• When in Grasse making perfume with Chanel

    Written by Pari Damani

    In celebrating the 1-year anniversary of the ‘Gabrielle’ perfume I was invited to go to Grasse to the Chanel flower fields and experience the art of perfume making.
    We arrived at the Chanel Bastide early morning in the late september heat, a kind of temperature I was not used to at that time of the day being from Sweden, it felt like my makeup was melting down my entire face and my hair was getting frizzy. I imagined this is where legendary No.5 was born.

    The scent of the flowers hit you in the air and breathing has never been so luxurious and I saw Gabrielle Chanel walking the fields finding inspiration for her first perfume. At first I found it hard to focus, where should I go first -this is the Chanel Bastide in Grasse! The surroundings are beautiful by the mountains of Grasse, rows and rows of Jasmine flowers, Tuberose, May Rose and Geranium all grow there just for making perfumes for Chanel. Still in shock we were warmly welcomed as I was having a coffee, yet again I remind myself to breathe and take in all the impressions. The Bastide truly lives the essence of Gabrielle Coco Chanel, a stone house with a soft blend of beiges, an interior of beige, white and black. Simple and elegant.

    Grasse has a long history of perfume making. Since the end of the 1800- century Grasse has been the center of creating oils from flowers and fruit surrounding the city and is the main provider for the French perfume industry. It is also where Chanel has it’s fields of flowers and the distillation factory just a few minutes from where the flowers are grown and picked. I had before this trip never quite understood the process of perfume making, how a flower ends up in a bottle was a mystery and very hard to grasp. But the process was very fascinating to see. 

    Wearing black shiny Chanel rubber boots and beige apron we walked through the Jasmine and the Tuberose fields with the land owner mr Joseph Mul. His love really shows through the quality of the flowers, where no chemical fertilizers are used,  and his passion for the twenty hectares which he inherited from his great grandfather.
    The scent of Jasmine was mildly in the air when we walked through the field with Mr. Mul. He encouraged us to pick a few flowers hold them tightly in our hands for a minute to experience how the aroma develops from the warmth of our palms, during this minute the scent is amazingly much stronger as if I had just sprayed myself with ‘Gabrielle’.

    Gabrielle’’ is composed out of four white flowers; Jasmine, Tuberose, Orange Blossom and Ylang-Ylang by Chanel perfumer Olivier Polge. With inspiration true to the legacy of Mademoiselle Chanel ‘Gabrielle’ is the only perfume created bearing the name of the legend herself. It is no secret Mademoiselle Coco had a special relationship with white flowers. Camellia was also a favourite and a repeated inspiration through her jewellery and fashion designs. Jasmine Oil ‘Huile de Jasmin’ has been in the Chanel beauty range since it first launched in the 1920’s and remains as a key ingredient creating beauty products and perfumes.

    Each flower has their own appointed teams  when harvesting, for example the Jasmine is a small fragile flower and requires delicate fingers and a light touch, Mr Mul explained, so therefor experienced people are chosen for picking. Tuberose grows to be a long beautiful stem with flower bulbs at the top, white petals with a yellow center makes it very elegant, but the scent from this flower is strong and very mysterious, earthy yet sweet. Put a few of the bulbs in water and the scent will intensify day by day as if living in a Tuberose oil. I was given the chance picking a few flowers and during that time wondering how these tiny flowers become oil or an ingredient in a perfume.

    The Jasmine flowers are carefully weighted, put in metallic crates with a solvent. Being cooked in high temperature the solvent soaks up all the fragrance from the flowers, then magically turned into a wax called a concrete. This is what becomes oil and an absolute to make Chanel perfume. Absolute is a concentrated liquid in which the alcohol is removed from the concrete used in the Chanel No5 perfume, as requested from the Chanel perfumers, to get the most and the ultimate scent of the Jasmine flowers.

    Perfume making really is a true form of art that I now have a greater understanding of the process. The four white flowers composing ‘Gabrielle’ makes it a true floral perfume. I feel like I am swimming in a pool of perfect jasmine, ylang-ylang and tuberose while eating the most zestiest orange, get out of my flower pool and have a rest on sweet sandalwood. The scent is intense and long lasting and truly speaks the DNA of Gabrielle Coco Chanel. I will not even begin to explain the feel of the bottle, except that it is a genius design, cool and modern inspired by Paris and Gabrielle, that would be an article in its own right. Everytime I look at my perfume or whenever I use it now I will be reminded of my experience at the flower fields, constantly in a Chanel state of mind.

