French Beauty Favorites
La Fête Nationale, commonly known throughout the English-speaking world as Bastille Day, is right around the corner. The French national day commemorates the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison on July 14, 1789, an event widely regarded as beginning of the end for the ancien régime that led the birth of the modern French nation. The following year, Parisians celebrated Le Quatorze Juillet with fireworks, wine and frolicking in the nude. Sans-culottes indeed!
Although it might be tempting, I advise enjoying the many Bastille Day celebrations around Washington, D.C. without disporting oneself tout nu. Instead, I suggest marking the occasion with a glass of champagne–preferably Champagne Krug Grand Cuvée Brut–after pampering yourself with some my favorite French beauty products:
Clarins Body Treatment Oil
These all-natural oils firm, nourish and tone your skin with pure plant extracts. I’ve read that the Body Treatment Oil was the first product Jacques Courtin-Clarins developed when he established the Clarins Institute and it remains one the company’s best-sellers to this day. Try one, and you’ll see why. You can choose from two formulas: Tonic Body Treatment Oil and “Anti Eau” Body Treatment Oil.
Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream
I love French wine, both to drink and to treat my complexion. The crème de la crème of wine-infused skin care is, in my opinion, the Caudalie Premier Cru line. In addition to age-fighting grape extracts resveratrol, viniferine and polyphenols, this cream also revitalizes the skin with tetrapeptides, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. In short, it addresses wrinkles, dark spots and loss of firmness — just what one needs to maintain one’s youthful good looks.
Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs de Jasmin
This is the secret of every French starlet sporting artfully tousled tresses: Leonor Greyl Paris hair products. Many swear by the pre-shampoo conditioning oil, but if you have lifeless, dry hair you’ll love the deeply moisturizing Masque Fleurs de Jasmin. This deep conditioner gives a major body boost with an infusion of acacia protein and imparts shine with vegetal oils and extracts, and its delicate jasmine scent is intoxicating.
Parfums de Nicolai
To me, Patricia de Nicolai’s fragrances have that effortlessly elegant, soigné quality that exemplifies French perfumery. For those of you in the know, de Nicolai is the great-granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain and is currently la grande dame of niche perfumery. For years I’ve been enraptured by the gorgeous, spicy tuberose perfume Sacre Bleu; but for the hot summer months I suggest one of de Nicolai’s lighter scents, such as Eau d’Eté or L’Eau à la Folie.
Eau Thermale Avène
Regardless of your attire (or lack thereof), you’ll want to protect your exposed skin from the hot July sun on Bastille Day. French women swear by Eau Thermal Avène skin care sunscreen; made with mineral-rich spring water from the Sainte-Odile thermal spring in Avène, Languedoc-Roussillon. The water is renowned for its healing and beautifying properties and the Avène skincare line enjoys great popularity in France. Smooth on Avène’s new Mineral Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ (Face and Body) and you’ll be ready to raise a glass in celebration of Le Quatorze Juillet. Vive la France!