As the youngest daughter of Count Hubert and Countess Isabelle D’Ornano, the Founders of Sisley Paris, Christine D’Ornano has been surrounded by this beautiful brand her whole life. Her parents began Sisley in 1976, around the same time that Christine was born, so her childhood memories are filled with skincare, fragrances and the great innovation that is at the heart of all of Sisley’s products.
Since the beginning, Sisley has been focused around creating products based on active ingredients derived from plants to solve different types of skincare issues. Their unique and luxury approach means they are striving to develop products that really do work and will make a noticeable change to the woman (or man) who uses them. With their headquarters remaining in Paris, Sisley produces all of its products in house, many of which require years of development and innovation. Their dedication to plant-based ingredients also allows their products to be kinder to your skin as well as the environment.
This true success story of a family business is a rare occurrence in the beauty industry. Sisley has always remained true to its values and never tried to be anything other than what it was created to be. As the second and third generations of the D’Ornano family continue the Sisley legacy, we discover more about the future of the brand as well as a look at the latest skincare programme, which promises to restore the vitality of the skin at the source of the cell energy.
This year has been a strange one for all – tell us a little about how Sisley Paris has functioned throughout the lockdown period.
We have adapted very quickly to online meetings and the situation brought new creativity. We have developed new content for social media including a guide to massage techniques with a famous facial therapist in Paris that customers could do at home and also we followed many friends of the brand throughout their confinement. I think the confinement has changed many people’s mentality. We have discovered new priorities and passions. All of this brings new creativity.
Are there any changes you have made within the company during this time and is there anything you believe you will do differently moving forward?
I think it has reinforced Sisley’s existing values. Nature is so important and active ingredients from plants are precious. Investing in skincare
and taking time for oneself is key and as a brand, developing great products. But also Sisley is a family business and looking after our employees is at the heart of our values as a brand. Creating a safe working environment and maintaining jobs is Sisley’s number one priority.
This issue is about success – Sisley Paris has had incredible global success – what do you think has made the brand so successful?
Sisley was a pioneer in phyto-cosmetology – the scientific use of plant extract – that revolutionised the cosmetic industry. Sisley’s innovation was to combine the best quality natural active ingredients from plants with complex, effective formulas that work globally on the skin.
Our philosophy is to enhance the natural mechanisms of defence, repair, regenerate which tend to slow down and deteriorate with age. This is why Sisley’s customers have glowing radiant skin that looks plump and hydrated. And this is why women are very loyal to the brand. We take great pride in the development of our products, some of which have taken over 10 years to create, but also all our products, and especially the fragrances, are developed by the family using our own taste and heritage, which gives them a very personal and original feel.
Your parents founded Sisley and until today it is a family run business – what do you think this family aspect adds to the company and how important to you is the brand?
I think it is a great asset to have three generations working in the business. We have the experience but also a fresh perspective. Being family-owned, we work on the long-term plans, of creating great products that will truly make a difference on the skin. We have many exciting products in the pipeline.
It also gives us great freedom to make the products we want to make. To take our time, to work closely with our scientists and to launch only what we feel is best. My father together with my mother created the brand, my brother now runs it and I work alongside him. We all bring different attributes to the business and it is a wonderful adventure to work together. Now, my niece, Daria Botin has also joined. She is in charge of the Creative Studio. I work a lot alongside her and I enjoy it.
What is your first memory of Sisley products growing up?
I grew up with Sisley as the brand was created when I was born, so I have a lot of childhood memories related to beauty and products. It took up a lot of space and discussions at family meals. For instance, I remember very well when we developed Sisleÿa as it was such a long process. I always remember playing with my mother’s Sisley samples in her bathroom, trying creams, smelling them. Also, I guess I have a lot of memories related to Eau du Soir. I remember when I was a child my mother came to kiss me goodnight on her way out to dinner wearing Eau du Soir. It was her personal fragrance for ten years before my father decided to launch it commercially, and now I wear it too (she now wears Izia).
Sisley Paris is now present in many markets around the world – where is there still room to grow and which markets are you particularly focused on at the moment?
In terms of research, there is so much still to discover. Only a small part of the 800,000 plants that exist on earth have been scientifically analysed and we have not yet explored many of the synergies that could be useful to make efficient skincare products. The natural green chemistry still has many presents to offer to our research teams.
In terms of image and communication, new technologies and new ways of communicating with our customers require new content. Being a family business, we want to keep the same voice through these new outlets. It is a challenge but also a great opportunity.
In terms of focus, we are sold in over 80 countries around the world and all of them are our focus! But the Asian market has grown very rapidly, and we have made certain shades and products specifically for them. In the same way, the Middle East has certain requirements and preferences that we have looked into. We try to adapt to all customers around the world. And also, to men, who love our products too!
What can you tell us about Sisley Paris in the Middle East?
In the Middle East, there is a desire for quality so our Supremÿa and Sisleÿa ranges are very popular. Also, of course, the Middle Eastern market loves fragrances. The Eau du Soir, with its floral Chypre notes, has been a best seller for many years. And so have Izia and Soir de Lune. Finally, our makeup is doing well, especially the lipsticks and eye pencils.
What can you tell us about Sisleÿa L’Intégral Anti-Âge La Cure?
