Catherine Deneuve’s Beauty and Perfume Routine

Celebrity perfumes come and go, but Deneuve, created by the French screen goddess, remains a legend. More than any other discontinued perfume, this green leather-chypre, an heir to Miss Dior and No 19, comes up in readers’ queries time and again. Catherine Deneuve is the ultimate perfume lover; Bois de Jasmin even has a Catherine Deneuve tag as a testament to her scent obsession and my admiration. I’m pleased to add another item to my list: the Into the Gloss article, in which Deneuve describes her beauty routine, her love for Cle de Peau powder, Carnal Flower and Francis Kurkdjian’s nose.

“When I start a film, I like to have a special fragrance to wear for it. So, I’m starting a film tomorrow and I’m going to wear Frederic Malle’s Eau de Magnolia—I like it because with every perfume, he works with a different person to do something special. After the film, I keep the perfume, and when I wear it I remember the experience. It’s not something I’ve always done, but I’ve been doing it for a few years. And also I like very much the perfume of Francis Kurkdjian, becaue he’s very special. He’s the one who did the first perfume of Jean Paul Gaultier but now he’s doing perfume for himself. I like his nose.

In the summer, I love to wear jasmine. It’s a very natural, floral scent, but at the same time, has something a little deeper. There’s a musk from Frederic Malle—Carnal Flower—that he also makes as a Hair Mist which I love. Also orange blossom—that’s lovely. Read more.”

Another interesting read is Catherine Deneuve on Her Favorite Perfume and Other Fragrance Topics. The woman is a perfumista, I tell you.

Photograph of Catherine Deneuve via Cineteve, from Anne Andreu’s biography released in 2010. Also highly recommended.

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80 Comments

  • Austenfan: I read the article as someone posted a link on NST. I seem to vaguely remember that she has mentioned the link new perfume-new film before. Only that time it was about Noir Epices.
    I find her utterly fascinating, perfumista or not. April 13, 2016 at 8:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I think she must have a huge collection, because she seems to know of all the major niche and prestige classics. April 15, 2016 at 3:58am Reply

      • Austenfan: I’m very sure she does.
        For those of us speaking French, or at least understanding it, this is a fun interview, not least because the interviewer gets rather nervous in front of these ‘femmes formidables’

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_OAFNXMsZg

        Thanks for the link to her biography by the way. I might just buy it, and read it during summer. April 15, 2016 at 5:27am Reply

        • Victoria: This is the most entertaining interview for the reasons you mention. I really enjoyed it.

          Now, I’m tempted to watch all of her films again. April 15, 2016 at 8:00am Reply

          • Austenfan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GLQV8SRenc

            This one is fun too, not with Deneuve herself, but with her daughter, who mentions Miss Piggy. April 15, 2016 at 8:09am Reply

            • Victoria: This is so good! Thank you. April 15, 2016 at 9:27am Reply

              • Austenfan: Isn’t it amazing how much she looks like her father? April 15, 2016 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Caroline: Thanks for this info, Victoria. It’s one of my perfumista missions to smell vintage Deneuve perfume before I die. It was entertaining to scan the ItG comments too (and how its readers want to fix Kate Middleton’s maquillage). The idea of scenting a character one is going to portray makes total sense. April 13, 2016 at 8:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a beautiful perfume, but as someone mentioned later in this thread, it hasn’t aged well. On the other hand, if you like leather, moss and green notes, it’s worth seeing out. April 15, 2016 at 3:58am Reply

  • limegreen: Thanks for the article! I love that she does not seem to worry about what perfume she’s “supposed” to wear, just what she wants and why. April 13, 2016 at 8:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Me too. I find her attitude refreshing. April 15, 2016 at 3:59am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers,
    Interesting article. As a Francophile, I’ve been always interested in French cinema and I admire Catherine Deneuve. She’s a great actress and her inner beauty is shining through.
    I just revisited the older article regarding her fragrance preferences and realized we share more than one love : L’Heure Bleue, Carnal Flower and Lumiere Noire for Her by Francis Kurkdjian (that I just discovered last week). I’m also fond of oud scents, thankfully I can wear them too.
    It’s also a great idea to “scent our important events”, so that the perfume we used will remind us later of those magical moments. April 13, 2016 at 9:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s very easy to create such associations with perfumes.

      What is your favorite Deneuve film? April 15, 2016 at 3:59am Reply

      • Nora Szekely: Huh, good question. I just reread her filmography and realized that I did not see that many films of her after all. It’s rather that she’s such a legend that I encountered her a lot in the media.
        The umbrellas of Cherbourg and Mayerling left a strong impression on me, I definitely want to see Belle de jour, La Chamade and TV mini series Les liasons dangereuses. April 18, 2016 at 5:30am Reply

  • Del Reno: I love Deneuve and mourn its passing. I ration that nectar like a long lost lover. Catherine’s beauty, talent and mystery is forever bewitching. April 13, 2016 at 9:19am Reply

    • Victoria: I need to watch Belle de Jour again! April 15, 2016 at 4:00am Reply

  • Scented Salon: Well obviously she looks stunning. I don’t even know how old she is but if her mother is 105 that tells you something. I’m sure her genes have most to do with it but it is comforting to know that one can still do something about preserving one’s beauty through skincare and preventive measures.

