Of lasers and signature fragrances
A few months ago over lunch with Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho, I was explaining to them how I feel that I develop wrinkles overnight. They both said I had nothing much to worry about because I have good skin, but then Hayden noticed that I have some bumps that can be removed through laser.
I was quite upset and told him I was complaining about wrinkles, and was not even aware I had some bumps. But since that day he pointed them out, I have been obsessing over them. I couldn’t stand the sight of the bumps anymore that I had to text and ask what type of facial I should have done, and instead of a facial, he said I should try Fraxel.
I haven’t had any type of laser treatment done and I’m quite apprehensive, although I do know a couple of my friends who have it regularly and have amazing skin. So, I did some research since there are so many different types of laser treatments out there that it can get confusing and very intimidating.
This is what I found out:
There are two types of lasers. Ablative and non-ablative. The first is designed to address issues at the top layer of the skin, while non-ablative goes underneath, alleviating issues without damaging the top layer.
There are a hundred types of lasers to choose from, but the main difference is the wavelength used, which is dependent on the skin issue that needs to be addressed. Here are the most common laser treatments you hear about and what you may want to consider depending on your concerns:
Acne and acne scars. Ask about CO2 laser which is commonly prescribed today. For superficial scars or active acne, non-ablative lasers and LED technology can help improve the skin’s condition.
Wrinkles and fine lines. An ablative laser will provide the best result for this kind of issue. My friend had this done before her wedding and the results were amazing. To me, she looked five years younger! Pulse dye lasers can also be done.
Skin tightening. All laser treatments offer a degree of superficial tightening, but the most significant will come from CO2 lasers. Light-based therapies such as Thermage and Titan treatments should definitely be considered.
Age spots and blemishes. Skin lesions respond well to IPL treatments when they are still superficial. However, Fraxel pulse dye lasers and YAG lasers will address more serious blemishes and pigmentation issues.
Varicose veins and other vascular issues. IPL is the most common choice for its minimal invasiveness. However, the diode lasers, Nd:YAG and pulse dye skin laser therapy are also popular in treating these issues.
I think it is important to know that there are solutions to these problems, but we must be comfortable in whatever solution we would like to take. A little knowledge will also help us ask the right questions when we visit the dermatologist. More importantly, do not self-medicate. Go visit a dermatologist!
I also want to share an interview that Eman Pineda of Adora did with Francis Kurkdjian. For those like me who are not familiar with the brand, this would be a good initiation. And then, of course, a visit to Adora to experience the scents on your own.
Why did you start your own fragrance house—Maison Francis Kurkdjian?
The creation of my own brand was a natural process, like something I had to do, create and then share with the public. The world of Maison Francis Kurkdjian expresses what I believe in terms of luxury and fragrances. My house is a tribute to Paris and each scent is part of a fragrance wardrobe to accompany each of us, every day, every night. Maison Francis Kurkdjian is the house of a perfumer and nests on the true art of perfume-making.
What does your house stand for? What are its core values?
A luxury brand exists only if the products are luxury. So, each product is carefully crafted. I push the limit so each product, each detail, tends to perfection. That’s the only way to create a luxury product. The heart of my inspiration is Paris. Each fragrance is part of a fragrance wardrobe that I built year after year. My travels take me away, but they also serve to bring me back to my Paris and its heterogeneous population, to its light and the shade of its monuments, the gray of its rooftops and the bursts of magic as its golden spires puncture here and there its incredible skyline. Paris inspires my house: gray zinc and gold. The inspiration for the flacon is an example in crystal that I found while antiquing, one originally designed to be part of a traveling toiletries case. I was taken with the idea of a flacon that traveled and returned fitting exactly into its holder.
My model is a unique object, obviously created for a particular person. It led me to design a flacon sectioned in square crystal facets, each in rapport with the next and shaped from the base to the neck. I asked the glassmakers to create angles as alive as possible without appearing too aggressive. To underline this artesian work, I added a small signature—the monogram of the house—at the back of the flacon, much in the manner of artists signing works with pride. A tube extends from the atomizer pump but seems to disappear after the first spray, leaving the perfume languid in its container.
We wanted a stopper made of a material emblematic of Paris. We chose gold and an alloy of zinc. Zinc is alive and interesting in that it refuses uniformity. Thus, no two stoppers are identical; each has its own unique variation dependent on the density of the gray color. We made the same choice for the bases of the candles. The alloy is only treated to prevent oxidation.
You started your Maison with the Aqua Universalis collection. What is it all about? What is so different and what makes it so special from any fragrance out there?
With this franchise/fragrance, I have redefined freshness and elegance in a totally new way. Aqua Universalis is the translation of feeling fresh, not smelling fresh. It’s much more interesting that you can stay elegant and sexy, without being like a soap bar!
That said, I would like to share the idea and creation behind Aqua Universalis forte. Once a year, I review with each one of my suppliers the quality of natural ingredients I use. It is necessary to stay at the very top of the quality, aware of new technologies and keep the momentum on new fragrance materials as well. I met my supplier of citrus ingredients who presented me with a new quality of bergamot essential oil in 2010. The product intrigued me as it was very fresh, unusually sparkling and was more long-lasting than the quality I used on a regular basis. This new product was not better. It was different and interesting enough so it kept my attention.
It was really a new grade of bergamot with facets I have never smelled or experienced before. Back in Paris, I wanted to experiment with this new product. In such cases, I take an existing formula, try the raw material I want to evaluate and compare it against the original formula. It allows me to smell the differences and evaluate if the product is worth including in my perfume palette in the laboratory. In this case, I immediately felt I had something really good. I started to change a few things within the formula to smoothen the vibration of the bergamot by adding touches of pure rose and jasmine oil. Finally, I increased the level of the fragrance oil to be as much as concentrated than a pure perfume.
I wanted a liquor of water in a certain way. I presented my work to my team in Paris and gave it first to one of my acquaintances as a gift. She had many comments while wearing it, and then I thought it would be great if we could share the product with our clients and friends as an EDP version. For the first year, we were able to produce 2,000 flacons only due to the limited amount of bergamot oil we could get. We have secured for the coming years the availability of the product in order to have a larger roll-out. I guess the consumer may experiment with even more strength, and a bigger trail of the floral side. It is also a way to wear a fresh scent in the evening even if convention tells you to wear something darker or sweeter. With Aqua Universalis forte, you have the assurance of an elegant and daring fresh scent, yet very sexy.
The final olfactory composition has the same “sunny,” bright and clean emotions, but adds the memory, sparkle and intensity to the citrus charm and white flowers of the “classical” Aqua Universalis.