As La Prairie launches a new luxury skincare collection, we discover more with Dr Jacqueline Hill, Global Director of Strategic Innovation and Science and Dr Daniel Stangl, Director of Innovation, La Prairie.
Known for its dedication to the finest raw ingredients La Prairie has been sourcing some of the highest quality materials to create products that have visible effects on the skin. This year, the Swiss company uses its surroundings as inspiration for the new Pure Gold Collection. Based on the idea of capturing the light of the magical golden hour as the sun touches the tips of the Alps and the unique way it highlights the skin, this new line uses pure gold as its core ingredient.
To create the line, La Prairie has developed a new and exclusive Pure Gold Diffusion System, designed to provide immediate radiance and sustained delivery of two key replenishing ingredients to help compensate for the loss of receptiveness of the skin. This unique system has been designed to leave skin feeling revitalised, replenished, enriched. Here we find out more about this ground-breaking product launch and the incredible capabilities of gold as an ingredient with Dr Jacqueline Hill, Global Director of Strategic Innovation and Science and Dr Daniel Stangl, Director of Innovation.
Gold is at the core of the Pure Gold Collection. Can you tell us more about the cosmetic properties of this precious metal?
Gold is like no other metal because its atomic structure and the way its electrons are arranged are very special. The atomic structure determines the colour of gold and explains its unique surface chemistry. Under white light gold appears to have a warm tone of yellow to human eyes, providing immediate radiance when applied to the skin. In submicron gold particles, a large number of gold atoms are located at the particle surface. These surface atoms are very unique. They do not fully interact with each other, as the inner atoms do. As a result, surface atoms have free binding sites in the form of electrons which are available for attaching active ingredients to the gold particles. Such actives will gradually be released from the gold particles over time when they interact with specific biomolecules on the skin surface. This process is steady and slow, and that’s why we call it a “time-controlled release”.
What other active ingredients are present in the Pure Gold Collection?
The products of the Pure Gold Collection contain our exclusive Pure Gold Diffusion System. It is a blend of four active ingredients: gold particles of an average size of 60 microns, spherical submicron particles of pure gold with a replenishing peptide and a polyphenol attached to the gold particles’ surface, as well as the peptide and the polyphenol each in free form. The Pure Gold Diffusion System has been specifically designed to serve the needs of devitalised skin and to give back the glow and radiance of young skin.
Moreover, the formulas of the Pure Gold Collection are enriched with La Prairie’s Exclusive Cellular Complex. A scientific signature and a closely held secret for decades, this proprietary complex has been at the heart of La Prairie skincare formulations since the beginning. It invigorates epidermal stem cells to reignite renewal efficiency and cellular functionality, enabling them to behave more like those of younger skin. The rejuvenating and age-delaying power of the Exclusive Cellular Complex extends beyond the epidermis. It densifies the dermal extracellular matrix and protects dermal stem cells from stress factors, for a rejuvenated appearance. To note, the Pure Gold Collection products consist of complex formulas that cannot be limited to the main ingredients mentioned above.
What does the Pure Gold Diffusion System consist of and what has it been designed for?
In addition to the deposition of gold on the skin’s surface, the new Pure Gold Diffusion System was designed to allow for sustained delivery of two key replenishing actives into devitalised skin. As a result, these actives are constantly available for the skin cells. This helps to compensate for the cells’ reduced receptiveness to nutrients and improves cellular communication in devitalised skin.
The new Pure Gold Collection is said to be addressed to individuals experiencing “devitalised skin” – can you tell us more about this skin state and how gold contributes to fighting this condition?
Over time, skin becomes devitalised. It appears thin, dull, dry and fragile with an undefined contour. Cells in devitalised skin become less receptive to nutrients and cellular communication, leading to a slowing down of many cellular processes. Cells in devitalised skin also show reduced receptiveness towards active ingredients from cosmetic products. For active ingredients to work efficiently in devitalised skin, they need to be available to skin cells permanently at significant levels. However, these ingredients start to become metabolised and degraded the moment they reach the viable layers of the skin. Within a rather short time, their levels drop below the concentrations needed for cells in devitalised skin to function optimally. The new Pure Gold Diffusion System delivers two key replenishing ingredients into the skin in two waves of different durations. The first wave is a fast one that delivers the pure active ingredients in high concentrations immediately after topical application of the cream or serum. The second wave results from the gradual release of the actives from spherical gold particles deposited on the skin surface, infusing the skin with these ingredients over an extended period. Together, both waves maintain appropriate levels of active ingredients to be used optimally by cells of low receptiveness in devitalised skin.
