Cover Photo: Clarins

As the third-generation family member of Groupe Clarins, deputy CEO Virginie Courtin-Clarins is on a mission to make the world a better place with efforts towards sustainability

How I’m Making It is a weekly series in which Tatler speaks to influential individuals about their unique journeys and what keeps them going.

“Make life more beautiful” has always been the motto of the family-run French cosmetics company, Clarins, and it’s what has allowed the company to continue to flourish today.

Virginie Courtin-Clarins, granddaughter of the company’s founder, Jacques Courtin-Clarins, is no stranger to the motto. Taking the reins from her father and uncle, Olivier and Christian, she “looks forward to contributing to what my grandfather, and then my father and my uncle have built”. As the deputy CEO and head of corporate social responsibility at Groupe Clarins, the go-getter champions environmental preservation and conscious capitalism. 

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Under her leadership, the brand has steered towards the direction of sustainability. The family-run brand has come a long way since it was first founded back in 1954. In the last decade alone, it has accomplished many notable feats in sustainability. In 2014, the beauty brand halted its use of plastic microbeads and in 2020, achieved the feat of carbon neutrality.

As consumers become increasingly aware of how their personal consumption contributes to the climate crisis, they have become drawn to the concept of meaningful living. In line with that, Clarins hopes to go beyond skin deep and integrate sustainability into every aspect of the brand, including their products, goals, and brand narrative.

Currently, the beauty brand uses over 250 natural plant extracts in its formulas, all of which are meticulously selected for their effectiveness and sourced with the utmost care for the environment to preserve the earth’s biodiversity.

Below, Courtin-Clarins sheds light on how the brand hopes to make sustainability the core of their efforts, while continuing her grandfather’s legacy.

What does your skincare routine look like? Kindly elaborate on your day and night routine.
Virgninie Courtin-Clarins (VC): My beauty routine changes very often. This is because I test all the new Clarins products that are launched myself. In spite of that, I am always faithful to the Double Serum, the Hydra Essential Mist, the Tonic Treatment Oil and the Lip Perfector 01. Currently, I am a big fan of the new Double Serum Eye that was just launched, as well as the Extra Firming Energy day cream.

What inspired you to join the family’s beauty business?
VC: Actually, it was obvious for me. When you had the privilege of growing up in a family with a successful business built on such beautiful values such as Clarins, such an opportunity is one you simply cannot refuse. I look forward to contributing to what my grandfather, and then my father and my uncle have built.

What is your key motivator behind chasing ambitious plans?
VC: For almost 70 years, Clarins has been a family-run group, carried by a long-term vision that connects us to future generations and to the planet. My key motivation is to leave a lasting legacy—to do everything I can to pass on a more beautiful planet to the next generation.

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What is the best piece of advice that you have ever gotten?
VC: To always put yourself in someone else’s place. That was one of my grandfather’s motto.

What family values did you learn and apply in business and life?
VC: Clarins has always aimed to respect nature and people. Love for nature, because plants are at the heart of all our products. Respect towards people, women in particular, because they are very the reason we exist. I am conscious of how much we owe to mankind and to nature. This is the inspiration behind our “Clarins We Care” corporate social responsibility approach and the double promise of caring for people, caring for the planet that goes along with it. This is also the driving force in my daily life.

In terms of working with principles at Clarins, how would you describe your working style?
VC: For me, collaboration is key to successful teams and projects. I have had the opportunity to be surrounded by passionate, committed and supportive people. I have an amazing team that helps me to transform my ambitions into reality.

What is an idea or thought that you heard recently, that you thought was interesting?
VC: I recently heard about B Corp certification that is given to companies that prove they are not just the best in the world, but the best for the world. This is exactly in line with my vision of promoting “doing well by doing good” and “profit with purpose”. This is why we are fully committed in our mission to obtain this certification.

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What would you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
VC: I am particularly proud of the Feed program. It’s a program that provides school lunch for kids which was founded in 2017 by Lauren Bush Lauren. Beyond feeding the children, it’s also a way to make sure that they go to school, and that they have a healthier and brighter future. Together with Feed, we have helped provide over 36 million school meals since 2011.

What would you like to accomplish at Clarins?
VC: My dream would be for Clarins to be recognised as the beauty company that offers only the best products to consumers, and at the same time, the company that takes care of the planet and its people.

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