous methodology and thanks to high-performing techniques, each product is tested before, during and after its use. For each new product, at least 100 carefully selected volunteers give their opinion. If the results demonstrate optimal effectiveness combined with perfect skin tolerance, the product will then be able to continue its path.
    • Proven effectiveness


      For the first time, Clarins research measured the changes in the way the skin diffuses light. 150 women aged 21 to 77 participated in this test. The study revealed a drop in the skin’s ability to diffuse light beginning at age 40. By age 50, the skin loses approximately 34% of its light ‘capital,’ or ‘vital light’.
      Based on these results, Clarins created the Vital Light range. These skin care products help enhance and stimulate dermal functions thereby restoring the skin’s original luminosity.

    Test methods

    Each skin parameter requires a study protocol and perfectly reliable techniques that can be reproduced and are precise.

    Poly-sensoriality is a priority

    Groups of volunteers, specially trained to use the measurement scale, test and retest the texture of Clarins products until they are perfect. They look at all sensory aspects including gentleness, colour, fragrance, glide-on ease and absorption rate.

    Cosmetic vigilence; ensuring product safety

    This is a procedure that makes it possible to follow any undesirable effects of a product after being placed on the market. Working in close collaboration with Clarins Customer Relations department, it is possible to track and analyse client feedback using product identification, descriptions of symptoms and conditions of appearance.

  5. Production

    The amount of product
    made every year
    in Clarins Laboratories

    An ultra-rigorous production process
    guarantees perfect quality

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    The product takes on its definitive form in the production unit before being stored for shipping. After being weighed, the product is placed in a vat. This is the last step and requires extreme rigor in respect of the ‘recipe’ developed in the lab, from the order each ingredient is introduced, the temperature, length and speed of mixing, rest time: everything is verified and automated for a zero-fault finish.
    Finally, the packaging process is an important step during which particular attention is paid to weight, volume, recyclability of all components and the selected transportation method. Clarins is committed to reducing its greenhouse gases.

    Production capacity

    With 2-5 ton vats that run sometimes 16 hours a day and 5-10 ton vats reserved for the production of lotions, the production unit is capable of making more than 7000 tons of products per month. After this step, the product is poured into 500 kilo drums destined for the packaging phase.

    The quest for perfectly safe products

    Since 2008, Clarins Laboratories has had white room capacity: filling products now takes place in a controlled atmosphere following very strict hygiene rules. This process minimises bacteriological risks and makes it possible to reduce the concentration of preservatives in the products.