The Elegance Files, No. 2

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

via pinterest
Just a little series on being elegant, from tips my mother taught me & beyond. Click here to read more from the archives...

I mentioned to a friend recently that I cannot learn enough about French culture. There truly is something irresistable about that French physique - a certain je ne sais quoi to the fashion and beauty, and of course the food! Something particularly attractive about the French to me, however, is the dedication to skincare.

The French-girl philosophy on skincare is this: that if you care for your skin well enough, minimal makeup is needed. Skin products are the place to splurge, because, like purchasing a good canvas as an artist, they make all the difference to what you apply on top of it. From there, yes, luxury products are nice - but not half as necessary. If you focus on a healthy face, even lesser-brand products will sit better on your skin, and less volume of them will be needed. Instead of packing on expensive, high-coverage concealer (especially in the summertime, this is the last thing I want to be doing) you can use BB or CC cream, or something similarly effortless. Add a dash of glowy bronzer and higlighter, a good few coats of mascara and a pinky-nude lip, and you're done - and glowing.

Of course, the best skincare products come from an authentic Pharmacie - but even without these miracle-creams, we can take better care of our skin before purchasing expensive foundations. (Some of my favorite skincare brands are Clinique and Neutrogena; I've also heard excellent things about Sunday Riley.)

There's something to be said for this. It's a simpler approach to things, and for me that makes it all the better.


  1. Ugh! I am convinced I will never win the battle for good skin! I keep thinking that eventually it must clear up but if genetics are any guide there is no hope of that any time soon. Darn hormones! Darn acne! My best results have come from a really great cream my dermatologist perscribes (Finacea Azelaic Acid), Aveeno postiviely ageless moiserizer and Elf acne fighting foundation. It's not a perfect formula but covers enough to make me comfortable. :)

  2. I know the struggle! It's taken me ages to get to a place where my skin isn't constantly inflamed, and even so I still have scarring and redness that don't really have "cures". I think something that saved my skin a lot was using a homemade lavender mist (about 10 drops of lavender oil in a 1oz bottle of water: spray it on a clean face liberally throughout the day.) I did this on days I was staying home so I could go without makeup. The repeated gentle moisture and overall calming did a world of good for my skin.

    Fight on! XD

  3. An interesting post, Carmel - healthy skin is indeed something I'm always hoping for :).

    My skin would be healthy and always soft if I didn't stay up too late every night (seriously, I remember a time when my skin was much smoother, and without dark circles before I became a night-owl!) And if I didn't scratch my acne which comes up every month :(. . . However, I think eating healthy with lots of vegetables, salads and fruit and natural foods (whole-grain, preservative-free, etc), avoiding unhealthy food-products, and taking a good selection of vitamins/supplements help a lot in that area of acne, pimples, and keeping a clean and healthy face.

    For my makeup, I try to wear it only when I go outdoors or when I see people a lot; when I stay home I try avoiding any makeup products, just to give my skin a little break, you know? I actually just use a thin layer of mineral foundation (Natio being my favourite brand), a bit of blush on the cheeks, and done! My sisters adds just a little mascara, but I think even that should be used sparingly for health reasons. . . Lately I've sometimes used a thin dash of concealer but only on the major acne scars, and even that I don't use unless it is a really special occasion.

    Have you tried using Vitamin E cream liberally applied to your skin daily? I've found that that has made my skin much healthier and cleaner and removes a lot of the redness and oily puffiness too my skin; it's also quite moist and gentle on the skin, with anti-ageing qualities, so that is always a plus! :)

    1. I definitely agree that a good percentage of skincare is what you're wearing and what your sleeping schedule looks like, Joy! I'm glad to hear you have found a routine that works well for you, too. :) I personally use makeup because I so enjoy the process, the discovering new products, trying things out and experimenting, stretching the limits of my abilities. It's true that foundation/etc aren't the best for your skin, but by using a primer (my favorite is by elf) you can protect your skin from what you put on top of it, which has saved my skin immensely over the years. Of course, makeup isn't for everyone, so I respect your choice.

      I haven't used Vitamin E cream, but I'll look into it! I've never had much issue with puffiness or oil control (a good powder covers the later seamlessly), but rather redness from dehydration and lack of sleep. However, anything cooling and refreshing is always a good idea! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Lifestyle is so much of this. Water. Sleep. Adequate diet with good proteins and fats and fewer processed sugars. Sunshine (vitamin d supplement if you're not working full-time at the beach). Citrus, cucumber, and carrots. And PRENATALS. If your skin and hair are perpetually unhappy, get a bottle of prenatals. They're designed to grow people; they'll certainly boost your hair (and they won't make you pregnant, I promise. ;P ) Some of them have herbal supplements added which are good for balancing female hormones.

    I have had to cut pretty much every "mainstream" product line from my shelf due to possible wheat contamination (most vitamin e/tocopherol is wheat-derived, or mixed) or simply too many chemicals ("Fragrance" on the label being a favorite red flag). Tallow cream & a microdermabrasion-caliber scrub made out of coconut oil and baking soda are my two favorite weird routine-items just now, though the tallow cream smells so oddly that I have a hard time talking about it. I obtained the unscented tallow-turmeric balm off of Etsy because I was curious and had read beef tallow is excellent for skin. Well... it does smell a bit like beef tallow, which at least means that the ingredients list is true. I didn't ask for scents in mine because I don't trust ubiquitous things added for scent only. I put a few drops of tea tree or frankincense oil in my palm with the cream before application, and it eliminates the smell nicely and makes my skin super happy.

    Between the scrub and cream and the prenatal vitamins I'm taking (and the fact that it's beastly hot here), I don't need much more these days than a light BB or CC cream for enough coverage, soft blush & highlighter, eyebrows groomed and filled because eyebrows always, and then lipstick. I can't wear long-wear products (see "chemicals") without fostering skin issues, so I don't bother.

    But I do envy (happily, in the "I wouldn't make you like myself" kind of way) people who can be less ingredients-shy. I used to love e.l.f. - the prices and variety and getting to try so many different things for so little...

    1. Though I am very fortunate to not have to be ingredient-shy, I do respect those of you who do: if you can get the same effect with about 90% less chemicals than who can have a bone to pick with a natural smell? There's also a lot to be said for the patient researchers of natural products, as information is large and often self-contradictory, it's hard to know what works for you!

      I've done some microdermabrasion treatments with baking soda and water, but I need to try it with coconut oil! I love coconut oil. Miracle product.

      Prenatal vitamins. Got it. XD

      Thanks for all the tips!

  5. I don't really get acne, except for the occasional zit or two on my nose, but I do sometimes have ezcema on my face. I use a foaming face wash every morning and night from Doterra and cetaphil or Aveno lotion when my face feels dry. The foaming face wash really helps when I have a breakout of ezcema on my face, and I think it helps with zits too.

    1. That's lovely, Emma! I love a good foaming facewash to really clear things up. :)


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