N°1 DE CHANEL: Chen Yixin, Kimberly Wang, Charlotte Mei, And Alison Carroll On Why They Love This Conscious Beauty Line

The debut of the N°1 DE CHANEL beauty line, just two years ago, marked a significant new chapter in the house — one that signals how serious they are when it comes to modern skincare. The holy grail of youthful, glowing skin remains the same, yes, though CHANEL approaches this, not just backed by years of scientific discovery and research, but with an intentional eye on meaning.

After all, we’re talking about the camellia, Mademoiselle Chanel’s emblematic flower, and now a key ingredient across an extensive line consisting of a serum, moisturiser, eye cream, mask, lotion, lip and cheek balm, and a whole lot more. Beyond that, the N°1 DE CHANEL speaks of conscious beauty as well, an eco-responsible mission that starts from the literal seed of the camellia all the way to the vibrant red bottle we’re holding in our hands, one that’s realised right from the conceptualisation of the range, we’re told.

A chat with duo Nicola Fuzzati, Director of Innovation and Development for Cosmetic Ingredients, and Armelle Sourand, International Scientific Communications Director, all but confirms the dedication CHANEL has put into the N°1 line. “We really wanted to imagine this new beauty line with a holistic approach to beauty that really resonates with what women want,” said Sourand, explaining how the beauty range includes not just skincare, but also makeup and a fragrance.

The Camellia — And CHANEL’s Holistic Approach To Beauty 

The first thing you must know about N°1 DE CHANEL is that it centres around the camellia, a flower so entwined with the line that it’s not just the key ingredient across the range, but also carefully cultivated at CHANEL’s own open-sky laboratory in Gaujacq, France.

The lush space sees over 2,000 camellia varieties collected worldwide, established in collaboration with reigning camellia expert Jean Thoby, though, for this range, the house focuses on a particularly unique variety of Camellia japonica called ‘The Czar’, from which CHANEL derives its skin-revitalising red camellia flower extract.

“Red Camellia, in particular, is different from the others. We already knew it was a strong antioxidant, but through development and testing, we found out that it was so active on senescence,” shares Fuzzati, on how the line is shown to protect skin vitality by addressing the first stages of skin ageing.

The whole process, from in-depth research and cultivation to seeing the final product on our shelves, recalls what we’d call a “farm to table” approach to skincare, where we’re assured top-notch quality from the experts, every step of the way — which is where we find the word ‘holistic’ rings true across the line.

Fuzzati tells us how N°1 DE CHANEL uses the camellia plant in as many ways as possible, up to 76% camellia-derived ingredients in fact, including an extract, oil, ceramides, yeast extract, and water, thus embracing as much as what nature has to offer as possible; this zero-waste approach fits right into the aforementioned sustainability mindset too.

“What’s impressive is that in this line we have more than 10 ingredients coming from the camellia, so for us it’s an incredible playground,” he said on the extent and potential of the camellia. “When we speak about a holistic approach, the camellia is able to give us that because we can use every part of the plant. And the fact that we have access to all the species and varieties of camellia — we could be working for three lifetimes!”

Another aspect has to be that CHANEL has start-to-end control of its science and execution, something that Fuzzati was glad about, as he talked about being involved in new discoveries on skin ageing and the camellia plant, and then how CHANEL has the means to go on and ensure the highest quality of ingredients along the way, which then benefits the line’s desire for sustainability too.

“The fact that we control the cultivation is really very important, so we can have, always, the best required quality,” he said, “We are very committed to sustainability too. In the Open Sky Labs, we don’t use pesticide or fertilisers. We experiment with new ways of cultivating the plants, both what is necessary for the planet and the quality of our product, so the complete control of our supply chain is really a must.”

This process is possible due to the house working with valuable partners and being connected to the local community, “to seek excellence where it is, and to enrich all the expertise of Nicola and his team too”, continued Sourand.


Sustainability And Sensoriality

Indeed, the N°1 DE CHANEL goes the extra mile for eco-responsible beauty, both at the stages of cultivation, and in terms of product design as well. Their first-ever refillable packaging comes in the form of the Revitalizing Cream, where the moisturiser can be easily switched out with a refill pack, while its lid is made with 90% bio-based materials.

Other products in the range do away with paper leaflets and see their potent formulas housed in lighter, recyclable glass, “80% of the line”, said Sourand, while also sharing how they’re currently working with a Finland start-up to explore a unique material made with camellia shells.

“A kind of conscious beauty that could be extremely beautiful,” she described of CHANEL’s goal for the series. “Elegant, very sensorial, and also very efficient.”

It’s worth noting that, like all things CHANEL, the house pays careful attention to all this — and on top of that, how we experience the product. Its texture against our skin, its efficacy and visible results, even the way the dropper of the Revitalizing Serum is perfectly calibrated to dispense just the right amount of product for maximum efficiency, all these are top-notch considerations that are equal parts challenging yet satisfying when achieved.

