Thursday, October 10, 2013Focus on French Launches

Variable-geometry textures

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

An elixir-oil, a serum-cream, an oil-cream … these “alien” textures provide our faces with a surprizing sensoriality. Brand-new, efficient and successful: please, we ask for more of them! A focus on the week’s hot picks, by Ariane Le Febvre.

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“Serums are not nourishing enough; too “oily-oils” produce a “puddle effect”, which spreads and does not permeate into the skin, gels “stick” and dry the skin…” YOU tell it!
Nowadays, women want to be surprized, and this comes, after perfumes (the key purchasing and loyalty criterion), through the sense of touch. They do like mainly that a texture changes when in contact of their skin. The brands have understood it, and made their formulators work on new “episodic galenic forms” that blend the benefits of several textures. Currently available only as face care, these peculiar products spring a surprise. In fact, the classic structures of emulsion (water in oil; oil in water) are completely changing. For our great pleasure!

Yves Saint Laurent, a specialist in this area (remember its Organic Action Exfoliant Scrub, without particles, a thick gel, which changes to oil, then to a lotion), was one of the first to offer this kind of “Russian-dolls”-like textures in September, with three novelties: a cream-serum (Sérum-en-Crème Forever Youth Liberator, 50 mL, €165), a gel-cream (Crème Gel Forever Light Creator, 50 mL, €89) and a transparent balm-gel (Youth Liberator Intense Mask, 75 mL, €62).
The former is an emulsion of water in whipped oil with smoothing waxes. Combining the comfort of a balm and the efficiency of a serum, it melts on the skin to wrap it with comfort. The second one is an ultra-light texture – a gel-balm, white and non oily – with a powerful hydrating power. The latter is a gel neither white nor translucent, but crystalline, getting together the freshness advantage of a gel and the slithery feeling of a balm favouring self-redefining (something normally not possible with a gel) with a mask that must be massaged.

Biotherm, for its part, offers one of the most incredible textures of this moment, thanks to its Night Blue Therapy Serum-In-Oil (30 mL, €65), which combines the power of a serum and the nutrition of an oil in a transforming micro-dispersion formula. Via a technique of micro-fragmentation using a very high pressure (800 atm) in a ceramic-made homogenizer, the manufacturer succeeded in producing micro-drops up to 20 times smaller (0.05 to 0.2 micrometer, without nanoparticles, only due to this physical process) than in a standard emulsion.
Contrary to standard formulae, Blue Therapy Serum-in-oil does not use any gelling agent to provide the jellified texture; its high viscosity is partially due to the micro-size of the particles. The absence of any gelling agent favors the acceptance of the emulsion by the naturally-present-in-the-skin electrolytes (minerals, amino-acids, etc.). When the product is applied, these electrolytes naturally break the gel, changing it to an oily texture to enhance and speed up its immediate diffusion in the epidermis. Due to their very small size, the micro-drops do not interfere with visible light, making the formula transparent. This encapsulated oil-in-water texture contains 35% of fatty phase (for comparison, there was 10% of oil in the Oleo-Serum, by Lancôme, one of the first oil-serums launched during the last winter), while keeping its jelly aspect. While most of the oils let our skin with an oily and warm feeling, the Serum-in-oil texture is fresh when applied and merge with the skin, leading to a silky, non-sticky touch, without oily residues. A true technological wonder!

As the light and non-oily face care oil is obviously one of the major trends of the anti-age, as well as a need for mature skin “which lose 57% of the cutaneous lipids after the menopause”, after Vichy, we see a true “oleo-mania” for the coming winter! First, Guerlain, as of 15 October, with a replenishing oil “which is instantaneously absorbed by the skin and is as ethereal as the most evanescent liquid” (Abeille Royale/Royal Bee Face Care Oil, 28 mL, €82). For good reason: it contains no vegetable oil, but water, honey extracts “which provide a fresh effect”, and royal gelly.
Then, Vichy, in January 2014, with an oil dedicated to mature skin (Neovadiol Magistral Elixir, 30 mL, €35). For the dermo-cosmetic brand, no doubt: after menopause, the best serum is oil. Again, an oil care in which the first ingredient is water – to prevent any oily effect, above all – but which contains 14% of vegetable oils. Its secret? A judicious balance between natural, biologically active oils (more oily and shiny) and synthetic oils, which favor the light reflection, for a silky touch and a luminous finish.

Other “convertible” textures: the “special regard” (special look) elixir-balm – a rich balm, which turns into a fresh and mild elixir when in contact with skin – by Lancôme (Eye Absolue L’Extrait Rituel de Régénération Ultime, €350; see the Tear-jerker, or not? article , in the Trends section), as well as the Extraordinary Oil Cream Age Perfect by L’Oréal Paris, next January (50 mL, €17.90). This latter one “nourishes, relaxes, lights up”, thanks to micro-pearls of oils, and lavender and rosemary essential oils.”
Its texture does not change, but the Soothing Chamomile Concentrate, Serum and Mask) by Dr Docteur Renaud (50 mL, €24.90) is at the same time a serum and a mask in the same jelly. This is an idea that could also be an interesting opening to this so-trendy “simplified beauty” concept.

A further example, by Sanoflore: its Queens’ Cream, Perfect Skin Maker, available in January (50 mL, €39), a light and luscious texture, an original fusion of mineral and vegetable, a first in organic cosmetics!
For long, formulators thought it was impossible to design a natural aerial formula, as carbomers only, synthesized polymers (banned in certified organic cosmetics) allow for this achievement. By taking from the make-up technologies, especially by blending an incredible dose of four handpicked micas put as layers that swell when in water (to provide the texture with “bounce”), they succeeded in duplicating these performances, adding a new sensorial dimension in an organic care, free of silicones and synthetic gelling agents, of course. Thanks to the different micas that wrap the vegetable oils, the Queens’ Cream avoids shining without preventing comfort, in a creamy, featherweight-finish, evanescent and mildly pearly texture.

In fact, make-up is at the origin of another care. The perfect hybrid care will be launched in December by Garnier. It is the Miracle Anti-Aging Skin Converter FPS 20 (50 mL, €11.90), a care halfway between anti-aging and make-up. The mineral pigments wrapped in micro-capsules of this white cream are released when applied on skin, and provide a self-tuned tint that meets all the world skin tones. This new technology is called “Optical Care” – along with the pigment, care is provided – a kind of after-BB cream …  being the topic of the next week’s hot picks!

Ariane Le Febvre

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