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Conversations: Jenna Courtin-Clarins On Growing Up In A Beauty Empire

The third generation member of the Clarins clan breaks it all down, from the greatest beauty lessons from her grandfather to that essential "Frenchness". In partnership with Clarins.

Growing up with a famous last name can come with its own set of pressures, but it can also be extremely fun and enriching. For Jenna Courtin-Clarins – yes, that Clarins – her experience is most definitely the latter. She belongs to the third generation of the Clarins brand, which was founded by her late grandfather Jacques Courtin-Clarins in 1954. Decades on, the French beauty house is now one of the most recognised in the world and one of the very few to create product ranges targeted at different women at different stages of their lives. They’re just attentive that way.

But, even as it got bigger and bigger, Clarins was always a family business. It still very much is. For example, the young Courtin-Clarins is the brand ambassador for Clarins, travelling across the globe to speak about the values on which is stands, and yes, its products as well. For a brand created for the everywomen, who better the represent it than someone who actually grew up with it? In fact, if you were to ask Courtin-Clarins about the exact age she started using Clarins, she couldn’t tell you. “My first product must have been a sunscreen, and I must have been very young, like a baby!”

On our shores to officially open the new Clarins boutique at ION Orchard, I met up with the leggy, doll-eyed Courtin-Clarins –  who spotted a perfectly mussed chignon, by the way, very Parisienne – to talk about the massive beauty empire that her grandfather founded and how they’re taking it into the future. Beauty secrets – including the best way to use their wildly popular slimming creams and oils – included.


On Growing Up In The Clarins Clan:

“Clarins is part of my DNA. We grew up with the products, even as little girls. My grandfather used to test the products on us. Once, he asked us to test the slimming products on one leg and not the other, just so that he could see the difference! [Laughs] As a part of the family, we’re all involved in the various aspects of the brand, especially the visual aspect. We work like a team, even with the people who work in Clarins. It feels like a family. That’s why I really enjoy visiting the Clarins offices [around the world] because I get to see how happy people are to work for the brand. I get to meet people who knew my grandfather, and later my father, and now they know me. It’s really cool.”


On Her All-Time Favourite Clarins Goodies:

“It’s too difficult! I’m using everything. No, really! I would say the Double Serum, Multi-Active Day Cream and Multi-Active Night Cream. The Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, because I love the smell. I would also choose the Joli Rouge Lipstick, but in something nude and natural, and the Hydraquench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm to nourish the lips. The Tonic Body Treatment Oil for sure, in the morning after a shower and Anti-Eau Body Treatment for the night.”


On The French Perspective of Beauty:

“I think French women really take care of the themselves, but it is focused on the base. There isn’t too much makeup, not too much hair done, not too much fussing of the clothes. They do think about it, but they also like to be effortless. It’s all about the question of balance. For instance, Parisian girls like baggy jeans and a big pullover, but they have perfect skin to go with it, and maybe just a bit of lipstick and mascara. They have a kind of confidence, which I think is most important.”


On How That Frenchness Translates Into Brand:

“I think the image of Clarins represents that French beauty. Clarins is all about women, which is why we don’t use, for example, a famous actress to represent us. It is about women who are living, smiling, happy and confident. It is about natural beauty, so you feel good in your head.”


On How She Protects Her Skin From Constant Travel:

“Drink a lot of water, avoid air conditioning as far as possible, but if you cannot, put on creams and masks. Also, take extra care with your skin routine. If you’re doing a mask or if you exfoliate once a week, go twice when you travel. Being healthy and getting plenty of sleep is important as well – and don’t drink alcohol on the plane! I never travel without the Multi-Active Creams, but when I really want to wake up fresh, I use the Beauty Flash Balm. I actually put it on like a mask – even though it isn’t one – then remove it with the Toning Lotion and my skin is immediately glowing.”


On Her Best Way To Mask:

“You have to exfoliate and cleanse properly. My grandfather always said that one of the most important things with skin is to have fresh skin, so you have to wash it well every morning and night, until the cotton pad is clean when you swipe it on your skin. You cannot put creams on dirty skin. For me, the masking process is also relaxation time. I do it after a bath, take some tea and put some music on. You really have to enjoy it. Currently, I love the SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask and SOS Pure Rebalancing Clay Mask, along with the Beauty Flash Balm.”


On The Best Beauty Advice From Her Grandfather:

“For him, it really was about protecting yourself from the sun. Don’t forget the day creams, like the Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream. In fact, don’t ever go out without the day cream. My grandfather also loved the water and he used to say that the biggest competitor to our slimming products is very cold water. He taught us that the best way to use the slimming creams is cold water from the feet to the hips, then the cream from the feet to the hips. He always taught us how to apply products, like warming creams by rubbing them in-between your palms and then pressing it into your skin to simulate circulation. But all these have been a part of my skincare routine for so long, I don’t even think about them when I do it.”


What To Read Next: Treat Yo’ Self: 7 Beauty Splurges To Make This Week, Conversations: Olivia Culpo On Skin Tricks, Balance & Moving On To Big Things and If You Don’t Like The Word “Peel” In Your Exfoliants | Cover Image: Natalyn Chan. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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