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The Naturally Powerful Properties That Make the Ultimate Serum

By Renée Batchelor

Dior’s Rose de Granville is a hardy plant that has taken seven hybridisation cycles to perfect.
Courtesy of Dior
Dior’s Rose de Granville is a hardy plant that has taken seven hybridisation cycles to perfect.

The confluence of nature and science is observed keenly in our beauty products. With a push towards “clean” beauty — products that eschew the addition of proven or suspected toxic ingredients — there has been a great demand for clean and simplified formulations. Sustainability is another factor that consumers look for when selecting their products. Yet within these confines, the demand for even greater efficacy has not subsided. Rather than be daunted, beauty brands have been rising to meet these new challenges by finetuning their processes, starting from the harvesting of ingredients all the way to the perfection of formulations.

In the case of Dior Beauty and its luxury line Dior Prestige, the words “luxury,” “clean” and “ethical” are not mutually exclusive. In fact, an ideal product might encompass all these three elements. For its newest product the Micro-Huile de Rose Advanced Serum, Patrick Choisy, the Director of Innovation Natural Materials And Sustainable Development Department, says, “There has been a lot of work to remove all silicone oils, and gelling agents in order to keep the product in the area for consumers who are sensitive to the presence of these raw materials. This formula is a real balance of naturality and performance. Naturality has been pushed as far as possible, but the last eight per cent of non-natural origin ingredients were there in order to preserve performance and sensoriality.”

Choisy truly believes that the consumer demand will only push this brand and others towards excellence. “We are living in a very exciting period which is going to deeply reinvent cosmetic products,” he says. T Singapore spoke to Choisy, and Edouard Mauvais-Jarvis, the Environmental and Scientific Communication Director of Dior Beauty to find out more.

Tell us about the new formulation of Micro-Huile de Rose Advanced Serum. How did Dior manage to keep the product at 92 per cent natural origin?

Patrick Choisy: The development of the Micro-Huile de Rose Advanced Serum represents a serious breakthrough in formulation. This formula is characterised by the equilibrium of the watery phase which provides this fresh sensation and the complex of oils which highly penetrates into the skin and nourishes it. It is also characterised by the very high concentration of actives which lead to many changes in the high tech microfluidic process.

What are the properties of the Rose de Granville that make it such a powerful natural ingredient?

PC: Our Rose de Granville is the only rose which has been developed for skincare activity. From Christian Dior’s Rose Garden (Rosa pimpinellifolia), it is extremely resistant to wind, salt [and even] an excess of rain [or] drought. Dior scientists have made it evolve through hybridisation [to achieve] a rose which has skincare properties.

Seven hybridisation cycles have been necessary to achieve a hybrid called “Jardin de Granville”. On one hand it’s very resistant to diseases, drought and produces a lot of flowers. On the other hand, it has a specific combination of polyphenols which [have] anti-inflammatory, soothing properties in addition to containing carbohydrates and microelements which nurture the skin and give excellent regeneration properties.

Furthermore, we have used the Rose de Granville hips to make a sap extract (from the wood of the plant) which is rich in micronutrients. As actives and sap micronutrients are very hard to extract, we have developed a patented technology of extraction that we call micro fermentation which takes the benefit of micro-organism enzymes in order to dissolve wood (lignin and cellulose) to get access to these ingredients. The combination of the two extracts provide the consumers with a very powerful active for skin repair and regeneration.

What are the challenges in growing and harvesting the Rose de Granville?

PC: The Rose de Granville has been selected as being very resistant in its natural environment. Thanks to this natural resistance it doesn’t need much to grow.

The flowers, buds, fruits and wood are harvested manually. The period of harvest is extremely short — just three weeks in June and July and three weeks in September for the flowers. For the fruits, we have two weeks in October, and three weeks for the wood and sap which we have to harvest right after the first harvest of spring flowers.

Courtesy of DiorEach bottle of the serum contains 10,000 rose micro-pearls, each of which are flash cooled for the fine consistency.
Each bottle of the serum contains 10,000 rose micro-pearls, each of which are flash cooled for the fine consistency.

How does Dior ensure that the harvesting of the Rose de Granville is done in a sustainable manner?

PC: Sustainability is a large concept which is based on a life cycle analysis, through international standards. If we only look at the rose harvest, we do it manually which is the most sustainable way to proceed. The parts of the harvested plants are renewable. This is obvious for flowers and buds, but the wood is in fact a co-product of pruning roses just after blooming.

