K-Beauty may be all the rage but perhaps no country has had as long lasting mythical hold on beauty as France. The French je ne sais quoi approach to beauty seems so effortless, perfectly subtle and viable. That's the magic of it and there is perhaps no one that knows more about French beauty habits and secrets than my friend Clemence von Mueffling—she's the daughter and granddaughter of former Vogue Paris beauty editors, Lorraine Bolloré and Regine Debrise, and she cut her teeth in beauty at LVMH before starting her smart site Beauty and Wellbeing. In fact, I'm hosting a talk with her on June 13 to discuss her new book "Ageless Beauty: The French Way." If you're in New York, stop by NeueHouse (at 110 East 25th St, New York, NY 10010) at 6:30pm for our chat. I hope to see you there! --Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn
I recently interviewed Alicia Silverstone for a New York Times beauty story and we had a real pow-wow over green beauty and what that means for regimens. After a lot of trial and error, she's figured out a clean routine and products that work for her but one beauty category has eluded her—that's fragrance. She still sprays her "naughty" scents as she calls them. This situation is largely why I started Ellis Brooklyn. Why not have perfumes be paraben-free? Why not be phthalates-free, cruelty-free and vegan? It should be the new baseline for beauty and we're proud to be a part of the movement that is pushing the goal post to a safer place.
Recently, I spent an afternoon answering beauty questions live for The New York Times. The questions were all centered on morning beauty routines and most were about makeup. The assignment also had me thinking, how scent plays such an important role in our lives but how we sometimes take it for granted. For example, did you know vanilla has been tested on Memorial Sloan-Kettering patients and was shown to have relaxing effects? How great to start your day with a spritz to lower anxiety. I also love the idea of different scents to suit the mood, which is one of the reasons why creating Bibliotheca, our new library of all six of our scents, was so satisfying. At $20, they're worth a whiff.
Over the last year, I've been working on a book for the New York Times on beauty regimens. The book is based on my Skin Deep beauty column for the paper and it's finally out on stands. Putting it together, I got to speak with so many amazing women. I particularly loved hearing model Alek Wek's mentality on beauty. She said: "When I got into this business, it was the '90s. There wasn't anybody working who has my features—who I could relate to...I made it through the beginning because of what my mother embedded in us. She had nine of us and five are girls. She always said, we have to support each other. 'Together you are stronger. You're beautiful inside and out.'"
Next week I will be in San Francisco with an intrepid crew of women to celebrate the re-opening of Ayla Beauty. Founder Dara Kennedy has a refreshing take on beauty: she's really in it for the long game and knows her stuff when it comes to skincare. Such as, we both agree that many brands are overdoing it with Vitamin E lately. In fact, she's concocted one of the best facial oils I've yet to try with Marie Veronique, who will also be at the party. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi!