Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

By Lulle, France, Local Contributor

Lulle was born in France, and she says she came to life so hungry that she was trying to swallow her entire first–and the fondness for food never went away! She wasn’t obsessed with makeup as a teenager or young adult. At 25, she moved to Instanbul, Turkey, where she lived for five years, and this is where the beauty addiction started. When she wandered through duty-free shops while traveling, she discovered a whole new, glamorous world.

Lulle is easy-going, loving, and spontaneous; she loves to enjoy every moment of life. Check out her blog, Beau Miroir!


Life-Changing Beauty Products from France

A few products that changed my life, and the best tip I ever got from my Grandma!

Cicabiafine Crème Hydratante Corporelle Anti-irritations (about €15) doesn’t have sexy packaging or an appealing scent, but believe me, it’s worth a thousand tequila-marshmallow-flavored moisturizers. If your skin is desperately dry in the winter, to the point where it becomes itchy and uncomfortable, this body cream will save your life like it saved mine. It works like magic to relieve extreme dryness and irritation without being too heavy or greasy.  It is unscented, paraben- and coloring-free. Without this Holy Grail, I would have lost my sanity last winter, when the skin on my legs felt like the Siberian desert.

One of the very first pieces of advice I was given at my beauty salon was “Sop using a scrub on your face–it is too harsh–use a gentle granule-free exfoliator instead!”  I wasn’t really convinced, but I bought a tube of Institut Esthederm Osmoclean Crème Douce Désincrustante (around €30) to try it out. I’m glad I trusted my beautician! This gentle purifying cream absorbs impurities and all you have to do is massage it on your face until it thickens and then rinse it. It leaves my skin feeling soft, perfectly clean and refreshed. Since I started using this exfoliator instead of mechanical scrubs, I have noticed that my face looks healthier, clearer, and less oily on the T-zone.  Obviously, aggressive treatments were just harming my skin, which led it to produce more sebum as an attempt to protect itself. This exfoliating cream has been the biggest revelation in my skincare routine since I discovered soap-free cleansers!

Caron is not only one of the greatest Parisian parfumeurs–the brand is also a master in the art of face powder. Their loose powder La Poudre Libre Caron (€44) was formulated in the 1930s, yet it is still the best face powder on the market! The metal box looks luxurious and can easily be manipulated and transported (no mess in your weekend suitcase) thanks to the screw top hidden inside. The powder itself is lightweight, very finely milled, and has a rose scent. What makes it so amazing for me is that it delivers excellent coverage but still looks very natural on my skin. I love the slightly powdery finish that keeps my face looking matte and polished all day long! I wore this powder on my wedding day, and I had a lot of compliments about my flawless, radiant skin. I don’t think I will ever be able to use another loose powder without being disappointed!

When I was a teenager, my grandmother gave me a tip–very simple but extremely efficient and gentle–to exfoliate lips. You want to get rid of dead dry skin and have perfectly soft and smooth lips before you apply your favorite lipstick. All you need is a cotton pad and warm water! Soak your cotton pad in the water for a moment, press it between your fingers to remove excess water, place it between your lips and “bite” for about a minute. The warm wet cotton will soften the dry skin. Then, rub it gently on your lips to remove the dead skin and immediately apply a moisturizing balm. Voila!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Lulle, France, Local Contributor

Lulle was born in France, and she says she came to life so hungry that she was trying to swallow her entire first–and the fondness for food never went away! She wasn’t obsessed with makeup as a teenager or young adult. At 25, she moved to Instanbul, Turkey, where she lived for five years, and this is where the beauty addiction started. When she wandered through duty-free shops while traveling, she discovered a whole new, glamorous world.

Lulle is easy-going, loving, and spontaneous; she loves to enjoy every moment of life. Check out her blog, Beau Miroir!


A Few French Must-Haves

As a typical beauty junkie, I tend to try a lot of new products, and I’m usually not loyal to any brand. Before I even reach the bottom of a bottle or pan, I’m already on the hunt for something better, newer, or just unheard of for replacement. However, there are a few exceptions–some products that I wouldn’t even consider kicking out of my routine: they are the long-term lease tenants of my bathroom. I know everything about them; they might not be spectacular but I trust them, because I know they won’t let me down.

My hair is generally going wild, because I’m just no good at brushing, styling, or shaping, and I really hate going to the hairdresser (having my scalp stabbed by a comb and burnt by a dryer is no fun for me).  But I have an ally to keep it looking shiny and tidy: the Masque Garnier Ultra Doux (€6.00) conditioning treatment, which is sold in supermarkets for less than 6 euros. It comes in a large pot with a fat belly, and it has a creamy texture that helps nourish and detangle my hair. It can be used as a regular post-shampoo conditioner, since it only needs to stay on for three minutes to be efficient, but I often prefer to give my hair deep moisture by applying it before shampooing, and keeping it on for at least half an hour. It is actually a whole range, and it comes in different varieties, which specialize in specific issues (anti-frizz, dyed hair, extreme dryness, damaged hair tips, etc.). I’ve had a good experience with all the “flavors” that I tried; they have nice scents and leave my hair healthy looking, smooth, and shiny without making it heavy. I think it’s an accessible, cheap, easy, and efficient way to take care of my hair, and I’ve been using for over 5 years now!

I’ve always loved the refreshing feeling of a spritz of cool water on my face, but for a long time, I avoided mineral water sprays as they increase evaporation thus drying out the skin. Then, about 6 months ago, I discovered a product at my beauty salon, which has now become a corner stone of my skincare routine: L’Eau Cellulaire (€19.00) by Institut Esthederm. It’s packaged in a nice silver spray bottle, and unlike regular water, it is formulated to be as close as possible to the fluid cells live in, called inter-cellular liquid. It supposedly brings energy and nutrients right into your skin cells, making it more responsive to the skincare you use next.  It is designed to respect the fragile ecosystem of the skin. After spraying it on your face, you have to gently massage it in to help it sink into the skin. I’m not a biologist so the whole concept behind this product is quite complex for me, but I appreciate the research effort. I can say it really works for me: it leaves my skin smooth, soft, moisturized, comfortable, and the serums or creams I apply after it are definitely absorbed faster and seem more efficient. The downside is the cost, that’s an expensive kind of water! Since I enjoy using it, and it visibly improves my skincare routine, I’m ready to cope with the price tag.

One makeup brand that you’ll most certainly find in any French girl’s makeup bag is Bourjois. It’s been around for over 150 years, and the famous colorful round boxes containing eyeshadow or blush were already among our grandmother’s and mother’s favorites! There’s a wide choice of shades in the shadows and blushes and the quality is consistent throughout the range, plus it is affordable although not really cheap (about 12 euros for an eyeshadow), and very easy to find in department stores, beauty stores and some supermarkets. Apart from the round boxes, I mostly like their eye pencils, and they also have a lot of good lipsticks and glosses. Because it is so accessible and familiar, young girls, including me, often discover the joys of makeup through Bourjois when secretly playing with their mom’s stuff or when purchasing their first products!

These three products are really no-brainers for me and I never hesitate to buy them again and again! If you ever come to France for a visit, you can grab one (or all!) at the store and I’m pretty confident you’ll be happy with these touches of beauty à la française.