Sisleÿa La Cure is an intensive program, for a very specific use to restore the vitality of the skin at the source of the cell energy. The skin is a living organ that can regenerate itself every month by drawing on the vital energy that runs through and fuels its cells daily. Sisleÿa La Cure was programmed to last the exact same time to restart the skin’s vital mechanisms and ensure a real upsurge in the results obtained. Each one of the four bottles of the energy- saturated treatment unlocks the mechanisms that allow the skin to renew and regenerate itself by acting gradually to restore to its maximum youth potential.
Can you tell us about the research process and planning required when you are developing an anti-ageing product such as this?
Sisleÿa La Cure is the ultimate result of an adventure that started at the end of the eighties.
Our research into skin ageing has always combined our knowledge of the skin, its mechanisms and its environment with unique expertise in the most effective natural key ingredients. With this new generation of treatment products, we were aiming for a global approach to act on the elements that provoke skin ageing.
Therefore, our research teams were very patient and methodical in their work. It took ten years to create the first Sisleÿa global anti-ageing treatment in 1999. From the start, Sisleÿa was a revolution and bestseller worldwide. But for us, it was just the first step. We continued to further improve with the addition of Sisleÿa serums and the launch of Sisleÿa l’Intégral Anti-Âge in 2016. This formula adds the latest epigenetic discoveries: that is to say, behavioural ageing.
Sisleÿa La Cure, the latest step, acts at the very source of the skin’s youth by reviving the cellular energy cycle in four weeks. Our Sisley researchers first focused on the cellular energy and the identification of the key mechanisms involved in its production. Then, we searched for and selected the best key ingredients with natural and complementary properties that would act on the different stages of cell energy production. Nineteen ingredients with remarkable properties were identified, evaluated, and combined and are now concentrated in the Sisleÿa La Cure formula.
Tell us about some of the processes needed to test a product such as this before it arrives on the market?
La Cure benefited from a test protocol of unprecedented scale for Sisley. To demonstrate its effectiveness, our Laboratories have conducted more than 17 evaluation tests:
- Instrumental and consumer tests.
- Tests conducted at all levels of the skin, from the surface to the dermis.
- Tests conducted week after week for 4 weeks, which demonstrate the importance of using La Cure for the recommended period.
Sisleÿa La Cure has been tested on women all presenting marked, tired skin and dull complexion. We have taken into account the main epigenetic factors (linked to behavioural ageing) such as active and urban women, stressed women and smokers or ex-smokers.
Performed under dermatological control by our dedicated laboratories or by independent laboratories, the tests showed visible performance on the quality and youthfulness of the skin from the first week of use and increases week after week. After 4 weeks, the skin regained the characteristics of younger skin. The complexion is radiant, wrinkles are visibly reduced, and the skin is denser, more elastic. It is regenerated in depth.
Why do you believe it was the right time to launch this product?
We always take our time to do the best possible product and launch it when (and only when) it is ready. We do not aim to create luxury but instead try to bring very efficient products to cosmetics. The value in Sisleÿa La Cure is linked to its scientific innovation, formulation and results. We think there is a real demand for a high results product that slows the ageing of the skin while keeping the harmony and personality of each kind of beauty. Once a product is ready, we launch it.
How does this treatment fit in with our regular skincare routine?
Sisleÿa La Cure is an intensive program. It does not replace your daily skincare that you can continue to apply with La Cure or stop and use after La Cure. I use La Cure twice a year when the seasons change. I live in Paris and at the end of winter, for example, I feel that my skin needs a boost. But also, like everyone, I feel and see when my skin needs special attention as soon as it shows signs of fatigue or stress; it is dull and lacks energy. As a result, it’s terrific to take a break from your regular routine and give your skin a real energy boost.
La Cure is also accompanied by a specific tailor-made technique that should be repeated morning and night at home throughout the four weeks to optimize its effects. Its texture is particularly suitable for massage, to provide the skin with special well-being. We have also developed a treatment available at our spas. This will, of course, enhance the effect of La Cure as a deep massage is great to help the mechanisms of the skin.
Where does sustainability fit into the strategy at Sisley Paris?
For many years, we – at Sisley – have been concerned with reducing our energy footprint and seeking to conduct effective and sustainable programs to reduce our environmental impact. This program involves HQE (high environmental quality) certifications for our head office and logistic and research centre. Our CO2 emissions in our factory have decreased by 25% since 2011 while growing the production by over 50%, recycling and clean water programs. We are actively investing and increasing our efforts, as we feel we can still do better.
Why is it important for the company to keep the production of all the products in France?
We are a French company and we believe in working and helping our country of origin. Also, this enables us to keep a close eye on the quality of our products and to make sure that the same level of excellence is maintained at every step of production.
Even a global brand sees setbacks and failures – how do you deal with this and continue to stay motivated moving forward?
To be honest we do not have many setbacks but like all businesses, issues come up and we deal with them as they arise.
If you could look back, what is something that you would tell your younger self?
Have as much fun as you can!
What is something you would love to change within the beauty industry today?
The idea of perfection. I think all types of beauty are wonderful. At Sisley, we believe in being the best version of yourself and to feel good at every age. That is what we strive for.
What do you think women want from beauty products today?
A regime that gives them healthy glowing skin at every age. Also, amazing textures and a real moment of pleasure for themselves.
What is the life motto you live by?
In my opinion, nothing beats “love thy neighbour as yourself”