IMO, Clarins’ Double Serum ranks up there with Chanel No. 5, MAC Ruby Woo, Maybelline Great Lash, and other hall of fame beauty products. The luxury beauty house of Clarins was founded in 1954 by Jacques Courtin-Clarins (the Courtin family still independently owns the brand today), but it wasn’t until 1996 that Clarins unveiled the Double Serum, which, until then, had been sold as two separate bottles for the consumer to mix at home. Double Serum would eventually become one of the most popular products in the Clarins œuvre, with the name being a nod to the bottle’s innovative dual-chamber design: One half of the bottle housed the water-soluble formula, the other, an oil-based concentrate. At the press of a pump, the two dispensed equally, allowing for maximum potency and efficacy.
I’ll never forget my first bottle of Double Serum. I was studying abroad in Paris at the time, and found a bottle during one of my many trips to the pharmacie. It was a splurge (and one I’ll admit I could barely afford), but I thought, When in France, right? Sadly for my wallet, I was hooked from the first pump. The texture was decadent yet sank readily into my skin, and the light floral scent felt like a treat with every use. (My skin isn’t disturbed by fragrance, FYI.) I went through the bottle within months, and even though I eventually got a job in beauty that gives me the opportunity to constantly test new products, I always had a special fondness for my favorite Clarins serum. (Did I have any business using a pricey anti-aging serum while I was barely 20? Pfft, non — mais, ma peau loved it nevertheless.)
In 2023, Double Serum’s family expanded to include the Double Serum Light Texture, which is designed for oilier, more acneic skin. It was kismet — throughout my twenties, I’d dealt with on-again, off-again breakouts, and my face was perennially shiny, no matter how much powder I used to set my makeup. Double Serum Light aimed to offer all the skin-loving benefits (brighter, beautifully hydrated skin) of the original formula, but in a lighter texture for folks like me. I, of course, clamored to try it.
To my delight, the light version of Double Serum is more like its predecessor than not; that familiar scent is virtually identical, yet the oil-to-water ratio (aka that “double” factor) was ever so slightly altered to be less slick in texture. While it was still super hydrating, it definitely absorbed quicker into my skin and was perfect for layering under my day moisturizer and SPF. At $134 for the 1.6 fluid-ounce bottle (it's priced the same as the original Double Serum), it's definitely a luxurious product with a luxurious price tag to match. (My advice? Start dropping hints now so your loved ones know exactly what to gift for the upcoming holidays.) And while no magic product will dramatically transform your skin — or turn back the clock, for that matter — Clarins' Double Serum is a tried-and-true favorite of mine for keeping my complexion looking and feeling its best. The nostalgia factor? Simply a bonus.
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