Early this week, I was transported from the rainy, humid and hot tropics of Kuala Lumpur to the cooler, bustling city of Hong Kong. But the journey did not stop there.
Onwards we were transported to the Alps of the South of France to discover 2 new ingredients from the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, recently incorporated into Chanel’s new serums released in their exclusive Sublimage range – Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale (available now) and Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Lumiere (available Feb 2019).
Oh there’s no need to eat yourself up with jealousy. It was all just virtual LOL! :D I was in Hong Kong, but for the rest of the journey, we were treated to the sight of the mighty Alps on video. (If you go to the Chanel highlights on my Instagram account, you can be transported too! ;) )
So let me share a little of what I took away, what is new, what is this Chanel Open-Sky Laboratory and more importantly for us all, what is the
Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale and Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Lumiere and who would benefit most from them?
Chanel Open-Sky Laboratory discoveries
I first heard about the Chanel Open-Sky Laboratory when introduced to the Blue Serum back in early 2017. It is an initiative by Chanel to identify unique hotspots of biodiversity globally, which yields botanical ingredients that they can then use in their products.
What is unique about this Open-Sky Laboratory is, as the name implies, it is an open-air research program. Ingredients Innovation and Development Director, Nicola Fuzzati, globetrots around the world, identifying new spots with unique new plants and botanical extracts. Quite a job to envy eh? :P
Open-Air Laboratories were set up in Madagascar earlier, where they research, grow and work with the Vanilla Panifolia plant used in all Sublimage products. With the Blue Serum, they worked with Green Coffee from Costa Rica, Olive from Sardinia and Lentisk from Greece.
Once the plants they intend to use are identified, they then work with the local growers to establish farms to cultivate such plants in a resourceful, pesticide and herbicide-free enviroment, as close to nature and its wild state as possible.
Not only that, this actually works to save some plants from nature. Some plants that may have been identified as being useful and are then cultivated may even be saved from extinction.
Nicola Fuzzati trained his sights on the South of France in 2010. After 8 years, studying 500 wild plants in the Southern France Alps, studying their botanical extracts, 2 plant extracts were identified with exceptional biological properties for cosmetic skincare. They are the solidago virgaurea alpestris, the core of the L’Essence Fondamentale, and anthyllis vulneraria, the heart of the L’Essence Lumiere.
What is the Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale?
Incidentally, I had already been testing the Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale serum for more than a month before this. I felt it was better I share my experience after going on this trip, and after having asked the people at Chanel some pressing questions ;) I will have it go up by next week so do look out for it then!
For now, the key botanical extract used in the Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale is from the solidago virgaurea alpestris plant. Solidago is also known as the European Goldenrod, and is a wild plant with little golden flowers. This variety identified by Chanel grows high up in the Alps – up to 2800m above sea level.
The Solidago plant (you can look it up here) has been known in ancient times, as a medicinal plant, used to heal wounds. This of course, before modern medicine came along, but I never discount the knowledge of the ancients, for they quite obviously knew more about nature than we do today!
The Solidago plant is supposed to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, and for Chanel, the plants are harvested in July-September, and left to dry naturally in the open air.
“This stops the enzymatic activities and keeps the molecules of interest intact until their extraction” explains Nicola Fuzzati.
I found this made sense. From my little foodie exploits, I’d found that drying botanicals concentrates molecules for better flavour. Think about dried mushrooms or herbs – the flavours are always more intense. It makes sense therefore, that drying the plants before preparing the extract will yield a better, more potent result. Hey, I like my food ok. I can weave a food reference into anything – try me :P
Briefly, the Solidago extract in the Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale will work on the SNEV (SeNescence Evation Factor) protein, a conductor of cellular vitality essential for youthful looking skin. What the SNEV protein does is reactivates multiplication of cells, reduces senescent (old) cells and prolongs life expectancy of cells.
The Solidago extract targets the skin in a global manner, helping to improve cellular activity and restore density to the skin. Skin is smoother, firmer and denser.
Is this anything like retinol?
