BEYOND THE JAR – Episode 1: Vanilla planifolia


Vanilla is like any other plant.
You need to take care of it. Its quality depends
on the environment; it depends on temperature, humidity, the soil, but also on the people
that take care of it. The land here is very good for growing vanilla, so you find workers that are skilled at taking care of vanilla farms. It’s a clinging vine
that relies on supports and it requires soft light
to grow. Organic farming lets
the vanilla plants slowly find natural conditions to develop and grow
in their natural habitat. CHANEL was looking
for the active ingredients in the plant. And these active ingredients
are directly linked to how these plants develop. This research is where my path crossed CHANEL’s. Vanilla planifolia is an orchid.
Its flower is very delicate. It blooms for 24 hours
and then withers. That is why it’s really important to pollinate it at the right time. We pollinate vanilla by hand
to maintain the pod’s formation. In 1996, my laboratory was working
a lot for perfumery. While developing
a vanilla essence, we saw that there was
a very interesting oil, with very special molecules. We purified these molecules.
That’s how we created the first active ones,
planifolia PFA. Plants are a book
we still have much to learn from. What’s interesting about it is
that the extract and every part have revealed interesting properties. With Vanilla planifolia PFA,
we could demonstrate that it is able to regenerate skin
and to activate 5 “life factors” that are key to correcting
ageing effects. Every part of the vanilla plant
is precious. The flowers have antioxidant properties
thanks to the flavonoid it contains. The mature pods of the plant
which contain polyketones are interesting
for cell regeneration. Stem cells from the leaves
have skin repairing properties. And finally,
the seeds are exfoliating. In 2004,
when analyzing green vanilla pods, we noticed
some very interesting molecules. The year after, we wanted
to confirm our findings. We harvested a bit later in the year,
and the molecules weren’t there. We thought: “That’s strange.” And we realized that these molecules formed as the pods mature and disappear
when that pod is mature. They will activate an enzyme which will protect “life factors”
and make them last longer. So we say that Vanilla Ephemeres
are regeneration boosters. The primary extraction
of Vanilla planifolia is the first step that removes all the molecules
from the plant. Once we have done this extraction, the oil is then separated
from the extract; and this oil will then be enriched by polyfractioning
to obtain the active ingredient. A CHANEL formula results
from the collaboration of many experts. It’s the art of creation. It’s the end result of collaboration
that goes from the development of new active ingredients, to their introduction into formulas
to make exceptional products. To conceive a cosmetic product, there is
considerable scientific expertise to create a single product to ensure its efficiency and, day after day,
make women’s skin more beautiful.

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