“It was the formula, in the selection of the active ingredients, but also working with camellia derivatives,” said Sourand on some of the most challenging aspects of the beauty line. “It was the first time that we had to combine some of them, and they have to be efficient and sensorial. That’s why we’re a ‘no compromise’ house. We know that even if it’s extremely efficient, without our sensorial signature, it will just have to take more time.”

The result of this strife for excellence? A well-intentioned beauty line that successfully harnesses the revitalising power of the camellia, one that offers us a gorgeous, healthy complexion that’s as beautiful as the thought that goes into it.

Ahead, we hear from beauty girls Chen Yixin, Kimberly Wang, Charlotte Mei, and Alison Carroll on why the N°1 DE CHANEL has made such an impact in their respective skincare journeys.

Chen Yixin, Actress

Why She Loves N°1 DE CHANEL

“I love clean beauty. If you look at most of my content, I don’t really like to pull off makeup — and that’s why I like the Lip and Cheek Balm! It’s my go-to because I’ll go to the gym, and after that I’ll go for my meetings, and I’ll just pop on that colour for my cheeks and lips and I’m done for the day. It’s so cute! It looks healthy and natural. Even the bright camellia red one, it kinda slays.”

Her skincare journey

“Growing up, I’ve always been very, very insecure about my skin, that I had acne-prone skin and have a more tan skin tone. It was only recently, as I dived more into this industry, that I got introduced to more products, and I’m very grateful that I’ve gotten to try the N°1 DE CHANEL. I fell in love with the serum! I started off with it first, and then got introduced to the toner, the moisturiser and all. I’m quite a lazy person, so I used to just put on one product and was done. For this, I didn’t start with the entire skincare routine, but saw the difference just from using the serum alone, and that’s what convinced me to go through with an entire routine.”

Her fave

“The Revitalizing Serum. Its effectiveness has been the most obvious because my skin has been so good, so obviously I can’t live without it now!”

Her beauty philosophy

“Self-care is so, so important in my line of work. Beauty shines from within, and if you’re healthy and keep a routine to care for yourself, it definitely shows. I’m guilty of splurging on products that are effective even though they’re on the higher price point; it’s worth it to me! As public figures, we should also make responsible choices on the products we endorse and believe in, and after multiple conversations I have had with CHANEL Beauty, I’m very, very glad that our principles and morals do align. It makes sense why they chose me to, kind of represent how the younger audience should also start taking care of our skin, especially with our lifestyles of sleeping late and all that. This serum really help me, and the lotion too, because they’re so lightweight.”

Kimberly Wang, Radio DJ

Why She Loves N°1 DE CHANEL

“The first thing I noticed, because it’s so close to your face, is that it smells nice, subtle and not too overpowering. It brings me into a state of calm, but there’s also an energy to it. My schedule is very volatile, like there’s never quite a fixed time except when I’m on air, so the whole idea of taking care of yourself, and slowing down, is very essential for me; it gives you the energy to do more, which I feel is quite parallel with what the N°1 DE CHANEL range brings to the table. It brings a sense of calm but also revitalises your skin at the same time. Similarly, the more I take care of myself, the more energetic I become.”

Her faves

“I have two specific highlights, other than the serum. I use the Lip and Cheek Balm as blush because it’s so convenient on-the-go, it’s not drying on the skin but really easy to wear. The other thing that’s fun is the Powder-To-Foam Cleanser — it’s great for travel because it’s so light, and you don’t have to lug liquid with you on the plane if you really want to wash your face.

I also like the moisturising and hydrating properties of the Serum-In-Mist! It’s very lightweight and very easily absorbed into your skin. Just very comfortable. And for those looking to try the range for the first time, it’s a really good entry point.”

Her skincare journey

“My skin is the product of hard work! When I was 14 years old, I had really bad acne — I was washing my face at least three to five times a day! Every time you wash your face, you’re stripping your skin, and if you don’t moisturise, your skin will to go into overproduction, which then clogs everything up… Within two months of proper care though, my skin cleared up and was better than it had ever been before. That was a pivotal moment for me. Right now, my skincare routine is very rooted in hydration. I also realised that it’s not so much how much products you’re using, but taking time with your skincare, applying it and letting it absorb and then applying it again to get the full benefits.”

another thing she’s fascinated about — the packaging

“This was another thing that amazed me before I even tried the product. It’s sustainable, but also, see there’s this catch that helps the refill stay in place in the moisturiser jar. The beauty in the design, I love it! When you finish it, there’s even a little flower at the bottom. I feel like when people take the time and effort to do little details like this, I trust the product because I see the effort behind it. Whether it’s the sustainability effort, the research behind the flowers that are specifically grown for this, there was a lot of processing before CHANEL even came up with the range. And as a consumer, I feel very taken care of.”

Charlotte Mei, Nutritionist

Her Go-Tos: N°1 DE CHANEL REVITALIZING SERUMN°1 DE CHANEL l’eau rouge revitalizing fragrance mist.
Why She Loves N°1 DE CHANEL

“It really fits what I need for my skin at this point. I just turned 30 not too long ago, and I mean, god knows how my skin will change, but if I can preserve its usefulness as much as possible, sign me up! I like to keep my daily routine as simple as possible, now it’s 4 steps, but not a day goes by that I don’t use my serum!