I found all this sounding quite familiar. Wasn’t there already an ingredient that did this for aging skin? psst. Retinol! :P
So, being that one pesky person in the group who just cannot stop asking the awkward questions, I put it to the scientific people – how is the Solidago extract and its benefits any different from retinol, and why not just use retinol?
To her eternal credit, Armelle Sourand, Chanel’s International Director of Scientific Communications did not deck me around the ears for being so impertinent :P
As she explained, yes, the effects do sound impressively like what we will get from using retinol. But the solidago extract offers a more global effect to the epidermis, targeting keratinocytes as well as demal fibroblasts that produce collagen.
The Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale is also called the Ultimate Redefining Concentrate, because that’s what it does. Redefine your skin.
I will be able to tell you that it is less harsh on skin to begin with. But I’ll save my story for the full review. You don’t want to miss that right? :P
What is the Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Lumiere?
The second botanical extract identified by the Chanel Open-Sky Laboratory is the anthyllis vulnenaria (kidneyvetch), another medicinal plant.
Also a very small flowering plant, it is gathered in June-September and dried before extraction.
What it does is work on the SESTRINE-2 protein, that is an anti-stress shielf protecting skin from premature aging and regulates cutaneous pigmentation.
The Anthyllis extract boosts skin resistance to oxidative stress, and regulates skin pigmentation. Effects are a more even skin tone and more radiant skin with better texture. Tell me a woman who doesn’t want that! :D
The Chanel Sublimage L’Essence Lumiere is also called the Ultimate Light-Revealing Concentrate, because that’s that this does.
Is this anything like Vitamin C?
I’m pesky remember? And because I’m a huge user of Vitamin C serum, I had to ask if this serum is anything like a Vitamin C serum. You have to admit that on paper, the results sound very familiar.
Well, as Armelle Sourand gently explained, it appears familiar but it too offers a more global approach to skin luminosity. So, if I really wanted to, I could use them together.
But personally, I wouldn’t. I think there’s a limit to combining textures and active ingredients :P
The texture is very light. Almost like a lotion or emulsion, that sinks right into the skin, and feels very comfortable. It will be available in stores in February 2019, so I will share a little more with you a closer to the launch date – so you don’t forget all about it :P
Can you use both L’Essence Fondamentale and L’Essence Lumiere together?
Well, not together.
I don’t think your face will fall off, but the sensorial pleasure will not be as comfortable, as they are both quite substantial in texture.
Instead, as suggested by Armelle Sourand, you can use the Sublimage L’Essence Lumiere in the day to protect skin against oxidative stress and to boost radiance. Then, follow up with the Sublimage L’Essence Fondamentale in the night, for repair of skin texture and boost collagen repair.
Top up with a moisturiser to seal in all that goodness into your skin.
A point to note is this. The L’Essence Fondamentale and L’Essence Lumiere are part of the Chanel Sublimage skincare range. This is a range of skincare generally targeted at more mature skin, and a slightly older demographic. The textures therefore reflect this.
Textures are heavier, creams are richer, ingredients are more potent. I enjoy such textures, because my drier and older skin appreciates it better. But I will honestly tell you that you will have to be of a particular age-group to best appreciate it. Let’s just say that if you’re below 30 years old, look elsewhere :P
Personally I can tell you that when I use the L’Essence Fondamentale, I don’t follow up with the Sublimage cream, because even I find it a little too much for my skin. Instead, I opt for a cream in a different brand that has a slightly lighter texture. It just feels more comfortable.
Naturally also, it is more pricey. Hold on to your jaw now….
PRICE: RM,1867 | US$425 for 40ml
WHERE TO BUY: Chanel counters and beauty boutiques
Now, pick up your jaw.
Which of these new serums interest you most?
When I asked this question on Instagram, over 60% picked the L’Essence Lumiere. I guess skin luminosity is a big deal! But I’m curious to know which catches YOUR eye best? I hope you’ve found this helpful – there was a lot for me to digest and share! :)
Special thanks always to the wonderful Chanel PR team for Malaysia for letting me experience this amazing opportunity, Chanel PR Hong Kong for hosting such a beautiful and informative event, and to the Malaysia media friends for being so sporting and so much damn fun :)