    I’m going to copy her idea of focusing on the eyebrows. I’ve always plucked mine and I think they look great that way but they are way too light. I might start using a taupe color on them and see how I like it. I will also try to not moisturize everyday. It’s true that the skin has to be able to regenerate on its own: otherwise it gets lazy.

    It is nice to know that beautiful ladies like her use some of the same products that we all do: I adore Guerlain and it does work for my skin. There is an immediate difference when I use their products.

    My grandmother always curled and colored her hair, even now that she is in her 80s. She also plucked and dyed her eyebrows her whole life. She always has high arched dark dark eyebrows. It is somewhat intimidating but I think she looks great! April 13, 2016 at 9:31am Reply

    • Nora Szekely: Hi Scented Salon,
      I have natural blonde hair and eyebrows, so I couldn’t recommend more to try and color them a bit. If your hair is fair, I wouldn’t go too dark, I tried that and the contrast was too strong. Nowadays, I use a light brown eye-shadow, in the summer I may even get them died by my beautician that lasts me 2-3 weeks. I hope you have fun with it. April 14, 2016 at 7:19am Reply

      • Scented Salon: My hair actually is dark blond so I will do a very light brow. I’ll try it today and see how it looks. I’ve also heard of eyelash dye. I’d love to have darker lashes without mascara April 14, 2016 at 7:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Eyelash dye is not always safe and many places ban them, because it damaged vision. Perhaps today there are better, safer formulas. April 15, 2016 at 4:21am Reply

      • Victoria: I agree. My eyebrows are dark already, but filling them in makes a difference. April 15, 2016 at 4:19am Reply

        • Scented Salon: I got a pencil for blondes and my eyebrows look great. I could get used to using it daily. Thanks Catherine! Lol April 15, 2016 at 7:48am Reply

          • Victoria: Another cool product is an eyebrow pen, which allows you to draw in individual hairs. But this is the sort of thing one needs to look for in the Asian makeup lines. Japanese makeup artists are the most eyebrow obsessed, and the eyebrow tutorials in the beauty magazines are both art and science. April 15, 2016 at 8:03am Reply

            • Scented Salon: I had no idea. A simple pencil will probably work for now because I like how it creates a more defined shape and color. Otherwise my eyebrows are not exactly the same. I can try to create a similar shape with the pencil. And it does not look fake. However, I can see where coloring individual hairs might be much more natural. April 15, 2016 at 8:39am Reply

              • Victoria: I also use a pencil and I just blend it well. The pen is a nice device, but it definitely takes some practice and time. April 15, 2016 at 9:27am Reply

              • Nora Szekely: Don’t worry about the eyebrows not looking exactly the same. It’s natural that the tow sides of our faces are slightly different. I heard a good approach in a vlog on how the should look similar but not identical: eyebrows are not twins just cousins. 😉 April 18, 2016 at 5:34am Reply

    • Victoria: It depends on the climate you live in, I think. During winter when the central heating is on, I can’t skip moisturizing, but I usually try once a week to go sleep with nothing on my skin, no toner, no cream, no lotion. It’s a tip from my mom’s dermatologist who has the most beautiful skin at 70. Her other tip was to use sunscreen daily and to get enough sleep. April 15, 2016 at 4:03am Reply

  • Julie L: Have great memories of the perfume Deneuve, very very unique. Still looking for something comparable. I welcome all thoughts on this. April 13, 2016 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Detchema, perhaps. Or Jean-Louis Scherrer. April 15, 2016 at 4:04am Reply

      • Julie L: I’d like to get samples of Detchema or the Jean-Louis Scherrer and noticed mention for unusual perfumes on this website before. Would you know what it is?
        Thanks. April 16, 2016 at 8:29am Reply

        • Victoria: Scherrer was reviewed already, so you can find some info in that article (“Review” section). Detchema might be hard to find, now that I think of it, but Scherrer is still made. April 16, 2016 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Tijana: Thank you so much! This is so great, I love her!

    Interestingly, I never heard / read her quote on her starting a new fragrance with a new movie, but I tend to do the same for travels – whenever I go somewhere for the first time I start a new fragrance so that when I return and smell the fragrance again, it would transport me back to that place! April 13, 2016 at 10:09am Reply

    • Scented Salon: Me too! April 13, 2016 at 10:17am Reply

    • Cynthia: I do the same, Tijana. It’s part of the fun, for me, in anticipating a trip. April 13, 2016 at 11:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: A great tradition! An instant flashback. April 15, 2016 at 4:04am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: I love this article and thank you for posting it. Catherine Deneuve has class! April 13, 2016 at 11:00am Reply

  • Trudy: Enjoyed reading about her views on skin care, make up and perfume. Such a treat. Loved the concept of associating a fragrance with an experience. I’m such a romantic, I just love this kind of thing. April 13, 2016 at 11:07am Reply

    • Victoria: The times I’ve done it, I was amazed how neatly the fragrance captured the memories of places. April 15, 2016 at 4:06am Reply

  • maggiecat: Who could have guessed that Catherine Deneuve and I had so much in common? I also love jasmine in the summer and Francis Kurkdjian! Loved the article – thanks for sharing. April 13, 2016 at 11:26am Reply

    • Victoria: She’s your perfume twin. 🙂 April 15, 2016 at 4:06am Reply

  • spe: Mercier lipsticks and Shisiedo foundation and Eau de Magnolia and Clarins cleansing milk. The woman knows her beauty products!

