AS A BEAUTY EDITOR, you sit through a lot of Very Serious Powerpoint Presentations given by Very Smart Scientists. File them under “things they don't tell you in school”. Not, of course, that anyone goes to beauty-editor school. But scroll through the Instagram accounts of top beauty correspondents worldwide and you'll find carefully styled groups of products, or fun and fancy launch events, or chic spa spots. Nary a Powerpoint slide or science-lab interior in sight.
But when P&G Prestige signed on to create the first skincare line for fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, a very long presentation was necessary. Not only had the premium beauty research and development arm of the consumer goods conglomerate Procter & Gamble created a full range of items using new, proprietary ingredients, it had also utilised a whole new methodology for measuring its success.
Typically, one of the Very Smart Scientists involved in educating us editors is an independent researcher, one who handles clinical trials in an unbiased manner and can offer quantitative in-vitro and in-vivo proof that Product A increased moisture retention by 90 percent, or that Product B reduced signs of ageing by 97 percent.
P&G Prestige did all that. But finally, someone on the team took note of the fact that “captivating skin” – the brief delivered by designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana – isn't measured in absolute numbers. And so the team applied an eye-tracking test as well, offering participants the chance to glance over sets of before-and-after photos. Some 70 percent of subjects using Aurealux stole eyeballs immediately, and once the train of sight was seized, the gaze was held in place for significantly longer than on non-users.
Finally, a set of statistics that everybody can understand.
Because here's the big secret: we nod along as the Very Smart Scientists give their Very Serious Powerpoint Presentations, and we agree that what they are telling us must be true and very effective. But we don't care when our friends and co-workers tell us we look “more hydrated than usual”. We care when a stranger can't stop looking at us. We care when eyeballs rivet towards us in a crowd. Beauty can be measured, but not necessarily in pie charts and bar graphs.
Dolce & Gabbana's captivating premium line is called Aurealux, a touchy-feely and decidedly untechnical combination of the words aura and luxe. The key ingredients it relies upon to achieve such entrancing results are three, and all of those are so on-brand that it feels like P&G picked items out of a hat and then somehow converted them for use on the skin.
The first is one of Sicilian origin, a special extract of Italian olive oil that helps to strengthen the upper layers of the epidermis. The next, which resonates with the house's use of soft and luxurious silks, is a new active complex, the Gold Flavo-Silk Tricomplex, which features gold silk sericin sourced from the cocoon of the golden silkworm. The complex helps to elevate moisture levels, taking on the cocoon's ability to cultivate and protect, resulting in an even skin tone with a velvety texture. The final puzzle piece seems the odd man out, but the Vitamin B3 that completes the triumvirate is derived from the nutrients found in wheat, fields of which flourished during the Roman Empire. Its fabled abilities include enhancing moisture, exfoliating skin and repairing the skin's natural barrier against the world of free radicals.
Those ingredients have been inserted into a five-product edit that includes an essence, serum, eye gel, cream and sheet mask. A further Essentials line has also been launched, filling in the gaps with cleansers in milk, oil, gel and water formats, a toner, exfoliator, eye make-up remover and UV cream.
You don't need a Very Smart Scientist – or even just a regular Smart Scientist – to tell you what works and what doesn't. The products should speak for themselves. And if not, hopefully a pointed gaze will.