Double Serum Generation 6 is a dual-phase product that Clarins sells as “the complete answer to age-control.” It certainly isn’t complete—what about sunscreen, something that’s key to anti-aging and not present in this serum? And what about the dozens of other products Clarins sells, all claming a subtle variation on that theme?
Reading the ingredient list for both the Hydro Serum and Lipo Serum, neither one has any wow-factor ingredients. In fact, both contain mostly common ingredients that show up in hundreds of other moisturizers (and some serums), including other options from Clarins. At least the fragrance is on the subtle side!
The Hydro (referring to water) serum is mostly water, glycerin, starch, slip agents, preservative, and film-forming agent. Plant extracts and a peptide are barely present, certainly not in an amount your skin will derive great benefit from.
The Lipo (lipid, as in fat) portion adds dry-finish solvents, oils, vitamin-based antioxidants, and emollients to the mix, along with a lot of fragrance, making it the more interesting of the two, but still not enough to warrant the investment. Of course, they’re dispensed as one and applied to skin, so you’re getting a mix of beneficial, questionable, and very fragrant ingredients. How this is the answer to age control is anyone’s guess, but it’s an OK moisturizing serum for dry skin—just keep it away from the eye area due to the fragrance and fragrant plants it contains.
The ultimate age-control, anti-wrinkle, extra-firming skin care treatment. This sixth formulation benefits from the most recent advances from Clarins Research. Thanks to its dual-phase formula which provides the most effective concentration of plant extracts, it helps support the skin's 5 vital functions: hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection and revitalization. Day after day, skin is firmer, replenished, more youthful-looking and the complexion appears more radiant.
Hydro Serum (0.5 ounce) Water, Glycerin, Tapioca Starch, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hydroxide, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract, Xanthan Gum, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Extract, Tetrasodium Edta, Centella Asiatica Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Sisymbrium Irio Seedcake, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2, Dextran, Potassium Sorbate Lipo Serum (0.5 ounce) Isononyl Isononanoate, Isododecane, Paraffinum Liquidium (Mineral Oil), Hydrogenated Styrene/Isoprene Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Bisabolol, Sclerocarya Birrea Oil, Fragrance, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Tocopheryl Acetate, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, BHT
Clarins is a distinctively French line whose beginnings go back to 1954. It was then that founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins began formulating plant-based treatments for his clients. He parlayed this into a Beauty Institute, and from there, with an all-natural mantra that was slightly ahead of its time, the business grew. Never wavering from its original marketing angle, Clarins has steadfastly held on to the belief that whatever grows from the ground and smells nice must be the cure for every skin ailment, from breakouts to loss of firmness to the dreaded "sponginess" of cellulite. A visit to today's white- and red-trimmed Clarins counter confirms that the plant-based, natural-extract rhetoric is still intact, and the counter staff is eager to discuss it (yet ask them what some of the non-plant, unnatural ingredients are doing in their products and you may be met with a blank stare).
You'll also find that Clarins routinely offers facial appointments at their counters, yet more often than not these appointments, which are done behind a privacy screen, are about selling products, not about performing a legitimate facial. (For example, cleansing, toning, and facial massage are included, while extractions are not.) One other point of difference you may hear about is the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex. First added to their products in 1991, this Complex consists of a group of plant extracts — though what they may be is a mystery, since all manner of plant extracts show up in these products, with few repeats. This "high-performing" protection is supposed to shield skin from pollutant gases, corrosive particles, and industrial emissions. Although that sounds good, it's not true and there isn't a shred of proof to the contrary (Clarins research is unpublished). Plant extracts, alone or in combination — regardless of the remote locations they may come from — cannot keep pollution off the skin. If anything, the amount of fragrance in these products can weaken the skin's defense mechanisms, resulting in more damage from the pollution our skin encounters daily.
This line is enormous, and is absolutely one of the most cumbersome around. Within it, the assortment of plant extracts ranges from the usual to the exotic and ultimately to the no-one-knows-what-in-the-heck-these-are! Clarins has something for every skin concern imaginable—from keeping pollution off the face (not possible) to lifting a sagging jaw line (not possible without surgery), and even protecting skin from electromagnetic waves (give me a break). It would seem there is nothing these supposedly miraculous products can't do! And you'll find a horde of plants here with the promise that this can really all come true.
However, once you're armed with even a modicum of ingredient knowledge and a fair helping of myth-busting, you'll realize how ridiculously out of whack all of this hype is. That's not to imply that all of these products are bad—there are good ones—or that all of the plant extracts aren't good—because many are very good anti-irritants, antioxidants, emollients, or antibacterial agents. However, many plant extracts are also potential allergens or skin irritants. Clarins also has its fair share of ordinary, standard, and completely unnecessary products whose claims are at best misleading and at worst downright false, and overall the products are incredibly overpriced for what you get. What is most startling is the redundancy among the Clarins products. There are few differences, for example, between the moisturizers and the mask cleansers, and the oil-control products are more reruns than they are new alternatives for skin care.
Note: All Clarins products contain fragrance.
For more information about Clarins, call (866) 252-7467 or visit www.clarins.com.
Clarins showcases its prodigious skin-care products so prominently that you may not have noticed that their excellent makeup collection has become even more impressive. Evaluating Clarins makeup is 180 degrees different from evaluating the lackluster and confusing assortment of skin-care products they sell. When it comes to foundations, powders, and lipsticks, texture is critically important. Luckily, this is where Clarins color line excels, despite premium prices and going a bit overboard with fragrance. Their foundations are marvelous, the lone concealer is much better than their former attempts in this area, and every powder-based product feels incomparably silky while looking stunningly smooth on skin. (Keep in mind, however, that even the best makeup looks only as good as the skin on which it is applied.) Giving Lancome and Dior a run for their money, Clarins' mascaras are surprisingly good, and at least their lipsticks feel as rich as you'll need to be to afford repeat purchases. You don't need to spend this much money to get beautiful results and stellar products, but if your budget allows you to fill your makeup bag with department-store products, Clarins' nicely organized makeup display should be one of your first stops.
Clarins likes to promote that many of their foundations contain a special anti-pollution complex to safeguard your skin. Don't believe it for a second, because there is no way to completely shield skin from the effects of pollution and antioxidants. Besides, the kinds of ingredients that can reduce, not block or eliminate, pollution-based free-radical formation are rarely included in Clarins makeup.