A glowing complexion, a pair of perfectly arched and filled brows, and blonde hair casually rolled into a chignon; Jenna Courtin-Clarins is the picture of effortless chic, and rightfully so. The granddaughter to the late Jacques Courtin-Clarins—founder of Clarins—and brand ambassador to the family-run beauty empire, the 30-year-old heiress was schooled on skincare and beauty from a young age.
“Parisian women seem like they don’t care, but they really put a lot of work behind looking so effortless,” she shares with a smile.
Jenna recalls visiting the family house in the south of France with her twin sister Prisca and cousins Virginie and Claire Courtin-Clarins, when they would get first dibs on trying out the latest Clarins products and tell their grandfather what they liked or didn’t like about it.
“It was a game for us four when we were young, and we were able to tell him how we honestly felt about it without any barriers,” she shares.
Now in their thirties, the four heiresses work together for the family business, and they are an unstoppable force. The French beauty house introduced a new retail concept in its stores this year, which streamlines the shopping process for customers to explore and select products based on their needs.
We speak to Jenna to learn about working with family and her personal goals.
What was growing up like in the Courtin-Clarins family?
Jenna Courtin-Clarins (JC) We got started on beauty regimes really early. Prisca, Virginie, Claire and I used to visit our grandfather at the family house in the summer, and my grandfather would try the products on us and teach us how to apply the products, like how you should always warm up the product on your hands before applying it with pressure on your face. It was a big part of my childhood and we loved it because we were always the first to try the newest products.
When was the first time you tried on makeup?
JC I think it was when I was about eight to ten years old. I was going for a birthday party and I wanted to be Cinderella, so I pleaded with my mum to let me have a little lipstick or mascara. Our grandfather and father don’t like too much makeup though, so even now, when I arrive at the office with too much makeup—like a red lipstick or mascara—he’d say: “What happened to you? It’s too much!”
What is your fondest memory with your grandfather and one thing he has taught you?
JC There’s a lot, my fondest would be when we used to have lunch with him every Sunday in Paris, just us four girls and him. Our grandmother was invited, of course, but not our father though! [laughs]
He taught us a lot about listening to what our skin needs, living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, to never leave the house without sunscreen, and most importantly, that a woman should wear her confidence. If you feel confident, it’s the best.
What is your favourite and least favourite thing about working with family?
JC The best thing is knowing that I’m going to see my family every morning, so that is really cool. There isn’t really a least favourite thing because we love each other so much, but sometimes when we have dinner over Christmas or during other special occasions, we talk about Clarins all the time. It’s just such a big part of our lives, so it is really difficult to shut off from work. And we never have enough time! It’s crazy that we spend so much time together, but we never have enough time to say what we want to because we’re always in a hurry.
Do you have disagreements over work? How do you deal with that?
JC Of course. With the girls, we try to make sure that four of us have the same idea, so it’s the four of us against my father and uncle, which makes it easier. [laughs] Because we are a different generation and we’re women and they are men, we do disagree sometimes.
We try to stay very calm and respectful of course, when we try to share our ideas. And they always listen, because they understand that when we share something with them, it’s because we really believe in it. They may not always do especially what we say [laughs], but they have more experience, so it’s good to have a conversation like that—we may come up with an even better idea.
Your personal goals for Clarins?
JC I would like for it to stay as a family business. That, and also for everyone to have Clarins products in their bedrooms, because we are everywhere in almost every country in the world. We have a new retail concept boutique and we’ve opened around 10 shops in Europe already, so I hope we can open one shop in every country and every big city, at least. That will be my goal for maybe the next… 13 years.
The most outrageous beauty fad you have tried?
JC We have many costume parties in Paris, and I’d go crazy with glitter and everything, but just for one night. [laughs] Rather than makeup, I’m more into holistic treatments like ayurveda and other natural treatments. I’ve tried acupuncture, and I would like to try ba guan (suction cupping), although it actually scares me a little bit.
Daily beauty regime?
JC When I wake up, I always wash my face with the Gentle Foaming Cleanser, and then I use the Multi-Active Eye to freshen up my eye contour. I never go out without a Day Cream, which I mix with my Double Serum, and cream for my body, like the Renew-Plus Body Serum or the Body Fit. I also love my Eau Dynamisante Spray, it helps you destress and you can wear it on your perfume.
Once a week, I mask and exfoliate, but it really depends on my needs—I’m trying to listen to my skin because it’s not the same every week, depending on where I go and what I do.
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