Sitting in Chanel’s pristine skincare lab in a modern shiny tower, on the outskirts of Paris, it’s hard not to think of the words once spoken by the brand’s impossibly chic founder, Coco Chanel. “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance,” she once said. All these years later and the house of Chanel still approaches everything they do – from fashion to beauty – with the simplicity and elegance their stylish creator once inspired. I’m here to discover more about the luxury brand’s latest skincare invention, La Solution 10 de Chanel. Within minutes, it becomes clear that this might just be Chanel’s most clever cream to date and almost certainly, the most simple. The gentle, soothing moisturiser has been formulated for sensitive skin and is the smart innovation of Wechsler, who has been Chanel’s consulting dermatologist since 2011. Everyday in her office her clients asked for a product for sensitive skin – so she partnered with Chanel to create one.
La Solution 10 is made up of just 10 ingredients, including shea butter and the antioxidant-packed Silver Needle tea. Just like everything else Chanel does, it’s designed to be used forever. “If you find something you like, you can use it forever. We’re taking beauty back to basics in the most simple and elegant way. Less is more,” says Wechsler.
The glamorous dermatologist is sitting in a minimal beige room in the lab. On the shelves behind us are beautiful coffee table tomes chronicling Chanel’s rich history, beautiful bottles of their famous fragrances, and golden sculptures of the iconic CC logo and lions (born under the sign of the Leo, Coco always felt an affinity for lions). On the glossy black table in front of us is the cream in question along with jars containing the ten magic ingredients in it.
Dressed in crisp white Chanel lab coats, we’ve just been given a tour of the company’s research and technology centre, which is filled with the most stylish set of scientists I’ve ever seen. We’re now sitting here drinking cups of the revered Silver Needle tea – widely considered the best white tea in the world – talking sensitive skin. “Sensitive skin doesn’t feel good. It’s easily irritated, itchy, flaky and it feels tight. Some people have naturally sensitive skin and others develop it temporarily during periods of stress. Pollution, smoking, sun exposure, all create sensitivity. It takes a special kind of product to address sensitive skin,” explains Wechsler. “Finally I have something to offer my patients with sensitive skin.”
La Solution 10 was in the works for four years. During that time, there were 117 different formulations created before they found the perfect combination. The key active ingredient is Silver Needle tea, a rare organic Chinese-grown variety of white tea containing twice as many polyphenols as green tea. “It has the highest level of antioxidant in the world,” says Wechsler. This active soothes inflammation, regulates the skin’s response to irritants and protects against free radicals.
The results are astounding: “It acts as a real barrier,” says Wechsler. She explains that the brand put it to the test in Beijing last December. “It is the coldest month of the year so they burn the most coal. It’s their peak of pollution. We thought it would soothe and it did, but I was surprised at how well it protected against further insult.
Fragrance free and tested around the eye area, Wechsler sees La Solution 10 as the new go-to cream for men and women around the globe. “For someone with sensitive skin, it’s so important to know exactly what’s going into the creams you use. The likelihood of having a problem is lesser with fewer ingredients. I want people to have it in their tool kit so you can go to it when you need it. If you know your triggers for when your skin gets sensitive, such as travel or during your period, then start using it the week before. It’ll protect you during that time. You can also mix it with your other skincare.”
It’s not surprising to hear that when it comes to her own beauty routine, she applies the less is more approach. “My own beauty routine is pretty basic. In person, her skin is pretty flawless. I’m pretty nutty about sun cream and I wear it everyday. I’ll close my eyes and put it everywhere twice a day.” Wechsler was only able to tolerate retinol once a week, but since using La Solution 10 on top, she’s increased the application to three times a week. She has also been using it on her patients after procedures such as Microdermabrasion or Fraxel. “People seem to recover a little more quickly,” she says.
Minutes later, we’re driving back into Paris carrying elegant black and white bottles of this special cream in our handbags. For once, I can’t wait to get on the plane. Usually I arrive home with flaky, dry and irritated skin. Not this time. La Solution 10 is my new secret weapon and a little like a Chanel bag, I haven’t taken it off since I first discovered it. Wechsler was right: this is a forever cream.
Story by Georgie Abay