In partnership with Clarins
The phrase "good things come in pairs" is one that we've all heard before. Duos provide an opportunity of harmony and balance; of equilibrium and diversity. For photographer and director Yasmin Suteja and actor, director, model and DJ, Olivia Suleimon, these notions resonate with both their working relationship and a friendship they've fostered over the course of many years.
"Yas photographed me in London for a portrait series," Suleimon tells us of their first meeting. "I assisted her on couple of shoots while she was in town. These shoots often spilled into long balmy summer afternoons in London Fields Park, which in turn lead to a solid foundation for our friendship." From there, a fruitful friendship and working relationship blossomed, taking them on a professional journey that led them both back to working together in Sydney. There is a symbiosis and effortless feeling to their friendship and the way they interact with each other, which was exactly why they are the faces of these images with Clarins, lensed by Kitty Callaghan, celebrating the brand's Double Serum and new Double Serum Light Texture.
The age-defying concentrate has been a staple in Clarins' iconic skincare offering for over 35 years, and now, upon paying close attention to what's missing in the skincare routines of so many, the brand has introduced the Double Serum Light Texture. It's a new, quickly absorbed texture which leaves no oily residue, using the same scientific innovation as the Double Serum's double formula, composed of the same 21 plant extracts with the same tried and tested anti-ageing benefits, now in a lightweight formula to suit all skin types.
The formula of the Double Serum, and now Double Serum Light Texture, is special because it mimics the composition of the skin's natural hydrolipidic film, by combining oil and water together in a "golden ratio". This makes it possible to combine the most powerful age-control ingredients, which are incompatible in a single bottle. The two serums are much of the same in this way, complimenting each other to be versatile through the seasons, giving the wearer the option to switch or combine serums depending on their needs through the seasons and environmental conditions.
Naturally, every good relationship thrives off of trust, which is another important factor in Clarins' story. By developing their T.R.U.S.T platform over the past year, Clarins offers the first traceability program that is 100% safe and reliable, guaranteed by the blockchain system.
Through the T.R.U.S.T program, customers are able to gain access to all steps in the manufacturing process. This includes where the formulas were prepared, plus the date and place of packaging and quality control; the plant-based ingredients the product contains, including geographical origin, harvesting method, and Clarins certifications associated with how they are sourced; plus behind the scenes and Clarins' “savoir-faire” via visuals and testimonies from the brand's factory in France, where formulas are created and products are manufactured.
"The skin is our biggest organ and we can’t separate what goes on our skin from affecting the rest of our body and how it functions," Suteja says on the notion of trusting our skincare products. "It’s extremely important for us as consumers to be asking questions about where the products we buy come from, who is making them and under what conditions."
Below, Suteja and Suleimon talk us through their workday beauty essentials, the ways they complement each other in both personal and work environments, and their favourite parts about the Clarins Double Serum Light Texture.
Tell us about your current skincare routines...
YS: I was experimenting with a lot of different products and my skin was breaking out. So I went to a facialist who recommended I stop using all these different products and just keep things simple and consistent, in order to repair my skin barrier.
The biggest change in my routine has taken the form of introducing a ritual around applying skincare. I do a lymphatic drainage massage every morning and night at the cleansing phase of my skincare routine. I learned this technique from TikTok and it’s helped reduce puffiness as well as the severity of my seasonal allergies and hay fever by working to release pressure on my sinuses. I’ve definitely noticed my skin is a lot more vibrant through incorporating the lymphatic drainage massage and Gua Sha into my skincare routine morning and night.
OS: My current skin care routine involves a quality cleanser, then the Clarins Double Serum Light Texture, followed by a daily oil, every second day I apply a serum usually with Vitamin C, and after this step I religiously apply SPF50+ face sunscreen.
What are your essentials when you are getting ready for the day?
YS: Apple Cider Vinegar Diluted in warm water with a dash of Manuka honey as my first drink of the day, Gua Sha, and sunscreen.
OS: My essentials when getting ready for the day would always be a hydrating serum first thing out the shower, followed by a quality lip balm that also doubles as a gloss. I also like to lotion my whole body, throw on something comfy depending on the weather and then I’m good to go.
What do you pack in your bag to take you through the day?
YS: Nivea Lip Balm in the shade ‘Bordeaux’ that I picked up at Don Quixote on my recent trip to Tokyo. My tiny Pentax Q7 digital camera and an Apple Lightning to SD card reader so I can access the photos immediately. My Bailey Nelson prescription glasses (incase I’m not wearing my contacts). Hand sanitiser.
OS: My lip balm is always in every bag I pack and I also love some grape Eclipse mints to keep me feeling fresh.
Tell us about your favourite part about the Clarins Double Serum Light?
YS: I love that one of the key ingredients is the age-old natural antioxidant – turmeric. I also love the lightweight formula that is excellent for combination skin. My skin is generally dry aside from my T-Zone.
OS: My favourite part about the Clarins Double Serum Light, is in the name. I love lightweight anything, something that I know my skin can absorb quickly and isn’t going to sit too thick on my face and disturb the other parts of my skin routine.
Yas, what are your beauty essentials for a full day of shooting?
I always carry Fisherman's Friend mints because there’s nothing worse than coffee breath! A water bottle so I can remember to stay hydrated. And lip balm.
Olivia, your job spans so many different categories, does your skin need different things from you depending on what your weeks look like?
Yes, my skin does need different things depending on what my week looks like. If I’m DJ-ing a lot, I’ll apply a heavier night cream or serum on days that I can feel my skin is going to need it and is particularly dry. A couple times a week I also exfoliate my face, and like to see this as a metaphorical scrubbing of the previous week/day. On weeks I’m shooting, I make sure I Gua Sha which I keep in the freezer and I’m also trying my hardest to up my water intake, and have become friends with Hydralite to curb dehydration as it makes a dramatic difference to your skin and overall feeling of well being. On days I’m at home, I like to use my products that are slightly stronger, and give my face an opportunity to properly absorb the product uninterrupted by makeup.