  • The secrets to the 10-step Korean skincare routine

    Written by Yasmine Mubarak by Pari Damani

    The Korean multi step skincare regime is packed with all the essentials to make your skin boost. Established and developed through centuries of Korea's cultural fascination with healthy looking skin. The skincare routine is today less of a “routine” than it is a lifestyle and usually starts from an early age. After living in Hong Kong, learning more about the lifestyle of sheet masks, double cleansing and skincare brands in every corner of the city –the whole island of Hong Kong is obsessed with Korean skincare, and they have all right to be. The history of Korean skincare is long and broad, some say Korean skin care rituals date back to some purported document from 700 B.C. Koreans believed makeup and self care not only benefited your external appearance, but also your internal self. In ancient times, they produced facial scrubs, beauty lotions, facial creams and oils, along with colored powders, rouge and eyebrow ink from herbs and extracts from the nature nearby. All that ancient knowledge have paid off, and with the growing economy during the 1990’s K-Beauty exploded together with other culture fascinations for example Korean Pop. One of the reasons why Korean skin care is so successful is their advanced technology with chemistry and bioscience to create groundbreaking skincare products. They are always one step ahead, BB Cream, CC cream, everything origins from Korea, it’s truly the future of skincare.

    What can we learn from K-Beauty?
    The 10 step routine teaches us the underlying purpose of each step and to understand how our skin behaves. The routine can easily be tailored and for that reason, fits all skin types; dry, sensitive, matured or oily. One day it might be 4 and the next day 7 steps whenever you wish to boost your hydration or target a specific problem area. K-Beauty teaches us the secrets of essence, exfoliating and most of all to use sunscreen everyday. However the most important part with this routine is that you take care of yourself and feel good from within. Tapping your products gently on to your skin is a key factor with K-Beauty, never rub. Finding the right Korean products can take time, not to mention a bit tricky to get through, here’s a breakdown of each step, how it works, and some products involved, all South-Korean.

    1. OIL CLEANSER
    In Korean skincare double cleansing is a key element in the routine, where you use an oil cleanser first. The oil helps remove your makeup and first layer of impurities from big city air pollution. How to: Massage it over your dry face and then add lukewarm water to emulsify the cleanser. Massage again and then rinse everything off! Erborian cleansing oil, this formula has a cream texture which transforms to a smooth oil as it touches your skin. Formulated with coconut and sunflower seed oil to help leave skin soft. Without parabens, sulfates and phthalates.

    2. WATER-BASED CLEANSER
    Cleansing twice is recommended by dermatologists because it helps remove impurities that can create a break out. The second step to the double cleanse is water based, it washes away the remaining oil and eliminates all the dirt from your face. Now your face is absolutely clean for the remaining steps. How to: Add water and lather, massaging onto face and neck; rinse with lukewarm water. Make sure you rinse off all the oil cleanser, so your eyes don’t start to hurt from the oil. I tried ‘Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser’ and the main ingredient in this cleanser is fermented green tea extract, which brightens, calms, and hydrates skin without stripping your skin's natural oils.

    3. EXFOLIATOR
    You don’t always have to exfoliate (especially if you have sensitive skin), take it in your routine around once a week or when you are having a home spa. Robbing off dead skin cells on your face makes it possible for the rest of your skin care products to mingle with your skin and for a longer lasting make up during the day. Gently massage or tap an exfoliant into your skin. If it’s a wash off mask, gently massage the product into your skin and leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then rise off with warm water. Skinfood ‘Black Sugar Honey Mask Wash Off’ is packed with organic black sugar that is enriched with vitamins and minerals to hydrate and nourish skin. Choose between Black Sugar or the Black Sugar Honey which is more suitable to sensitive skin.

    4. TONER
    The toner helps restore your pH-balance to prepare your skin to better absorb what comes next in the routine. Compared to many western toners, Korean brands are more focused on hydration and as you will notice, are a bit thicker in the formula. Pump 1-2 drops of the toner into your hands and dap it directly onto your skin or dispense it onto a cotton pad and gently dab around your face. The skin toner from Benton contains Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice. BHA (0.5%), Snail Secretion Filtrate and Hyaluronic Acid. Which all help skin texture, heals, balances, and hydrates your skin.

