[INTERVIEW]From Clinique, modern science for Asian skinHere’s the formula for youthful skin suggested by Clinique:
Take one part bamboo extract, one part fucoidan extract, one part clary sage extract and mix with five years of research headed by doctors from two countries.
Clinique unveiled its newest exfoliant last week at the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Seoul. Kenneth Marenus, vice president of biological research, David Orentreich, guiding dermatologist, and Janet Bartucci, vice president of global communication, flew to Korea to attend the function, which also marked the company’s 25th anniversary in Asia.
The Clarifying Moisture Lotion is a mild exfoliant with bamboo extracts for antioxidants, fucoidan extracts for minerals and clary sage extracts to repair the skin and stimulate building from within. Best of all, the Clarifying Moisture Lotion is ideal for sensitive Asian skin.
Next year, the company will be celebrating Clinique’s 10th anniversary here. Clinique launched in Korea at the Lotte department store in downtown Seoul in December of 1994.
The JoongAng Daily caught up with Ms. Bartucci and Dr. Orentreich, son of Clinique’s founding dermatologist, Norman Orentreich, before the two left for the Beijing product launch.
At Clinique headquarters and Tokyo R&D, scientists ran studies comparing Asian skin with Caucasian skin. What did the research reveal?
Orentreich: The study took five years before we designed the new lotion.
Part of the function of skin is a barrier function. As skin ages, the old cells don’t work as well, and skin naturally sheds old cells so that young cells underneath can function actively.
You can help this process, so-called exfoliation, either mildly or aggressively. Mild means you use a conventional lotion which contains chemical exfoliating agents, such as alpha hydroxy acid or retinol. Aggressive exfoliation involves physical abrasion, such as scrubbing or micro-derma-abrasion.
According to our findings, compared to Caucasian skin, Asian skin is more delicate and resilient. Which means greater sensitivity, and that it requires a more gentle exfoliant.
The challenge for us was to find the right ingredients plus hydration. The Clarifying Moisture Lotion is an exfoliant agent that is mild enough to be used as often as twice a day and that doesn’t increase the skin’s sensitivity to sun.
What other products does Clinique have that target an ethnic market?
Bartucci: So far, Asia is the only market with ethnic-specific products.
The Asian market is important to us. We began with the Active White line and are working on mascara for Asian lashes that will increase curl and add volume and length.
Orentreich: There was a clear need in Asia. In New York City, where I practice at the Orentreich Medical Group with my father and sister, Catherine Orentreich, I have quite a lot of Asian clients. They all told me the same thing.
The classic Clinique 3-step program has been your best-seller for years. Just how popular is it?
Bartucci: Every 3.5 seconds in the world, we sell a bottle of Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, and it’s accelerating. The lotion is our top-selling product in the global market.
In Korea, Clarifying Lotion, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and City Block Sheer have been best sellers.
Orentreich: And there’s quite a number of men who find these products very satisfactory.
What’s the age target?
Bartucci: I use it and my teenage daughter uses it. Just the other day, for an MTV award ceremony, my daughter stole my $8,000 Versace dress and wore a denim jacket over it. See, my daughter and I share many things!
Local cosmetics manufacturers boast that their products are designed with Korean women in mind. Now that you’re also going for Asia-specific products, do you think you’ll shake up the market?
Bartucci: We’re aware of the local competition. Asian women are very beauty-conscious and very treatment-conscious. Korea for us is the second-largest and fastest-growing market in Asia. First is Japan, followed by Korea, then Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. Beijing is trying to vie.
Did you know that prestige make-up is the fastest growing section in department stores here?
Clinique is famous for not using models. Will you have a model for the ad campaign?
Orentreich: Clinique was the first makeup brand in the world to incorporate dermatological science. When Leonard Lauder, son of Estee Lauder, asked Carol Phillips, Vogue magazine editor, and my father to collaborate on a clinically tested line of makeup, my father made sure the entire line was fragrance- and allergy-free. Instead of models, the products speak for themselves.
Bartucci: We have a global voice, and a global image designed by the fashion photographer Irving Penn. The ad campaign this time features a goldfish.
If I’m in New York or London, can I buy the new exfoliant?
Bartucci: For store purchases, it’s only available in the Asia Pacific area. Elsewhere, try the Web site or in the U.S., the 800 number.
What’s the latest issue in dermatology?
Orentreich: Around the world people are trying to find sophisticated, fancy products. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s ideal for you. There’s science, and there’s science that’s applicable.
There are certain things that go through skin, such as moisture, cortizon and antibiotic substances; and there are certain things that don’t go through, like vitamin C and collagen, which are commonly found in cream. Although collagen is what makes up the skin, this type of protein doesn’t penetrate the skin. Your skin is designed not to let proteins through.
Steak is a collagen. When you ingest it, your body breaks it down to amino acids and your body recomposes it as body protein and there’s no similarity to what it once was. When you put cream, it just holds moisture on the skin.
by Joe Yong-hee