The story of Polaar takes the form of a family saga whose origins lie in the snowy scenery of the world's most remote regions. Polaar was born out of a deep fascination with the Arctic world, coupled with a boundless desire to explore its every unknown corner and twist. Each chapter of this story marks an important turn in the roadmap of its founder, Daniel Kurbiel, but also in that of his parents, who started the journey before him. Here is the logbook.
Chapter 1 - 1976
First voyages, the Vagabond and an avalanche of records
The story of Polaar begins in 1976, on the deck of the Vagabond, an icebreaker sailing off the shores of Iceland that Daniel Kurbiel's parents set out to explore. This crossing marks the first voyage for a couple of adventurers who will never stop pushing back the frontiers of the Nordic worlds.
These exploratory moose landed them shortly afterwards on the shores of Greenland, in 1978. On this occasion, the record for the most northerly voyage was broken. The following year, the unexplored region of Blosville was mapped aboard the Vagabond 2. And the expeditions follow one another. Like in 1982, when, parachuted alongside a certain Nicolas Hulot, they managed to locate the exact location of the North Magnetic Pole, between two polar bear attacks. For the moment, these undertakings, spread out until 1985, were more in line with a record logic than with a deepening of the scientific research that would make the identity of Polaar a few years later. The beginning of the way was nevertheless traced.
Chapter 2 - 1998
Torch relay, Arctic lichen and Polish meetings
In 1998, Daniel Kurbiel began sailing in the wake of his parents. He headed for the Northwest Passage, across Alaska. His journey coincided with an important event: expeditions were beginning to be organised in partnership with major scientific institutes, which were taking advantage of these geographical advances to make progress in their own fields.
The University of Pontoise sent doctoral students specialising in polar climates to study sunshine and pollution alongside the sailors. A decisive meeting in the history of Polaar followed: Daniel crossed paths with Maria Olech in early 1990. Maria studies polar flora and distinguishes herself as a specialist in lichens, small plant organisms capable of surviving for thousands of years in extreme conditions. Their exceptional properties spark an idea in Daniel's mind...
"In the strength of nature lies great beauty".
The Polaar project was probably born at that moment. The moment when Daniel realised that a remote world with virtually unknown flora was giving birth to active ingredients of unequalled rarity and purity. And while legions of cosmetics researchers from all over the world toil in their laboratories in the four corners of the earth, the secret of beauty may be hiding there, in the depths of the Arctic, forged by a laboratory older than anything else: the Arctic Circle.
And intuition becomes conviction. The secrets of Arctic beauty are waiting to be discovered in the 1700 or so plants that grow in the northern regions, and in particular the 400 that are able to flower despite a very harsh ecosystem. The expeditions will follow one another. Bringing together scientists and Inuit guides for a common cause: to unravel new mysteries with each expedition in order to develop natural treatments for natural beauty.
Chapter 4 - 2000
From the sea to the mountain peaks, via the plains
The initial research of the Polaar teams is focused on the marine world. Between 2004 and 2007, the Boreal Algae discovered and the glacier water analysed, show extraordinary moisturising, relaxing and regenerating properties. They gave birth to the Polar Night and Ice Source skin care products. The expeditions are gradually making their way to land.
In 2009, in the eastern reaches of the Siberian region, a species of ginseng with a unique tonicity was discovered. The Icy Magic treatment was born. 2012 marks a return to the Arctic and a reunion with Maria Olech. The study of the wild fields of Arctic cotton revealed its powerful cleansing and soothing properties. The plant becomes the active ingredient of Ice Pure. The magical lands of Lapland are surveyed in 2013. The expedition brought back 3 polar berries that would be used to create The Genuine Lapland Cream, a skincare product designed to preserve the skin. And the research takes off. The ascent began in 2015, in the peaks beyond the eternal snows. Daniel and his teams found the delicate Nunatak flower. The Eternal Snow skin care product was born here, in the petals of a flower with exceptional regenerating and anti-ageing properties.
Birth of the name, school reunions and Inuit writing
Polaar is gradually being built up to the rhythm of its comings and goings in the Arctic Circle, but also in France, where its identity is gradually taking shape alongside its explorations. Accompanied by Karine Roche, a friend he met at HEC, Daniel imagines and weaves the DNA of his brand: its visual universe, its language and, above all, its name: POLAAR. The two "A's" evoke the Arctic and Antarctic, the territories that made history possible. The dot on the logo is a nod to the Inuit script, a people who have been important and whose guides have accompanied almost every expedition since 1978.
Finally, the letters of the logo, slightly cut at the base, are reminiscent of the icebergs of the polar oceans, with only the surface visible, concealing a submerged face of unsuspected depth. This notion of depth is important for Polaar, which wants to become much more than a natural skincare brand. The ambition has risen: to reveal the beauty of the Arctic lands to as many people as possible, to immerse themselves in its riches and, above all, to preserve them.
Chapter 6 - 2004
Unique formulations and ethical breath
Since the beginning, in 2004, Polaar products have been formulated without alcohol, paraben or mineral oils. This first in the industry is a clear indication of the desire to produce natural beauty recipes. The brand's ethical philosophy is a continuation of this. In addition to protecting women's skin, Polaar is inspired by what nature has forged, without ever damaging it.
Responsible asset harvesting channels, which have won innovation awards, are rapidly being set up in association with local producers. Polaar has also established several relationships with organisations that are close to its problems. It thus gained the support of CEDA (centre for the valorisation of algae) and Scientipole Innovation, in charge of identifying polar algae and their eco-responsible culture.
The horizon is white
The Polaar adventure is far from over. For decades to come, Daniel, Karine and their team intend to continue to make the wonders of the polar world accessible to all, for a moment of care.
The family saga is probably not over yet either. After Daniel, it is Janusz Kurbiel's grandchildren who may well follow in their grandfather's snowy footsteps and travel to the Pole in their turn. Their journey would maintain a 40-year tradition, allowing them to set foot once again in these regions that have meant so much to them. A way to unite a family a little more with a land that has given them so much. Still today and forever.