Barbers, it turns out, have secrets, and, in making its new men’s line, Clarins set out to uncover them. In speaking to and collaborating with master barbers like Samy Zerouali in Paris, Justin Carr in London and Lord Jack Knife in Norway, the brand unlocked expertise around skincare and shaving, and put those insights directly into its latest release of ClarinsMens products.
“[These] renowned international master barbers … have tested our products on their clients and developed professional routines [with them],” confirms Clarins senior director of education Marie-Claude Côté, adding that the new offerings are additions to Clarins’ existing men’s range, including the best-selling Active Face Wash and Super Moisture Gel, and the award-winning Energizing Gel. “As always, our skincare expertise enabled us to create effective formulas with plant extracts and incredibly light textures, to make shaving a real pleasure.”
Among the newness: ClarinsMen Smooth Shave Foaming Gel, After Shave Soothing Gel, After Shave Soothing Toner, and Shave + Beard Oil. And the tailor-made routines? “For a close daily shave, shave in the direction of hair growth, then across with the oil or Smooth Shave Foaming Gel,” says Côté. “For a short beard, once or twice a week, trim your beard with a clipper and shave the contour with the oil. For a long beard, every day comb your beard, shave the contours with a manual razor using the oil or Smooth Shave Foaming Gel, and then groom and soften the beard with the oil.”
Ingredients-wise, the products include things like organic black currant bud extract, organic bison grass extract and gymnema extract. “Black currant bud extract helps to limit the release of inflammatory mediators to soothe the skin. It is often used in traditional medicine as an infusion to treat rheumatism, and also in gemmotherapy for its anti-inflammatory properties,” Côté says. “Bison grass and gymnema extract provide the energy the skin needs.”
Other powerful ingredients include purslane, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids to soothe razor burn and calm irritations; galanga, which stimulates cutaneous exchanges and fights free radicals; and red ginseng extract to energize and stimulate men’s skin. And, yes, the products are specially made for male skin.
“Clarins studied the differences between men’s and women’s skin, identified plant extracts adapted to the physiology of men’s skin and designed textures suited to this new group of users,” says Côté. “Men’s skin, like women’s skin, is a hormone-dependent organ. All its structural, physiological and functional characteristics are linked to the strong presence of hormones in men. In fact, testosterone levels are 10 times higher in men than women, which explains the many differences in their skin.”
Because of its specific structure and physiology, she says that men’s skin ages differently from women’s skin: its thicker and more resistant, and thus ages more slowly. However, ageing is also more dramatic, with more pronounced slackening and deeper wrinkles. Clarins research reveals that men’s skin uses more energy; skin cells renew themselves faster, and men’s skin needs more energy to function optimally. Additionally, as revealed by Clarins research, the impact a super-busy life can have on mitochondria, or skin cells “energy-producing factories” that help support proper cell functions. The consequences of this happening become visible: loss of radiance, signs of fatigue and premature skin ageing.
“Besides, men often have different habits and lifestyles to women, which means signs of ageing are often more visible: bad sun protection, smoking, an unbalanced diet and shaving are all factors that encourage more marked skin ageing, with deep lines and furrows on areas of particularly exposed, unprotected skin,” adds Côté.
When asked why men ought to better embrace skincare these days, she says, “To help men feel good, there’s nothing like having energizing, healthy looking skin. Skin that is toned, hydrated and supple. To help men feel even better, they can protect their skin from external aggressions, especially pollution. And, finally, to feel ultimately irresistible, ideally, men want to have an eye area that looks rested, full of life and a smooth eye contour, without puffiness or dark circles.”
One man who is a big fan of these new products, and encourages all men to adopt a daily skincare routine, is Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, whose demanding schedule includes playing professional football with the NFL’s New York Jets and advancing his medical career. “For me skincare is my little moment to take care of myself,” he says. “We’re always bombarded by emails, texts … when I’m in front of my mirror in the morning I try to put my phone away for five minutes. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it means I start my day better.”
Among other things, Duvernay-Tardif loves the ClarinsMen products for their “mattifying effect that you don’t get sometimes with other brands. It suits me really well. I sweat a lot and I’m really active, so I want something that hydrates me without that shiny or glowy feeling. The ClarinsMen Energizing Gel for me is one of the best products; I use it every day.”
Something that really pleases him is seeing more men, including his teammates, becoming passionate about skincare, which he calls “a form of health” and “a good thing for humans to do in general.”
“When I first got into the NFL you would never see somebody carrying a little kit bag into the showers and now half the team has their bag, and they’re not using the three-in-one soap, either,” he says with a laugh. “The stigma around men’s skincare is definitely evolving and changing; for a long time skincare was perceived as feminine if a guy like me can talk about it, it can create that bridge. That’s a really good thing.” —Noa Nichol