Go into the South of France with Chanel

The South of France is delightful in more ways than one. It’s a part of the world seemingly designed for pleasure, be it sipping glasses of pale rosé by the Mediterranean or relaxing in sun-drenched villages high in the hills. But it turns out that this dream holiday destination can also make you prettier—and we’re not just talking about improving your suntan.

Inspired by the countryside of Provence, which grows many ingredients used in the world of perfume, Chanel initiated a research programme for its Sublimage skincare collection under the watchful eye of Nicola Fuzzati, Chanel’s director of ingredients innovation and development.

A laboratory was built to study more than 500 wild plants, including their history, medicinal properties and endemicity, to assess their potential for use in the Sublimage line. The research continued for almost eight years.

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Above Chanel operates a sky lab in the South of France (Photo: Courtesy of Chanel)

Chanel has a long and fruitful history of using ingredients from the natural world, many of them harvested in Madagascar, in its skincare lines. The French study resulted in the resulted in the refining of five extracts that have become central ingredients in the Sublimage range. These include solidago, the keystone of Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale, and anthyllis, a vital ingredient in Sublimage L’Essence Lumière.

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Above Chanel skincare launches two new essences in Hong Kong this month (Photo: Courtesy of Chanel)

Solidago is a canary yellow ower that grows in the rocky foothills of the Alps just north of Nice. It is collected by hand during the hot days from June to September, and then dried before the active molecules die. “Immediately after harvest, the plant is left to dry naturally in the open air,” says Fuzzati. “This stops the enzymatic activities and keeps the molecules of interest intact until their extraction.” 

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Above Solidago and anthyllis are vital ingredients in Chanel's new Sublimage essences (Photo: Courtesy of Chanel)

These molecules then go on to have a major impact on skin when applied through Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale, acting quickly to improve cellular vitality and restore density to the skin mattress by up to 54 per cent. Both preventive and corrective, solidago targets the epidermal cells, the keratinocytes and the dermal broblasts (the all-important collagen producers). As if by magic, aged cells suddenly begin to regenerate.

“Since they are alpine plants, they are accustomed to harsh climate conditions,” says Fuzzati. “These plants develop mechanisms to defend themselves, and it is those molecules that are very interesting from a pharmaceutical point of view.”

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Above Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale and Sublimage L’Essence Lumière (Photo: Courtesy of Chanel)

Another species that caught his attention is anthyllis, a Provencal plant with an incredible ability to resist hostile environments. When combined with the antioxidants from vanilla planifolia in one product, it helps protect against the damaging impact of city life—pollution, harsh indoor light and toxins.

When anthyllis is applied to the skin through Sublimage L’Essence Lumière, it protects your natural texture and colour. Within a few days, it reveals the original radiance and infuses the complexion with light and health.

Chanel has taken hard-working plants from France’s most sensual region and used them to create anti-ageing products that really work for the modern woman. Poetry in lotion.

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Above Armelle Souraud (Photo: Courtesy of Chanel)

Chanel’s skincare spokesperson, Armelle Souraud, shares her latest beauty tips and discoveries:
What’s your favourite skincare product?
I’ve always loved Chanel’s Sublimage line, especially the new L’Essence Lumiere and Fondamentale. I need products that are hard-working, extremely effective, yet a pleasure to apply. I’ve been using L’Extrait Intense Recovery Treatment every day. One drop is all you need. It has a very light texture, smoothens the skin, gives it luminosity…the effects are amazing.
Another product I can’t travel without is Chanel’s Sublimage La Crème Yeux. I’ve tested a lot of eye creams, and this one is really the best. It’s nourishing, smoothens the skin, makes the undereye area luminous. You can apply it like a regular eye cream, but also as a mask. Leave it on for five minutes and see results immediately.

Why is it so important for Chanel to create your own active ingredients?
It is to be able to be fully transparent about the source and efficacy of our active ingredients, and guarantee the quality we put in our products. This also means we can harness the full power of each ingredient, and its ability to act on a lot of different target areas.

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Chanel

What’s one beauty routine that you recommend?
Massage your face every day to improve circulation. In the evenings, when my kids and husband are sleeping, I massage my face. I find it extremely relaxing and I feel well before sleeping.
What's so special about Chanel’s application ritual?
Beauty is connected to well-being, so it’s very important to be able to use the product in the right way. The way you massage the product in is very important—it’s part of the pleasure and part of the efficacy. That’s why for each product we have a specific gesture. The objective is not to make it too complex as we are here to simplify women’s lives, not make it more complicated, but also to make sure the product is absorbed effectively by the skin.

Discover more at chanel.com

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