How are the gold particles used and why – do they sit on the skin to deflect light? Do they also penetrate the skin to create additional benefits from within?
Gold particles are deposited on the skin surface and promote youthful and radiant skin by reflecting the warm tone of yellow light. The submicron gold particles carrying the two replenishing active ingredients also stay on the skin surface and release the attached replenishing active ingredients in a time-controlled manner to penetrate into the skin.
How do these products achieve the promised glow of the “Golden Hour”?
To achieve the promised glow of the “Golden Hour”, the Pure Gold products act both in the short term and in the long term. They provide immediate radiance and revitalise the skin over time to bring back lost resplendence. La Prairie’s Pure Gold Diffusion System contributes to these actions as it has been designed to deliver three peaks of events to revitalise skin. Firstly, the deposition of gold particles on the skin surface for immediate radiance. Secondly, an intense wave of two replenishing actives, which penetrate into the skin to provide long term skin reconstruction. Thirdly, a gradual release of the two replenishing actives from spherical submicron gold particles, allowing them to penetrate into the skin and further support its reconstruction.
It has been some time since La Prairie has launched a new Luxury Collection. How long and how complex was the development of the Pure Gold Collection?
The development of the Pure Gold Collection was relatively complex. Once the concept was defined, the design and development of the Pure Gold Diffusion System took approximately one and a half years and the development of the three products took approximately two and a half years.
There used to be another collection within the La Prairie catalogue that incorporated the virtues of gold as part of its formulas – Radiance. How is the Pure Gold Collection different from the Radiance Collection, especially from a formulation point of view?
The Pure Gold Collection can be considered to be an evolution of the Radiance Collection. We have leveraged the knowledge and experience gained from working with gold and our gold-peptide, as well as our understanding of the properties of gold to take the science one step further in order to optimally address the concerns of devitalised skin. Building on a unique combination of the qualities of gold, its colour and surface chemistry, we designed our “Pure Gold Diffusion System” specifically for devitalised skin in order to revitalise it and bring back its lost resplendence.
The sustainability of skincare formulas is a key topic in the industry today. Can you tell us more about La Prairie’s present efforts, and how these are coming to life as part of the launch of the Pure Gold Collection?
For a formula to be truly sustainable, many different aspects of its journey need to be considered. These aspects include each of the raw materials, their origin, sourcing and production method and conditions, transport, storage and of course their biodegradability, they also include the bulk manufacturing methods and conditions, among other elements. When designing our formulas, we take the above elements into account whilst maintaining our client at the heart of our considerations. We carefully balance the different facets relating to each raw material’s origin, sourcing, efficacy, sensorial properties, information transparency and manufacturing constraints as part of the selection process.
We blacklist ingredients that we consider problematic from the point of view of sustainability, but also of safety or ethics and we require that our suppliers comply with our code of conduct and ensure compliance throughout their supply chain. Our code of conduct covers areas such as environmental protection, labour conditions, prohibition of child labour, occupational health and safety, discrimination and corruption. Sustainability is an important topic for us and an extremely complex one, where all is not necessarily as it seems. We consider it to be a journey.
How should one apply the Pure Gold Collection?
To apply the Pure Gold Collection products, start with Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate, follow with Pure Gold Radiance Eye Cream and then apply Pure Gold Radiance Cream.
Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate: Apply morning and evening after cleansing and toning. Begin the Pure Gold Ritual by dispensing one or two drops of Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate from the pipette onto fingertips. Gently warm the product between your fingers and begin massaging into the skin in a sliding motion with both hands simultaneously. Start between eyebrows, slide up to the forehead and continue towards temples, move across cheekbones towards the top of the nose, slide down to the jawline and chin. Finish by sliding with one hand around the mouth.
Pure Gold Radiance Eye Cream: Using the complementary golden spoon, continue the ritual by taking a small amount of product and sweeping it onto your fingertip. Dot along the under-eye area and up toward the temples, continue the gesture above the eyebrow, towards the bridge of the nose and finish by dotting under the eyebrow line. Massage into skin with a gentle press-and-roll motion until completely absorbed.
Pure Gold Radiance Cream: Using the complementary golden spoon, complete the ritual by taking a small amount and sweeping it onto your fingertips. Start with a sliding motion between eyebrows, slide up to the forehead and continue towards the temples, slide across the cheekbones towards the top of the nose, continue down to the jawline and chin. Finish by sliding with one hand around your mouth. Repeat until absorbed.