After a week in Paris, the apex of French beauty, I share the key to creating the inimitable
je ne sais quoi. My hair is falling out of my bun, I haven’t had my morning coffee and I am completely makeup-free. “You look very French," says Lavigna my esthetician at the Lancôme Paris Institute. It’s early in the morning and I’ve just come out of a 90-minute facial and am paralyzed by the prospect of walking in public, you know, bare-faced. “Is there any makeup I can use for a touch up?” I ask sheepishly while simultaneously rummaging in my purse for sunglasses. “You just need a touch of red.” Lavigne says gesturing towards a table of lipsticks. Surely she’s joking I think but moments later (with my lips properly rouged with Lancôme’s new Rouge in Love lipstick) I’ve serendipitously been transformed and feel as effortlessly elegant as Clémence Poésy. The beauty take-away: French
je ne sais quoi begins and ends with
skin care. Here are my top travel tips for maintaining a fresh face:
Seat selection: If you’ve ever wondered why first class is located at the front of the cabin of an airplane (no, it’s not just for deplaning speed and convenience) it’s because there is a very subtle, but crucial, difference in oxygen concentration between the front and back of a moving airplane. The oxygen-rich air at the front of the cabin minimizes the dehydrating effect that occurs on long flights. And you thought the hot towels and pod seats were enough justification for a first-class upgrade.
Moisture barrier: Dehydrated skin (which is inevitable after a trans-Atlantic flight) can make your complexion look sallow and emphasize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Use a hydrating face cream that contains vitamins, antioxidants and
essential oils to help seal in moisture and protect against free radicals. I opted for
Fragonard Soines Essentiels, a collection made in the south of France that uses natural Royal Jelly to replenish and revitalize your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Added bonus: as one of France’s oldest perfumeries, the subtly scented creams are almost as luxurious as a plush hotel robe.
For more French beauty secrets…
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.