The cofounder explains why the brand is still coming up roses 20 years later.
While most of us like to put a bouquet of roses in a glass vase, Lena Korres—the cofounder of her eponymous brand—prefers to see the flower through a microscope. She’s analyzed the mighty skin-improving benefits behind the bloom for two decades, and is continuing to expand on its famous Wild Rose collection that originally lured us in. To celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary, the line has expanded with a new Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil. The Sephora Glossy talked with Korres about the sweet, sweet benefits of roses and how the brand got its start. JESSICA VELEZ
How did you get your start in skincare?
“After completing my studies in business and chemical engineering, I moved on to work at Korres, which was born out of Athens’s first-ever homeopathic pharmacy. I was actually its first employee and was drawn by George Korres’s early vision. As the pharmacist—and owner of the Korres pharmacy—he mixed natural ingredients to create herbal preparations, remedies, and eventually cosmetic products. The passion and respect for natural ingredients as well as the deep knowledge of their properties was inspiring and fascinating. I wanted to be part of it literally from day one.”
We know that wild rose was the first Korres ingredient. What are some of its benefits?
“Wild rose, a Korres trademark ingredient and a synonym of the Greek skincare brand’s history, is the main active of the first-ever Korres cosmetic product. Wild rose fruit is noted for its high vitamin C level that demonstrates significant repairing action on pigmentation disorders and fine lines. Furthermore, wild rose oil, rich in linoleic and linolenic acid, offers significant moisturizing, healing, and softening properties. At the same time, it forms a protective film on the skin that helps with cell regeneration.
Can you tell us what you love about your Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil?
“The story behind it. This year, Korres is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the launch of the Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil, infused with real rose petals. We have reinvented our first apothecary beauty product, the wild rose oil, to honor the original precious extract. Its formula is boosted with super C to increase skin’s absorption of vitamin C by up to 1,000 percent. The result is an even skintone and smooth, younger-looking skin.”
How does it stand out or complement the other products in your Wild Rose collection?
“The Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil is the latest addition to the Wild Rose line, with the highest concentration of vitamin C. Its unique brightening system is boosted with the wild rose oil, which is particularly high in vitamin C content—nine times higher than that of an orange juice—to deliver significant repairing action on fine lines and pigmentation disorders while improving the overall texture of the epidermis.”
Sixteen ways to protect yourself. One great cause.
Take a look at four people sitting or standing near you right now. One of them—or you—will develop skin cancer. An even more sobering fact: Despite being one of the easiest kinds to prevent, it is more prominent than all other forms of cancer combined. “That’s why education is so critical,” says Dr. Perry Robins, president and founder of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “As a behavioral disease, it’s highly preventable.”
In 2006, Sephora and the Foundation formed a partnership to help turn the tide on skin cancer. The result: the Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit. “The idea was simple,” says Robins. “Put some of Sephora’s bestselling sun protection products together to promote the importance of sun safety with proceeds going to the Foundation.”
To date, the kit has raised more than $3.7 million to fight skin cancer. Along with supporting a variety of Foundation initiatives—including SkinCancer.org, the #1 online resource for skin cancer information; a youth education program; and a PSA campaign—it has also funded free skin-cancer screenings, “which directly save lives,” emphasizes Robins.
Now in its ninth year, it is one of Sephora’s most popular kits, and it’s easy to see why. The current incarnation comprises 16 different ways to protect your eyes, lips, face, hair, and body with leading advances in water resistance; complexion perfecting; and multitaskers that double as moisturizer, antiager, primer, and foundation. “This year’s assortment is our most innovative yet,” confirms Gaby Giron, Sephora Assistant Skincare Merchant.
Brands that donated top suncare products include Clarins, Shiseido, Josie Maran, Algenist, Origins, Ole Henriksen, Murad, Dr. Dennis Gross, AmorePacific, Peter Thomas Roth, Dr. Jart+, Supergoop!, Vita Liberata, Korres, CLINIQUE, and St. Tropez. “We always advise people that the best sunscreen is the one you’re most likely to use,” says Robins. “Sephora [with the Sun Safety Kit] affords its customers the opportunity to find the right one for them.”
The Sun Safey Kit is now in stores in limited quantities. It is expected to sell out.
“Think about this,” asks Lena Korres. “If you heard a knock at your front door and saw a stranger standing there, would you let him in? No!” This is how the cofounder and brand development director describes Korres’s commitment to use natural—not foreign, synthetic—ingredients. Today for The Sephora Glossy, Korres shares the natural secret to her latest collection of antiaging skincare products: black pine. BECKY PEDERSON
Of all the Greek flora and fauna with health benefits, why did you decide to launch a line dedicated to black pine? Lena Korres: As part of their research of plant life, our Korres Plant Hunters discovered that resilient black pine trees have thrived in the Mediterranean for over 3.5 million years, surviving the harshest weather conditions from deserts to mountains while continually improving their defense systems against environmental stressors. Inspired by this natural phenomenon, I conducted primary research on the black pine genus with my team at The Korres Research Lab.
And what did you find? LK: Black pine polyphenols [when applied directly to your skin] protect and strengthen the connective tissue, while working towards boosting its resilience and firming. Our research also proved that they have strong anti-inflammatory properties combined with exceptional firming action, and they protect against free radicals and collagen degradation.
Don’t beauty companies typically develop their active antiaging ingredients in labs? LK: In the last decade, synthetic peptides have been hailed as the next big step in antiaging. However, our biotechnology-derived Hexapeptide-11, the first natural polypeptide, is clinically proven to provide advanced firming action.
Why is using a natural peptide better than using a synthetic one? LK: If you saw your very best friend, someone you know and trust, at your door, you would welcome them in. This is how we feel skin responds to natural versus synthetic ingredients! At Korres, we believe that natural ingredients are not only as effective as man-made ones, but they can be gentler, making skin more receptive and responsive to treatment.
Good analogy! On a final note, I’d like to say that in addition to being natural and healthy, everything in this line smells AMAZING.
HOUSE OF SUNSCREEN: THE BEST SUNCARE FOR YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
Pick the perfect protection.
Think sunscreen is one-size-fits-all? Think again. The choices abound in a cornucopia of formats, formulas, and feel-good benefits. So, how do you choose? “It all depends on your lifestyle,” says Gaby Giron, Sephora Assistant Skincare Merchant. “Some people are active; some are in the city; some are baking in the sun all day. We’re all so different. But, luckily, there’s a sunscreen for everyone.” Below, the best sun protection for the demands of your day (and oh-so-subtle personal preference). MELISSA LANE
ACTIVE, STAY-PUT PROTECTION
Stand up to sun, sweat, and surf with these sporty sunscreens.