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Clarins: Therapeutic Beauty

Clarins is one of the those companies that can truly be termed a family business. It was created in 1954 by a medical student, Jacques Courtin, and when he passed on in 2007, his sons took over. His granddaughters plan to take the reins when the sons retire. Clarins was built on the concept of using natural ingredients that not only beautify, but heal and protect.

Doctor of Beauty

Jacques Courtin was a Parisian medical student in 1954. He saw that many of the women who came to consult with him for medical attention had problems with their skin, and he decided to create a cosmetics company to serve the needs of these women. He named this company Clarins, after a character he once portrayed in a school play. In the 1970s, he would take it as his family name, becoming Jacques Courtin-Clarins.

Courtin opened his first spa in a Paris suburb. Because of World War II, he had never been able to finish medical school, so he became a chiropractor instead, before turning to skincare. His massages, which made the skin firmer while creating healthy blood flow, were immensely popular. Just as popular were the oils he used, made from natural ingredients.

The massage oils were available for the customers to buy and massage into their own skins, as medicinal measures. Of course, they smelled beautifully, as well. As the business grew, so did the line of products Clarins offered. They were the first cosmetics brand to make all of their products from only naturally ingredients, which is one of the reasons for their immense success, which continues into the present day.

During the 1970s, Clarins went international. Their policy of using only natural ingredients made them a sensation wherever they went, prompting other cosmetics companies to follow their trend. The company entered the United States in 1981, setting up a subsidiary company there. It was the first of many. When the 1990s arrived, Clarins was one of the top-selling beauty brands in the world. They offer far more than just the massage oils they first sold decades ago. Now it’s serums, toners, cleansers, moisturizers, and other body care, facial care, and skin care products. This includes such items as makeup and fragrances.

Healing Scents

Clarins fragrances have a double purpose. They are meant to smell pleasant, of course, but they also serve to relax or uplift or even treat certain problems, depending on the specific fragrance. For example, Eau Dynamisante, a 1987 unisex fragrance, could be translated as ‘energizing water’, and many would say it lives up to that name. It was created by Jacques Courtin-Clarins himself.

Eau Dynamisante is characterized as a fresh, sparkling exuberant scent. There is just something happy about it. There are notes of watermelon, which not only adds to the sunny aroma, but contains certain vitamins and amino acids to tone up the skin. Serotonin is delivered through griffonia seeds to pick up the wearer’s mood. There is mimosa bark to protect the skin through natural antioxidants and flavanoids. This scent will soften the skin, making it supple, through its chamomile and linden ingredients. Eau Dynamisante is but one example of the interesting fragrances to come out of Clarins.

Its 1993 fragrance, Elysium, is a more traditional scent, but it still has an uplifting quality. It opens with sweet and exotic mixtures of jasmine, linden blossom, dewberry, honeydew melon and ylang-ylang; it has freesia, osmanthus, rose, and lily-of-the-valley in its floral core; the base notes contain sandalwood, cedar, and musk, with an unusual refreshing touch of papaya.

A Family Business

The company is now in the hands of Jacques Courtin-Clarin’s sons, Christian and Olivier. Their families own the entire company and have spent a great deal of money to keep it in family hands. The Parisian spa opened in 1954 has become a cosmetics giant, with large stakes in other companies, like the French fashion brand Thierry Mugler.

Christian Courtin-Clarins, president of the company, believes in a hands-on form of leadership, and has guided the company in that manner through the opening years of the 21st century. His method seems to be working – Clarins consistently draws in significantly more than $1 billion each year, and the two brothers are personally worth billions themselves.

As they look to the future, they plan to keep the business in family hands. The twin daughters of Olivier, and Christian’s pair of daughters are the heirs apparent to the Clarins throne, and they are already well-known in the world of fashion. They already do what they can to promote the Clarins line, running a blog to teach a new generation the beauty secrets that have made their brand such a huge success.

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