    5. ESSENCE
    Step five and you are halfway through! An essence is a kind of toner/serum hybrid for your skin and is an extra layer of hydration after toner, some are a bit thinner and some thicker in the texture. Finding the right essence can be a bit tricky from my experience, many of them contains different acids and active ingredients, which is specific for certain skin types, but don’t give up because when you find the right one your skin will thank you. Apply it to freshly toned skin and it is very important to pat it in gently, to not irritate the skin. ‘Cosrx Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence’ is one of the most sold essences, packed with 96% snail secretion filtrate for super intense repair and hydration. Snail mucin has the ability to repair everything from dry patches, to acne breakouts and hyperpigmentation.

    6. TREATMENTS
    These products are highly focused on what you wish to boost, which directly treats the issues you’re most concerned about. Whether they target dull skin, large pores, pigmentation, wrinkles, or acne, Treatment serums are the ideal skin perfecting step. Gently dap these into your skin using your fingers! The serum can be used a few times a week, whenever you want your extra boost of confidence.

    Klairs - Rich Moist Soothing Serum
    This soothing serum gives a moist boost and fits skin types which easily becomes inflamed and needs a calming serum. One ultimate friend is the Klairs Juiced Vitamin Drops which you can mix with the soothing serum. After using the two, your skin becomes softer and clearer. 

    7. SHEET MASKS
    Many say that, if essences are the heart of the Korean skin care routine, sheet masks are the soul and provides your skin with maximum nourishment. All you have to do is put one on and relax for 15-20 minutes. Use one at least once a week or every single day if you’d like, sheet masks have clear instructions on the back of the product. After you removed the sheet mask feel free to dap the remaining products into your skin. Some use the sheet mask as a finalizing step in their skincare routine and for sensitive skin that needs hydration MediHeal N.M.F Aquaring, Dr Jart+ and for normal/blend skin: Oh K! Snail Sheet mask are three masks I have tried out and are available in most parts of the world.

    8. EYE CREAM
    The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, which means you should treat it with care. An eye cream provides the area with extra helpings of hydration and protection. Use the eye cream around the entire orbital bone, avoiding the water line. Cosrx is one of the biggest Korean skincare brands which have multiple different product lines for dry, oily and maturing skin that you can fit in your 10 step beauty regime. One of their most popular product is the Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Eye Cream.

    9. MOISTURIZER
    By now your skin should be feeling super hydrated and dewy. Hydration is the final key for glowing skin, so it’s important to find a moisturizer that works for your skin type. They come in many forms, from a lotion, gel, or cream all of which work to seal in moisture to plump up skin and smooth away any fine lines. Pat a moisturizer into your face and neck morning and night every day. On days when your skin feels extra dry, swap your regular moisturizer for a sleeping pack.

    Innisfree Green tea balancing cream
    To become a true K-beauty expert you have to try Innisfree, one of the leading skincare brands. Their green tea day cream is rich in moisture  and delivers hydration and antioxidants from Jeju green tea extract. They also have a wide range of amazing sheet masks and cleansers.

    10. SUN PROTECTION
    Koreans fully understand just how damaging the sun can be for the skin when it’s not properly protected, which is why SPF is so important. Even if you’re stepping outside for just a couple of minutes, you must wear sunscreen. It’s the easiest and most effective way to prevent early aging (and skin cancer!). It’s important to put this on last so it can fully shield your skin from UV rays. Apply every morning as the last step of your skin routine!

    Innisfree - Perfect UV protection cream anti-pollution SPF50+ PA++++
    This triple function UV screen is formulated solely with mild ingredients and provides a safer protection. The sunscreen from Innisfree also have a PA++++ rating (Japanese sunscreen rating system) which means that it has the highest rating and protection for sunscreens.

    Many skincare brands outside of South Korea have now adapted the routines and have made their versions of K-Beauty products, it is safe to say that it is here to stay. If you are curious about the regime and want to try it out I would recommend starting lightly with a product or two and slowly adapt a few products in to your existing skin routine depending on your skin's needs. Between the aha, bha, boosters, vitamin serums, and essences it is hard to know which products works together and on your skin so take your time exploring. Now that winter is here a moisturizing sheet mask is definitely a good start.

  • BEAUTÉ PACIFIQUE: INTELLECTUAL SKIN CARE

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    Directed by Jahwanna Berglund

    Beauté Pacifique has an intellectual approach to the skin care, where engineering and dermatology have during last twenty years created a unique concept, educating their consumers. Transparency skilfully integrated into the innovation strategy of the company, bestows the consumer with an opportunity not just to access their products but to understand their own skin, almost turning their bathroom cabinet into a laboratory. We have interviewed Beauté Pacifique’s CEO Flemming K. Christensen about his approach to the business and the company’s realtionship with their customers.

