Every year I travel to Paris. I am typing this from my friend's apartment in the 18th. I travel to Paris for many reason—some personal, some business, and some for inspiration. Paris never disappoints my creative soul. There is a reason great artists and great writers flock to this city (historically and in modern times).
Parisian women inspire my devotion to simple and easy beauty. In opposition to the stereotype, Parisian women do not have complicated and laborious beauty rituals. My mantra has always been: cosmetics need to fit into your life, not your life into the cosmetics. With the plethora of French beauty products, I can see why so many people think Parisian women spend hours a day taking care of their beauty needs. The truth is that most spend less than a few minutes, and yet the result is a polished and perfected style that is classic and current at the same time.
So, what do Parsisian women consider essential for beauty care? Here is my strictly anecdotal list, garnered from informal conversations with the women with whom I have had the pleasure of taking a meal and drinking some wine:
1. Great Moisturizer
This is universally the must-have product of all the Parisian women with whom I have spoken. While brands and price points varied, the consensus was to buy the very best quality your money could afford, and to use it twice per day, every day. In fact, the Parisian women I know said it was as important as eating three meals a day. In their minds, not moisturizing is like not eating—just not something you can do for a prolonged period of time.
2. Lightweight Foundation
Without fail, a smooth complexion is the most desired of results for Parisian women; however, heavy coverage foundations are not popular here, at all. Instead, a lightweight, natural coverage formula is the preferred foundation. A quick application that has long-wearing capabilities.
Lashes are always in style, and maximum volume is the preferred look of Parisian women. Not clumpy, not fake looking, but full and luscious.
Colour, which is suited best to skin tone and outfit, is critical for the Parisian look. Also, Parisian women are not afraid of red lipstick—even senior women wear red lipstick. I asked why it is so popular—even for daytime wear—and the answer was, "It is feminine, it is sexy, it is brash, and it is classic." Imagine the look against a grey day (it is raining here now and very grey outside)—to see this pop of colour is very cheery.
I flew to an extreme climate yesterday. I sometimes forget, living in Toronto, that Canada has such variety in climate zones. When I walked off the plane I was hit by -25C temperatures and such arid air that I could actually feel the moisture evaporating from my skin.
Immediately I thought: "What can be done to prevent such extreme stress on the skin?"
While most of us know to use great moisturizers, during the cold winter months, there are some great beauty tips, of which many people never think, that will save your skin and also your budget!
If you are suffering from winter dryness try these three methods to prevent dehydration and irritation.
1. Change Cleanser. $$$$ this option will cost some money
This is the time of year to switch to cleansers with more gentle detergents. Avoid any cleanser that is foaming. The more foam the more drying the cleanser can be. Lotion and cream cleansers will remove dirt, oil and make up but not strip vital lipid content from the skin. Of course, find one that is the right weight and texture for you. Even the most oily skin can use a lotion cleanser without worry.
My favourite: Daniel Thompson Cosmeceuticals The Cleanser ($84 for 150mL)
2. Omega Oil Applications. $$ this option costs a little money
An easy way to prevent irritation and dryness is to increase Omega 3 oil in the skin. An inexpensive way to do so is to use Omega 3-6-9 capsules (the ones you buy in the vitamin aisle at the drugstore), break them open and apply directly to the skin. Apply one capsule once a day and the skin will retain its lipid content and natural water barrier. You don't need an expensive serum. Use the capsules instead.
My favourite: Jamieson Omega 3-6-9 ($20 for 150 caspules)
3. Reduce Water Temperature. This option is free
Avoid very hot water on the skin, either in the shower or the bath or even to splash the face. Reduce the water temperature to warm or tepid and the skin will not dehydrate at all. Simply adjust the heat and the skin will require less moisturizer and also balance its own oil and water content naturally.
Here we go—just seven shopping days left until the holidays!
Every year, I am asked what people can find at the very last minute for great gifts. Everyone waits so long to shop, but still wants to have big impact with a budget! Of course, I am no different. I am always looking for a great way to impress with gifts, and respect my budget.
Here are two great ideas for unique last-minute holiday gifts that no one will expect:
1. Personalized fragrance consultation
There are some great fragrance specialists working in the cosmetics industry, and, yet, most people don't think to book a consultation to choose a signature scent. Makeup artists and skincare specialists are always booked up with consultations, but fragrance specialists are often overlooked.
This year, my best friend told me he was so tired of the fragrance that he has been wearing for well over twenty years and wanted to find a new signature scent, so I booked him a personal one-on-one appointment with one of the best fragrance experts in Toronto. The appointment includes a one hour evaluation of colours in his wardrobe, his work environment, and lifestyle activities. Then a blind aroma test to determine notes he is personally drawn to. After the aroma test, he will explore different blends until the perfect harmony is found. He will wear the fragrance for a number of hours and test different versions of his theme. After several trials, the specialist will introduce him to various concentrations of the fragrance, and then a selection will be made. His own personal signature to wear!
Cost: $100, but it includes a $100 credit towards your chosen fragrance.
My personal recommendation for a fragrance specialist:
Lynn Blouin: one the best in the entire industry. Lynn knows how to match fragrance with personality, as well as find that perfect, unique, and rare perfume.
Andrews: 55 Avenue Road Toronto 416-969-9991
2. Cosmetics for the home
All the major cosmetics companies make home products. These are incredibly affordable, even at the designer boutiques. They are unique, and often people who use the cosmetics that match don't even know they exist.
I love buying the home products of my friends' favourite cosmetics lines, because they always delight. Plus, people love to brag about how their home has been treated by their favourite designer cosmetics.
My personal recommendation for a unique home product:
Eau de Lit by Guerlain ($60 for 100mL)
This is a linen spray that refreshes sheets, works on couches to remove smells, and can be ironed into clothes to refresh items not yet ready for the dry cleaner. Completely unexpected, and beautifully packaged, it really has great impact for little dollars.