To be very honest though, most serums do the same thing. But for me, it’s a whole package — what does the N°1 DE CHANEL line stand for, what’s the science behind the Red Camellia? That really makes a difference and that’s why I really like it. It’s usually hard to see drastic changes, but I know a product is good for me when my skin doesn’t change, right? For me, the best thing I can say is as long as my skin is still like the way I like it, then it’s a good product for me. It has made friends with my skin. I’m quite selective with what I put on my skin and the brands that I work with as well because I don’t like to just keep changing things; the minute I find something, I stick to it.”

On nutrition and skincare

“Wellness comes in different forms and it comes through taking care of your body, your skin, so that definitely comes in through there. In my personal life, my skincare routine plays such a big role. It’s actually one of the things that I started doing since I was a very young age at like 11 or 12, I remember my mom bought me my first bottle of moisturiser and that’s something I’ve always kept in mind.

Also, I’m like a huge nerd, right? When it comes to food, I’m always reading the ingredients list and asking 10,000 questions about where it’s from. It’s the same with skincare, and I was very into reading all those websites that talk about clean beauty, what you should avoid and all. And then I realised, with clean eating and clean beauty, it’s not a fair thing to talk about because there are certain things that need chemicals and you just have to accept that and understand the technical role of certain ingredients. I use the word ‘natural’ very selectively too because I’m not saying that natural ingredients are better than synthetic ones as well. Now, I’m not so ingredient obsessed, but I prefer when there are lesser things in a product. Even my skincare routine: the simpler, the better.”

her fave

“The N°1 DE CHANEL fragrance is like a subtle mist, more like a cologne I guess, so I spray that at night. I’m doing the thing that I used to ask my dad about! It’s a part of my nighttime routine, I spray that and it’s like muscle memory right, so now my body knows, okay I’m gonna go to bed and unwind.”

on chanel’s approach to Sustainability

“I really appreciate the attention put into the ecological side of things, you know, like reusing all parts of the plant, from the product to the packaging. When it comes to these actions that the brand takes to reduce our carbon footprint, it takes years of research. I think as consumers, we’re always pointing fingers at brands saying, ‘Oh, they’re doing this, you’re not doing that’, but we don’t know what’s actually happening behind the scenes. So I really appreciate it when it’s done. It’s also taking one ingredient and like ‘squeezing’ as much out of it as possible, so you waste a minimum amount of it, which I really appreciate. I like how the moisturser is refillable too; I don’t have that guilt of throwing away an entire jar, you know, like I have a bag of empties that I keep at home because once in a while I drop them off for recycling. I try to keep that bag as light as possible.”

Alison Carroll, Co-Founder of BalletBody

Her Go-Tos: N°1 DE CHANEL revitalizing serum-in-mistN°1 DE CHANEL LIP AND CHEEK BALM.
Why She Loves N°1 DE CHANEL

“I really like the packaging. It’s very sustainably made, and I like how they got rid of the plastic, they’re refillable, that they’ve made it round so that it takes up less space during shipping so the carbon footprint is smaller. And the smell of everything!”

Her faves

“The Lip and Cheek Balm — it’s really nice! I like that it’s a tint and skincare. I like that everything is very minimal, just to enhance one’s beauty or to bring out a subtle lightness. Nothing very heavy, very clean. I feel like that’s very me, and I resonate with the brand a lot. The Serum-in-Mist  too, I carry it with me all the time and it’s really favourite! It’s so fine, and I use it on my neck too.”

on starting her own fitness studio

“Starting a business, this came after being in front of a mirror my entire life and being critical of myself. In ballet class, teachers would never say ‘good’, you’re always looking in the mirror and looking how to be perfect. But that’s the beauty of ballet, I find that you’re constantly fine-tuning everything. It has helped me to be disciplined as well, but I also felt like I was in a ‘ballet bubble’, just working on myself the whole time. Throwing myself into the opposite of that, which was to start a business, learn from scratch, manage a team of people, was very out of my comfort zone.”

Her skincare journey

“My eczema came back again in my early 30s when I started my studio, with the stress and all, and that was quite bad. I then changed my skincare products to cleaner, more natural stuff. The mist, it helped me so much, I started using it and it really calmed my skin. That’s why protecting my skin barrier is number one for me now too. After experiencing these flare-ups, obviously your barrier is compromised right, so always moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! It makes a big difference. It’s something I wish I did when I was training or when I was dancing.”

Her beauty philosophy

“One thing I’ve always done is to always wear sunscreen. I think that this is just something my mom has told me, like no matter what just put it on. Always remove your makeup before you sleep too, I’ve never gone to bed without cleansing my face, like no matter how tired I am, I always double cleanse as well.


The N°1 DE CHANEL series, available at CHANEL Fragrance and Beauty counters, and online at sg-eshop.chanel.com.