    The story of your business is quite unique because you approached the beauty industry from outside but with a great sense of engineer innovation. What made you enter the cosmetic field and what was the most challenging when you just started your path in 1997?
    In 1986 I was co-founding a new high-tech company on the basis on a prototype ultrasound scanner for imaging the skin in-vivo. The idea of such an instrument came from a Danish dermatologist looking for more modern diagnostic techniques. Until then it was not possible to see the inside details of the skin because all existing ultrasound scanners were built to look much deeper into the body and could not show details in a thin surface of the body i.e. the skin.

    This prototype was derived from the field of testing materials in which the need for detection of microscopic cracks is evident. The new scanner for skin was made at first to measure the thickness of skin tumours in vivo – an information needed for planning the depth for the surgical removal of the tumour. As the scanners became known by dermatologists all over the world many more skin pathologies were examined successfully by this new modality. Now, when scanning a diseased skin the surrounding healthy skin is always used as a reference and by looking at thousands of scans I and many dermatologists discovered that healthy skin has many ”faces” and even the skin’s status of aging and sun damage could be clearly seen by this machine!

    Then I came up with the idea: What if we could develop skin care products so effective that the scanner could show the improvement and document that the skin was evidently brought to a status of less sun damage and a structure like in a younger person? This dream had to be realised and it came through when we developed the Crème Métamorphique – our very first anti-age creme based on vitamin-A esters and squalene as the nanometric delivery system. (A Beauté Pacifique patent)

    You were once advised to pick a French name for your brand. Why Beaute Pacifique?
    The delivery system we use to transport the active ingredients deeply into the skin was first found in Japanese sharks – caught for food in the Pacific Ocean. Now we can get squalene for special olive types but we like the idea of our brand name to state: Beauty from the Pacific Ocean.

    You have a scientific approach with a great doze of transparency to the products you create, do you physically participate in the creative process, at least at the first stage when you discuss what product you need to produce?
    The creative process is still my passion and I like to look at a skin problem as an engineer and then use all my energy to find ways to solve this problem. Today we have chemists and pharmacists in our team and so we can comply with all the complicated EU safety precautions. Innovations often appear when the voices of the consumers are heard and combined with the new findings in science - and it is still a task for the engineer to combine scientific knowledge with the customers’ true needs.

    Helena Christensen has been a Goodwill-ambassador of Beauté Pacifique. But do you work with any influencers today (bloggers)? If yes, could you describe on what premises you decide who to collaborate with?
    We have an excellent Cooperation with the Danish actress Julie Zangenberg as our ”Face” and we also work with a number of Bloggers and beauty editors. We do not expressly require certain qualifications but we try our best to keep our communications in accordance with pharmacological science and try to avoid un-substantiated political and those negative to the field of Cosmetics in general.

    What do you think the beauty industry is lacking today?
    I miss that the authorities in the EU-countries officially abstain from political missions and support all the many well-meaning companies that strictly follow the rules put into force by the same authorities. I am disappointed that when some politically based ”Consumer Councils” can freely preach their messages and form opinions whereby innocent consumers become afraid of the word chemistry with no science behind. It makes me sad that the Authorities let this go on and stay silent whereby the consumers can be severely mislead and the Authorities lose valuable creditability.

    Could you please describe how artificial intelligence (AI) helps and affects your business today?
    This question is difficult to answer because much AI is going on invisibly below the surface. We use cookies but at this time we are still novices in this field and midget customers by GOOGLE etc. I believe we are both victims and winners in this aspect and our staff is developing our skills to match the demands for survival of the fittest. So the truth is that we look at this but we are looking around but find no safe heavens. Anyway we truly believe that our customers are our best friends and as long as we provide the right and honest products as is our philosophy then we are OK and our business can expand from there.

    What happens to the beauty industry in 10 years? What kind of products are we going to use? Do you think plastic surgery will be passé?
    Ten years is a long time frame. I think the trade will be strongly influenced by major players such as Amazon on the WEB and the likes. I see already that price competition is killing many smaller players (Doors) and this is inevitable. On the other hand we are determined to stick to our USP is using the scanner to show the customers how their skin is doing as the “Before”-status and then later show the improvements as the “AFTER”. I firmly believe this is the right way for us to work and this is how we really struggle to prescribe the right products for the individual needs. This way/ the principle will survive and by doing so we will have a place in the hearts and minds of the intelligent and critical consumers at all times. Anyway my attitude is optimistic and I believe that we as humans will always reach out for help to maintain a healthy looking skin as a parameter of good quality of life.

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