Do you both have a philosophy for good skin?
YS: I approach skin in a very holistic way. I struggled with cystic acne in my early 20s and went down the alternative path to heal. What I discovered was that my gut needed healing first. I see a naturopath who keeps me on track with this, and I’ve come to learn that my skin breaking out is often my body trying to tell me something.
But I've also had to learn to be kind and patient with my skin. Working in our industry can be tough on your self esteem. And I know for me, after having experienced acne, I can get really upset when I start to break out. But I've had to learn that it’s also a natural and important part of our skin cycle and our body releasing toxins. Good skin comes down to supporting and nurturing your body and being kind to yourself even when you’re dealing with breakouts and texture, and accepting that as a part of the cycle.
OS: Good skin starts from within, you can buy all the skincare you like but you have to accept and love yourself (as cliche as it sounds) before anything’s going to work.
As I enter my 30s, I’ve noticed little things about my skin changing that I’ve never noticed before. This sent me on my skincare journey, and while I’ve found products I love, that I do see make a difference, they’re only going to be able to do so much before I accept myself and start to love my skin for what it is and the changes it will inevitably go through.
The Clarins Double Serum classic and Double Serum Light are seen as a power duo. Can you both talk a bit about the ways you complement each other in both personal and work environments lending to this idea of power duos?
YS: I’m a Sagittarius and Liv is a Scorpio. We both love art, music and philosophy, and are both deeply curious about the world and our place within it. We both possess a strong desire to learn, experience, and grow. I think at the core we also share a certain openness to spirituality that we express and explore in different ways. We are committed to pushing beyond surface level. And that’s what I value most about our friendship. I’m really inspired by Liv’s optimism and sense of self. She taught me that to believe in yourself completely, is one of the most powerful and rewarding gifts you can give to the world.
OS: Yas and I’s relationship is a unique hybrid of seamless work and personal, which I have never experienced in any other friendship. I was initially drawn to Yas as I found her incredibly inspiring and admired her. She photographed me in London for a portrait series. I’ve always been interested in documentary and the fact that she was going into all these different people’s living spaces and learning about them personally was very attractive to me and mirrored in some way what I would also like to do, so I assisted her on couple of shoots while she was in town. These shoots often spilled into long balmy summer afternoons in London Fields Park, which in turn lead to a solid foundation for our friendship.
I continued to work in documentary in London and LA, and when March 2020 came along I found myself back in Sydney and the first place I went was Culture Machine Studios. After being out of Aus for a while and reflecting on the creative people I met around the world, it was clear that Yasmin really had her finger on the pulse of so much in regards to talent, photography, direction and overall industry knowledge. I came back to Aus determined to use my experience in documentary, I rented upstairs at Culture Machine and applied for grants. Upon winning one it was a no brainer that if willing, Yasmin must also be a part of my project, Rosaline’s Untaming. Co-directing with her in this intense capacity was an incredible experience. She fully understood my creative concepts and actualised them through her creative talent. I also believe she was able to do so, so well, as she really knew me and understood who I am on a personal level, as well as in a creative capacity.
From a friendship perspective, what about each other compliments your own personalities? What is your favourite memory of working together as a duo?
OS: My favourite memory of working with Yas, is when we first met and she was photographing Sarah Ellen and Inka Williams for a content shoot. I came along to assist with video and lighting. We were on Brighton Beach and I have this image of 5 ft 4 Yas dragging this big pelican case across the pebble beach, and it really demonstrated to me the strength and determination of her creative spirit. The photos were shot on film using this incredible large vintage camera of hers from Japan, and they turned out amazing.
The day was also filled with lots of giggles, and feminine energy, long convos after the shoot and just hanging out, which I think is Yas’ gift. Working with her often feels like we’re literally just hanging out but end up with this amazing quality creative visual that she’s whipped up so seamlessly.
YS: Three years later, Liv returned to Sydney just before the lockdown and we reconnected at my studio. Liv went on to win an ABC grant and asked me to come on board to co-direct her project, Rosaline’s Untaming. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity and the experience we had working together.
We work well together because we are both intensely curious about people and stories. I think we are also both very imaginative people who see our lives as movies and screenplays. So we share a very playful, childlike optimism in our life views. We also love to laugh! I think it’s this humour and playfulness that allows us to float through friendship and collaboration with harmony.
Can you both talk about the importance of understanding where your beauty products come from, and why working towards a future where supply chains are more transparent is important for you as consumers?
YS: I grew up in Bali and was lucky to have access to a lot of very ancient remedies when it comes to skincare and overall health. I remember one of my mum’s friends telling me that “if you can’t find it in the kitchen, it shouldn't go on your skin”. So when it comes to ingredients, I do think it’s important to know what you’re putting on your face. The skin is our biggest organ and we can’t separate what goes on our skin from affecting the rest of our body and how it functions.
Growing up in Bali also made me aware of supply chain. Places like Bali are the hub for a lot of outsourced manufacturing, and it’s extremely important for us as consumers to be asking questions about where the products we buy come from, and who is making them and under what conditions.
OS: It’s important to know where our beauty products come from because whether or not we like it, they come from somewhere, and transparency is key. Setting this precedent encourages other brands to so as well, which in turn cleans up the beauty industry and provides consumers with a clear understanding of exactly what they are putting on their face and where it comes from. It minimises the use of harmful chemicals, which no one wants to put on their face and is a great step towards sustainability and safer practices towards the environment.