Self care advice from my Mom

In the US, there’s an inherent fascination with European women. How can they be so thin despite eating so much cheese? How can they be so healthy despite drinking wine, often at lunch? How do they achieve their quintessential elegant look? How come they seem to age more gracefully?

While I don’t pretend to have answers to the first two questions, I do believe that the European woman’s approach to skin care has much to do with the answers to the third and fourth questions. While speaking about European women is obviously a gross generalization, here are some tips on skin care habits that my Swiss mother engrained in me from my early teens:

  1. Skin care is a part of self care, part of health care. Facials are not luxuries, and a good moisturizer is not a frivolous expense. Indeed, I was taught that going to the spa should be considered as necessary as going to the dentist on a regular basis.
  2. Prevention is more important than correction. Don’t wait until you start seeing wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging skin to incorporate anti-aging products into your routine. If you are old enough to drink (and remember, in Geneva, this is 16), you are old enough for an eye cream.
  3. Spend time in your bathroom; it is your sanctuary. Growing up, I watched my mom take long baths, apply lotions and potions, and  spend a lot of time in her bathroom. That was her special time each morning–her way to get physically and mentally prepared for the day, and in the evening, it helped her remove the effects of the day.
  4. For every year you grow older, spend an extra 30 seconds in your bathroom. When you are 20 years old, you can jump out of bed, tie your hair in a ponytail, and leave the house in 5 minutes looking fresh and beautiful. As we age, getting to that look takes more time and more effort. Don’t fight against it, embrace it, and spend more time in your bathroom.
  5. Look at yourself in the mirror. Really look–don’t just glance. This will enable you to see every wrinkle starting to form, to see the appearance of very light brown spots and watch them turn darker with the passage of time. The process of looking, observing, and assessing will give you a feeling of control over the changes happening on your face and body and will ensure that you don’t just wake up one morning and think, “I have just aged 20 years overnight.”
  6. Taking care of your body is as important as taking care of your face. Treat your neck and décolleté with specific products. Nourish the skin of your body. Take particular care of your hands and feet. Not just once a week, but every day, twice a day.
  7. Makeup is meant for highlighting and color, not to treat skin. If your skin looks good, you don’t need to cover it with foundation. Show your skin. Use makeup to brighten and color.
  8. The worse you feel, the brighter your lipstick should be. Red is the color of power, wearing it will not only have people commenting on how great you look, but will make you feel powerful and in control, hence better. Find the shade of red that suits you, and use it.
  9. Keep your nails real, short, and oval. Did Princess Grace of Monaco have long fake nails? I don’t think so. Short is elegant. Nude is the best neutral, but bright red works on short nails too.
  10. Smile. You will look better, feel happier, and everyone around you will too.

Summer beauty tips

Last night, in our Georgetown showroom, we hosted lovely group of people from the Harvard Club of DC – all alumni of my alma mater who live in the DC region. The goal: networking, enjoying delicious wine and treats, and to discuss summer beauty tips.
Summer… = sun, heat, humidity, “smaller” clothes…
So here goes:

Men and what makes them beautiful

In three days, it is Father’s day. I think about men’s grooming habits and skin care regimens a lot, but Father’s Day as well as two events last week have put male beauty top of mind. I have been training various clients as to why the need for men’s skin care (men have oilier skin, prefer lighter, oil-free textures; men like “manly” aromas as opposed to girlie sweet scents; men like to feel like their skin care products have been created just for them), and two of our products just arrived in the office repackaged in sleek and sexy tubes (apparently men are not fond of jars).

Legs, legs, legs

Last night I had a debate with my dear friend Kelly about tights. Or stockings, however you prefer to call them. I love dresses and skirts year round, but I hate tights. So in the winter, my legs are always cold. She was telling me about fabulous cashmere thigh highs… I might have to try those.

Our conversation made me think about legs, and then of course my mind wandered to products, as it always does. And I realized that I use 4 Alchimie Forever products on my legs and feet! While you might think about taking care of your legs during the summer, if you are like me and don’t like tights then you might want to think about them during the winter also. After all, ’tis the season for holiday parties and short cocktail dresses.