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Jeans Enter the Beauty Domain

After washes, sustainables and organics, cosmetics could be denim's next frontier.

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BERLIN — Jeans have long been the popular way to help women look cool, fit and sexy with styles, silhouettes and construction details that lift, push up and shape the wearer. Now in their latest episode of reinvention, denim brands are taking on cosmetic qualities designed to add skin care and combat wrinkling, sagging and even weight gain.

This story first appeared in the November 1, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Chilean brand Mohicano Jeans launched a jeans cosmetics concept with aloe vera, while its new Denim Therapy collection features jeans with anticellulite properties. As brand manager Ricardo Cuevas explained, “The Denim Therapy collection was created with the latest technology, incorporating nanoparticles of aloe vera in the cotton fibers. When these particles come in contact with the skin, they provide several vitamins, such as vitamin E, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants, reducing the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks. These stimulate cell growth, collagen and elastin.”

The latter, as the name suggests, helps cells that have been stretched to snap back to their original shape, not unlike the way stretch fibers have been enhanced to improve their recovery.

Cuevas claimed that after “wearing the jeans for at least six hours per day for 15 days, this special denim will have increased the skin’s hydration by about 11.5 percent. It’s a hypoallergenic fabric — ideal for sensitive skin — and prevents odors and the formation of mites.” Results were verified by a study conducted by Brazilian firm Kosmoscience that tested the jeans on women with dry skin. Kosmoscience is the same firm that certifies the skin-care claims for cosmetics firms such as Unilever, Revlon and Natura.

In order for the jeans to last longer, Mohicano recommended washing inside-out at 86 degrees with a neutral detergent and hang-drying them without wringing them first.

The downside is that the effects of these aloe vera nanoparticles are active for up to 40 washes, after which the jeans lose the cosmetic properties and become essentially just a regular pair of jeans. They are set to retail for about $85.

Similar benefits are found in Wrangler’s new Denim Spa Therapy for Legs collection, which has anticellulite, moisturizers and other natural elements infused into the denim. “This is a revolutionary product that will change women’s jeans forever,” declared Adam Kakembo, vice president of product. “They look great and feel great, but the real difference is that these soft jeans moisturize your skin as you wear them.”

The jeans’ therapeutic finishes have aloe vera or olive extracts to soothe the skin. The company claims that the collection’s jeans contain circulation-boosting and cellulite-reducing elements, and also feature moisturizers and a delicate jasmine fragrance.

Kakembo said the jeans were tested in a trial involving 160 women. “Two-thirds said their thighs were more attractive after four weeks with everyday wear,” he reported.

 

He further noted that the initial loading of cosmetic ingredients would provide benefits for 15 days of wear or four to six washes. The olive extract and aloe vera treatment is expected to last six to eight washes. After that, they need to be sprayed to reload the effects. They retail for 99.95 euros, or about $130.50 at current exchange.

Amsterdam-based Gsus Sindustries launched its “made by instinct” program with aloe vera denim for women.

The denim is dipped in an extract of the aloe vera plant and the result is a special finish on the inside of the jeans. The aloe vera bonds to the fibers of the denim, allowing it to moisturize the skin each time it is worn. There is no particularly different smell to the jeans, but what is noticeable is that they get softer as they are worn.

“Originating from Sudan, this plant has been used thousands of years for its healthy effects, protecting the skin against early aging and UV light,” brand creative director Jan Schrijver explained. “The aloe vera in our jeans help to protect the skin from premature aging by reducing the effects that noxious pollutants and UV exert upon us. It’s all about looking good while feeling great in your jeans.”

To test the longevity of the jeans, Gsus’ laundry intensively washed them 30 times and still detected the presence of aloe vera. One drawback is that Gsus does not yet have a way to keep the aloe vera in the jeans. They are working on and testing a spray can filled with aloe vera liquid to replenish the effects.

The aloe vera jeans are manufactured in Tunisia and retail for 89.95 euros, or about $117.47 at current exchange.

Italian brand LeRock has taken its cosmetic concept one step further with jeans it claims reduce the size of hips and thighs 0.7 inches every time you wear them. Eve LeRock, created by Luca Berti, professes to dissolve fat and fight cellulite and it backs the claim with tests carried out on 20 women by the University of Pavia.

“These jeans are able to fight the dimples that appear in women’s legs due to heredity or weight gain. Our Eve jeans are loaded with complex cosmetics that dissolve fat accumulation, promote drainage and prevent excess water retention,” Berti commented.

The cosmetic jeans are a collaboration with Florence Bombard, a French cosmetologist specializing in skin care. The fabric of the jeans is equipped with microcapsules that release when they come in contact with the skin and due to the natural massage obtained by walking.

“The fibers of the jeans are infused with a patented drug that includes three components: caffeine, escin and vitamin E,” Berti explained. “Caffeine is responsible for dissolving fat storage; escin (also known as horse chestnut) is used to promote microcirculation and protects the skin, and finally, vitamin E is an antioxidant element.

“Combining these elements in the fabric manages to dramatically reduce fat mass by just wearing the jeans because these active ingredients continue to work as we carry on our daily life of either sitting in the office or walking down the street,” he continued. 

These effects have a duration of 28 days, allowing for four washes in 86-degree water. After this period, the fibers in the jeans have to be recharged with the fluid provided in a 50-ml. bottle.

Each pair of jeans comes with one free cosmetic kit and additional cosmetic supplies costs 25 euros, or about $32. Eve LeRock dark denim retails for 180 euros, or about $235, and the lighter wash is 210 euros, or about $275.

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