TiL or all the powers of the linden tree concentrated

TiL is a beauty and self-care brand, holistic because it was created from the holistic tree par excellence, the linden tree. It was he who guided the entire creation process. He, or rather they, the hundred or so linden trees, over a hundred years old, rooted for generations in our family estate in the Dordogne. They have withstood many storms and, even if some of them have been badly damaged, they have found within themselves (and among themselves, as they help each other) an incredible regenerative force to start again. With their astonishing powers on the skin, body and mind, they gave birth to TiL and its cosmetic, nutri-cosmetic and perfume ranges.

Lionel de Benetti, conseiller scientifique de TiL

Today we are inaugurating a series of articles focusing on the science behind the scenes, as TiL has the rare distinction of not only being a natural, local, clean, vegan and ultra-sensory brand. It is also a brand that required 3 years of R&D, under the guidance of the greatest experts, where everything we say has been scientifically proven. Because we wanted to enhance this incredible tree – used for centuries for its virtues to the point that Pliny the Elder already called it “the medicine tree”- with 21st century science, biotechnology and neuroscience.

Today, we interview Lionel de Benetti, a great man of the cosmetics industry, as he was the head of R&D at Clarins for 35 years. He has been with us from the beginning, developing our exclusive active ingredient and formulating our products.

What motivated you to bring your extensive expertise to TiL?

Because it was an opportunity for me to learn more about the properties of the linden tree, which is reputed to have many virtues. I had an excellent field for practical work, in exceptional conditions: excellent quality plantations in a magnificent environment and total mastery of the harvesting of the different parts of the linden tree, in order to begin scientific studies and to measure what we could expect from the linden tree for skin care.

How is TiL’s approach innovative?

Innovation is multifaceted:

  • Total mastery of an active principle from which the products will be derived.

Most of the time, when we develop a cosmetic product, we buy the active ingredients from specialized, quality suppliers, but we never master the entire gestation process, from the moment we pick the plant to the moment we integrate it into a product. What is interesting is that the plant comes from the family estate, it is picked under the responsibility of the owners of the estate, and then the treatments carried out to extract the essence of the plant, which is then found in the products, are under the total control of the entire TiL team.

  • Use of all parts: the whole linden tree

TiL’s difference is not so much that it uses linden, as it has already existed as a secondary active ingredient in some brands. It is to have studied it scientifically in depth, in all its parts, to make it the major support of the activity of the products, by creating an Active Complex, which is almost the whole linden tree.

What are the molecules of interest in linden?

Like most plants, there are several hundred molecules.

Some are specific, such as tiliroside, a flavonoid. It was found for the first time in linden trees and is the most concentrated. Tiliroside is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which are essential properties.

There are many other interesting molecules, and this is also one of the specificities of TiL, by having these linden trees on hand without any constraints, we were able to carry out scientific studies on the flowers, leaves, buds and branches.

Each part has its own specificity and it is by assembling the fractions of the different parts of the tree that we obtain the final active extract, Tiliactiv4®, with the best possible concentration of each active molecule, and therefore an optimum effectiveness, scientifically demonstrated. This is the result of a long process, carried out with a specialist in plant extraction, to produce this complex, which is a concentrate of everything that is interesting in the linden tree.

What is the point of sourcing in a family estate in the middle of nature?

What is interesting when working on a plant extract is to know where it comes from, how it grows and in what environment, because the composition of the plant depends on what it draws from the earth and absorbs from the atmosphere. If we master this environment, the soil and the atmosphere, we will have an excellent quality of extract.

Moreover, having a family estate as a source of raw material gives us control over the timing of the harvesting of the different elements, done at the best period, whereas a harvesting within 15 days can have a different result.

And this has a big influence on the quality of the extract. When we buy plant extracts from suppliers, they are made from dried plants that sometimes come from the ends of the earth and/or have undergone treatments that are more or less soft on the quality of the plant, and we are never sure of what we are getting.

Why did you use fresh material?

It is much more interesting to work on fresh material, rather than dry, because often the fact of losing water while drying will deactivate certain active principles. Dehydrating them destroys these molecules, and we therefore lose some of the interesting components when we work on dried material. To work on fresh material, it is much more complicated, because it requires very specific logistics, which we have been able to implement here again because we master the harvesting. We immediately freeze the material in containers that will preserve the integrity and therefore the effectiveness of the molecules.

How was Tiliactiv4® Complex tested?

Without going into the tedious details of all the tests carried out, its powerful anti-inflammatory activity has been demonstrated, as it deactivates one of the mediators of inflammation, Lox 5. Similarly, its anti-oxidant activity, i.e. its ability to block free radicals, has been proven. In fact, we have covered the spectrum of everything you would expect from an active skin care product.

In concrete terms, what do these activities do to the skin?

– Anti-oxidant activity: oxidation is a major factor in skin ageing, cells oxidize, the skin loses its tone and elasticity, which leads to wrinkles. An anti-oxidant active ingredient protects against the deleterious action of free radicals.

There are two types of ageing: intrinsic, because we spontaneously generate free radicals permanently through skin respiration, and environmental (light, pollution, etc.). We do not cancel the action of free radicals because they have their use, but we balance it.

Anti-metallo protease activity: these are enzymes that break down the fundamental fibres of the skin, collagen and elastin. They are useful because they are the skin’s garbage collectors, since they eliminate the fibres at the end of their life, but when they are too active, they also nibble away at the good fibres, and therefore cause aging.

Tiliactiv4® limits the role of these enzymes to its proper balance.

Anti-inflammatory activity: inflammation is a pro-inflammatory phenomenon (due to stress, fatigue, diet, etc.) that exists permanently in the skin and creates internal inflammation, a factor in ageing. An anti-inflammatory active ingredient is therefore useful in all products.

Are there any other active ingredients in the TiL formulas?

As no active ingredient is a universal panacea, we have combined other active ingredients, always Franco-French (active ingredients from plants grown in France): alfalfa, nasturtium, rose centifolia, passionflower, ivy, horsetail… for their synergy with the molecules of Tiliactiv4®.

Are TiL formulations natural and clean?

Today, when we make cosmetic formulas, we obviously have a duty to respect international legislation, but sometimes we go beyond this because there are doubts or disputes about certain ingredients. Some consumers want “clean” formulas, which implies respecting the good tolerance of the product for the skin, but also for the environment. This is not the case when the biodegradability rate is too long, or the manufacturing process is too impactful. We have therefore eliminated these molecules from TiL skin care products.

More than 95% of our formulas are made of natural elements or of natural origin.

What about the remaining 5%?

It is important to know that for a formula to be stable, it is very difficult to be 100% of natural origin, except in oily products.

Indeed, in emulsions, there is always water, which favours microbial development: when the user puts her finger in her jar, she seeds it with germs (because we are covered with micro-organisms, however clean we may be). The formulas must therefore contain a substance that prevents this development, otherwise it is no longer a cream but a “culture broth” in 2 weeks! A preservative is necessary to maintain the quality of the product throughout its life. They have no negative effects, and complement the action of natural preservatives, which are not 100% effective.

How did you reconcile the requirements of naturalness, effectiveness and sensoriality?

We have already mentioned the effectiveness of Tiliactiv4®. Then, of course, the product must be applied regularly to be effective. If it is so pleasant and sensorial that it is a little moment of happiness in the day, it will be used every day and all the more effective.

As for the naturalness, it was all the work and talent of the formulator to make the right combinations.

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