I had just gotten off a red-eye flight from NYC to Paris, and my skin look dehydrated and sallow. It was October (a dry time to begin with!), and I was there as a guest of Chanel to learn about the brand's expansion and celebration of its iconic Sublimage face cream.
But my face was looking less than fine. When I got to my hotel room, a jar of the hero product lay on my hotel bed waiting for me. I also brought the complementary serum Sublimage L'Extrait Intense Recovery Treatment — which is expensive but undeniably effective. So I cleansed my skin, and attempted to reinvigorate it by cocktailing these products.
To be honest, it was the first time I had ever used Chanel Sublimage. But I was quite impressed by the results. Within minutes, my skin had transformed from dull to dewy. When I met the group for dinner, people complimented my "glow." It surprised me, because although I felt drained, from the neck up, I looked plump.
Applying Sublimage is a sensual experience — as it should be! I was once given the advice that any high-end skin care product should be an enjoyable ritual or it's not worth the price tag. The scent is powdery, botanical, and musky like vanilla. That is because the Chanel research and design team put a tremendous amount of effort into harvesting the most perfect, pure vanilla extract for the formula.
Let's get into the science a bit: though there are actually hundreds of vanilla strains, Chanel focuses on one called planifolia. The French fashion house harvests approximately 3,800 vanilla plants from April to May in a sustainable farm and unique open sky lab in Ambanja, Madagascar. The vanilla orchids are pollinated by hand, using skills passed down from mothers to daughters over decades.
The vanilla pods are then sent to the Chanel labs outside of Paris, where the beans are extracted. The official straining process is called chrono-extraction, and it preserves the integrity of the plant. That is because vanilla planifolia has beneficial effects on the skin including vitality (hydration, radiance), strength (firmness), and perfections (combatting darks spots and creating more uniform pores). Plus, it smells heavenly! And when you take this star ingredient, Éphémères de Planifolia, and combine it with oils (camellia and jojoba) and shea butter, you create one special skin potion.
I can attest that all of these steps actually happen with the utmost attention to detail, because I visited the labs and met with the masterminds who oversee this operation. And I even got the chance to create my version of the cream (which, as a beauty nerd, was pretty cool!).
Since Sublimage was formulated ten years ago in 2006, more than 1.6 million jars have been sold and the line has expanded to include cleanser, eye cream, essence, toner, and serum. This Winter, to celebrate its birthday decade, Chanel is releasing two new versions of the original cream: Texture Fine (which is lighter) and Texture Suprême (a richer iteration).
And in true Coco Chanel fashion, the brand is comparing these three textures to luxe fabrics. The Texture Fine is similar to satin silk, the original is jersey silk, and the Suprême is velvet silk. If you visit a Chanel counter or just buy them online here ($400 each), you'll feel the difference of each on your hand. The Texture Fine emulsifies the quickest, changing into a serum-like liquid, while the original takes a bit more massaging to sink in but leaves more moisture on the skin. Rely on Suprême as an overnight hydration mask. I've layered these creams in the evening before a big event (like a wedding) to prep my skin for makeup. Remember, your foundation only enhances what is under it!