The chance to sit down with a leading skin-care scientist doesn’t come along often, if at all. When searching for those revitalizing, age-defying products, we often make purchase decisions based on face-value promises: the texture, scent, and ingredients of the product, the virtues listed on the bottle, and the immediate look and feel of our skin after a singular spot application. However, the added insight provided by someone who knows the intricacies of minute, cellular functions at work is critical to achieving the best possible routine and results.
Since its founding in Paris in 1828, Guerlain has been at the forefront of skin care, cosmetics, and perfume, and it remains so today with a dedicated team of researchers searching the globe for the best natural ingredients. Leading the way is Dr. Frédéric Bonté, the director of LVMH research for Guerlain Paris, who has been with the company since 1987.
Bonté’s passion is clear, and he offers anecdotes of advice on day-to-day care. To begin, “you must ensure that your skin is moisturized at all times, which protects it from the many stresses that could affect it., ” he says. Choosing this moisturizer, or any other beauty product, takes patient testing, and it is often tricky to know how long to try a product before deciding whether or not it works. According to Bonté, “the skin is a stimulus-sensitive organ that is linked to the brain,” so the experience you have directly following the application of a product (the feeling, coverage, and absorption) as well as in the few hours afterwards should, in fact, play a part in making that decision. While you won’t see the full effects of the products without waiting several weeks, as key active ingredients operate on cellular mechanisms on a deeper level, this is a sound starting point. Bonté also cautions against using too many products at once. Unlike makeup, which targets different parts of the face, skin-care products are typically used all over. Therefore, when layering them, leave time between applications of different ones, “otherwise skin becomes saturated and the product will be ineffective,” he warns.
For long-term care, Bonté suggests seeing a dermatologist every two years to monitor your skin type and needs. He also stresses that one should begin anti-aging treatments as early as 30 years old, as this is when the skin’s natural synthesis abilities begin to slow down.
On this note, he speaks proudly of Guerlain’s recent launch, the Orchidée Impériale Longevity Concentrate serum, which draws upon the company’s extensive research on orchids to create an anti-aging formula. “We were investigating what I call functional longevity, which is what keeps the optimal function of the skin, whatever the age of the person. We asked ourselves what kind of flower, what kind of plant could be interesting for this kind of concept. Is there a plant with a long life?” Orchids led them to their answer.
Today Guerlain has three centres dedicated solely to the orchid family: a research laboratory in Strasbourg, France, an experimental garden in Geneva, Switzerland, and a reserve of orchids discovered in Tianzi, China. “This part of China is very well known for its medicinal plants, there is a lot of research done here. This area is very rich, and it’s still very pure. We found an interesting defence molecule inside the orchids, which led to this product.” The Orchidée Impériale range includes creams, a toner, a mask, and even a cream foundation, as well as a serum that boosts radiance, firmness, and elasticity. Apply it starting in the middle of the face and moving outwards, from the lower part of the face upwards, to encourage good energy circulation. In the daily beauty battle, cues from the scientist win out every time.