Cosmetology: Science of evolution

In the search for as much beauty and well-being as possible, mother earth and science have become quite a team. «Nature never produces something which has no utility,» said Lionel De Benetti, the Clarins research and production director, at a presentation recently. In town to unveil the luxury cosmetics firm’s new addition to the slimming process, «Total Body Lift – Stubborn Cellulite Control,» De Benetti offered a beauty-specialized audience a scientific take on skin reaction. At the event, De Benetti was one of three speakers: Together with an energetic talk by a nutritionist and sensible advice from a trainer, the conclusions reached were nothing less than expected: science, healthy dieting and a little bit of exercise are the right tools for a balanced life. For De Benetti, cosmetology is the underlying theme in a lifetime story of research and dedication. With 28 years of experience at Clarins, De Benetti has over the years come up with nine slimming products (among many other product lines), each one more sophisticated than the last. Slimming products, said De Benetti, target different parts of the body, and the problem is that these targets lie deep under the surface of the skin. One of the ways to reach there? Choosing good active ingredients. Extracting high-performing, plant-based ingredients lies at the heart of Clarins, which uses more than 150 plant extracts for products. A French family-run business, the company’s global journey began in the early 1970s, with the establishment of an exclusive network of distributing agents. With the first subsidiaries founded in the United States in 1981, today the group is based on a total of 19 subsidiaries in 150 countries and counts more than 5,370 staffers. A leader in skin care in Europe with a strong position in the United States and a rapidly developing one in Asia – including a presence in China – Clarins is exclusively represented in Greece by Notos Com Holdings. The be-beautiful world of Clarins is made up of a wide range of quality findings: products for the body, including contouring, firming, softening and smoothing treatments; the face, with cleansers, exfoliators, masks, eye contours as well as re-energizing and line-prevention care. Also on the cosmetics feel-good platter are fragrances combining aromatic essential oils with non-fragrant extracts of plants with treatment properties as well as suncare, makeup choices and a men’s series. What makes the beauty business so special? «It’s a science of its own, dealing with a very particular subject, the prevention of a certain number of things, be it anti-ageing or the figure,» said De Benetti, following the presentation in an interview with Kathimerini English Edition. «Of course, we do not treat medical conditions, like medicine does.» The field of cosmetology, said De Benetti, is all about evolution – regular evolution, that is – but never a revolution. In general, he says, every new product improves the previous one by 15 to 20 percent. The evolution also extends to the field’s credibility, thanks to a certain amount of self-discipline in the industry, coupled with a series of scientific methods for measuring product effectiveness. Charlatans, on the other hand, are increasingly chased out. In general, rules are getting stricter – there are security norms on the one hand, while the «linguistic excess» of advertising statements is controlled by organizations, months or even years after the products have gone on the market. «During my career I have experienced great leaps, defining moments such as the idea of anti-pollution which we developed about 15 years ago,» said De Benetti. «I was coming out of the office one day together with company founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins. At the time he owned a beautiful white car, which by the evening was covered in dust. So we thought: if this car has really suffered, what about the skin? We didn’t come up with an anti-pollution product overnight, we began with scientific research – car fumes included.» Another innovation was the double-serum, an idea which came about when the laboratory was looking for a new method to replace the one formula which had all the right ingredients thrown in together. What does cosmetology hold for the future? «If I knew the answer, those would be today’s cosmetics,» said De Benetti. «As far as the present is concerned, we know the skin better, but we still have things to discover. We also know active principles better, plant extracts are not the same as 20 years ago. It is the same plant but we know which solvent to use, which part of the plant in order to get the most out of the active molecules.» «There is still ground to cover in terms of active principles in the vegetal domain as well as biotechnology – placing microbes on a plant and have them produce something. We will continue to get to know the skin and the active principles better and find the best ways to bring them together.»

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