As the Director of Innovation Natural Materials and Sustainable Development, what are some of your goals and duties when it comes to new product development?

PC: First, we look for performance. Our first duty is to deliver an active — an ingredient which is the best in class or a breakthrough. But we want to do it in a sustainable way with natural compounds. With natural compounds, we will assume the renewability of our ingredients and their biodegradability. The next challenge is to tackle the sustainability of our natural ingredients. For this, we have set up an ambitious research programme in order to improve global sustainability and reduce our environmental footprint.

What has been the shift that you have seen over the past five years in terms of consumer awareness on sustainability and natural ingredients?

PC: I really believe that naturality was a first shift in these five past years and now there is another shift going on with sustainability. In the domain of extraction, we are living a soft revolution concerning extraction technologies with low and clean solvents or even without the use of solvents and cold (low emission) processes. The development of biotechnologies is also striking: enzymatic biocatalysis, fermentation in various manner or microorganisms, plant cells, algae and fermented plants, are clearly providing us with new types of actives with different performances.

Tell us about why the Micro- Huile de Rose Advanced Serum is considered the most powerful serum ever created for Dior.

Edouard Mauvais-Jarvis: With the Micro-Huile de Rose Advanced Serum, we have pushed both sides of this double expertise. We have revealed that micro-nutritional deficiencies do not only have an impact on energy, nutrition and cutaneous radiance, they also have visible consequences on cellular renewal and regeneration. Thanks to a breakthrough new extraction of the rose sap combined with our flower extracts, we are now able to provide a thorough answer by combining, in a single bottle, the two extremities of the anti-ageing spectrum.

We are able to revitalise the skin by nourishing it with micronutrients from the flower to restore its full functioning, while having an amplified action on the regenerative power of the skin with rose sap by neutralising the inflammation to protect cells from damage and by boosting the skin repairing process deep down and up to the surface. It is a powerful anti-ageing serum.

What is unique about how the micro pearls are formulated and then absorbed into the various layers of the skin?

EMJ: It has taken years of research, more than 165 trials and six patents to find a way to push the limits of microfluidics even further and create a new masterpiece formulation. We have improved the cutting-edge process of microfluidic formulation through high precision and temperature control to the degree, to create 10,000 rose micro-pearls one by one. Each pearl is flash cooled just after being created, and only after the rest of the formula is jellified around it creating the final consistency of the formula.

It’s an extremely precise, synchronised, temperature-controlled process — concentrated in a miniaturised microfluidics device that allows [us] to create this texture, pearl after pearl. The result is a formula that is twice as concentrated in Rose de Granville micronutrients, compared to the previous formula, without any surfactant or emulsifier that can trap the actives. More importantly, the result is a formula that increases the penetration, while delivering incredible sensoriality and performance.

What are the most important considerations when the Dior R&D team is formulating new products under the Dior Prestige line?

EMJ: We are driven by the challenging desire to constantly push the boundaries of science and floral science in order to deliver the utmost efficiency and the ultimate sensoriality at the same time. It requires a more precise selection of ingredients, no compromise on any choice made and a constant exploration of the molecular potential of the Rose de Granville to create the ultimate awakening and fulfilment of the skin and the senses.

Are textures, scents and packaging still very important when it comes to luxury skincare or are there other more important considerations today?

EMJ: Of course the appearance of a product and its packaging are important for luxury skincare. We intentionally create products with a beautiful appearance, but long before trying to create beautiful textures, we try to make them efficient.

How and when does Dior begin the process of upgrading or introducing new products to the Dior Prestige line?

EMJ: It’s more the rhythm of the discoveries that drives the pace of upgrading formulas than a process of upgrading in itself. Dior Prestige is the expert of the Rose, with [the] first rose ever created for skincare, with an exceptional beauty and life force. We have a continuous research programme on the rose molecular content and the way to extract its powers. Year after year, Dior floral science and our unique expertise in ethnobotany continues to unveil the secrets of youth of this incredible rose, and when we make a breakthrough advance on that field, we are eager to include it in a product.

The second pillar of Dior Prestige results from a long skin research investment over time: publications, conferences in scientific congresses, posters and university research works. We are constantly investigating new biological territories to [make] important discoveries on the biology of the skin. Here again when we make new discoveries, it pushes us to use it and make it a new target for a biological action.