    Deneuve perfume smells old-fashioned today. If she wanted, she could have a fragrance friend blend up something very close. Apparently, she’s moved on.

    This is a fun read. Thank you! And thank you for pointing out your special Deneuve tab here! April 13, 2016 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: She does, doesn’t she? And Cle de Peau powder which she has to get from Japan.

      I didn’t realize that our tag had quite a few articles, until I checked. We’re fans of La Deneuve around here. 🙂 April 15, 2016 at 4:07am Reply

  • Alessandra: Haha it’s funny, I read this earlier and wanted to post it on here… hehe! April 13, 2016 at 11:59am Reply

  • Karen A: I’m inspired! Going to go put on some CF, or wait – Eau de Magnolia, a face mask, take a nap and channel my inner Catherine Deneuve. She looks even more beautiful now. April 13, 2016 at 3:24pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: I adore this woman. She is one of only two celebrity idols, that I have. I cannot think of anyone else I might want to emulate. When I don’t know whether to purchase a nail colour or a particular garment, I always ask myself, “what would Catherine Deneuve do?” I would never feel inspired to hunt down any product or item because a person of fame used it……… except for Catherine Deneuve.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see that she wears a few of my favourite fragrances. (SL’s Fleurs d’Oranger is one.)
    She is more beautiful now than ever, in my mind. April 13, 2016 at 3:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: I already asked someone else this question, I’m curious about your opinion too–what are your favorite Deneuve films? April 15, 2016 at 4:09am Reply

      • spe: Dancer in the Dark with Bjork April 16, 2016 at 11:47pm Reply

  • Neva: Very nice article Victoria! Catherine Deneuve was my father’s favourite actress so I got to see a lot of her even in my younger days. She always looked classy and elegant to me and I liked her less-is-more look. I think she usually wore the same make up in nude tones with dark eyeliner and mascara and she had very expressive eyebrows. I also think eyebrows can really transform a face a lot.
    I’m sorry that she also started using fillers and her face looks now blown up. I could hardly recognize her in the photo in the article from the above link. On the other hand, she has no wrinkles 😉 April 13, 2016 at 4:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: One of my favorite scenes from La Chamade is when she runs to get her lover’s phone call and her face is flushed, slightly sun burnt and her makeup is simple–just lots of lashes. And eyebrows. April 15, 2016 at 4:11am Reply

  • Neva: Oh, I forgot to say that I LOVE her hair styling which is the same for ages and it’s beautiful to me! April 13, 2016 at 4:02pm Reply

  • Tati: Thank you for posting this! Deneuve is such a great role model for a woman aging with beauty. There are far too few examples in the US.
    I love that she uses scent to embody a character. Ever since my recent perfume obsession, I have started to use a particular scent for each book I write. Not wearing it every day (how could I compulsively sample like I do?), but when I need inspiration. Afterwards, I can recall that period of activity in my life much more viscerally. April 13, 2016 at 7:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Today celebrity has acquired a very different meaning, but two of my current favorite actors are Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett. April 15, 2016 at 4:17am Reply

      • Victoria: Your idea of wearing a perfume to seek inspiration for writing is brilliant. April 15, 2016 at 4:17am Reply

  • Dana: What a beauty, I love her perspective of using perfume to mark time and memory. I like to do that myself, if not just to find a reason to indulge my love of olfactory exploration :). Last year I traveled to Spain with my love and purchased a small bottle of Jil Sander No. 4 for the occasion. It was lush and lovely, perfect for the romantic adventure.
    Last fall I was in an antiques shop and was lucky to come across a few wonderful vintage mini perfumes still contained within their boxes. Deneuve was one of them, and it remains a treasure to me. I’ve dabbed it on once or twice, precious in it’s beautiful twisted glass rectangle. I know minis can turn over time, but this one still smells beautiful! April 13, 2016 at 11:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a lucky find! The best part is that older fragrances tend to last better, especially if you keep them someplace cool. April 15, 2016 at 4:18am Reply

  • Sandra: She is such a beauty.. Deneuve’s signature shoulder-length wavy hair defined what sexy should look like.. Simply gorgeous and timelessly alluring!
    Thanks for sharing! April 14, 2016 at 7:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I love that flip on the ends. April 15, 2016 at 4:19am Reply

  • The Candy Perfume Boy: Gosh darn it, she’s so fabulous it almost hurts. I bet she has quit the perfume collection! April 15, 2016 at 6:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Isn’t it she? I just love how down-to-earth she is and how generously she shares her tips. April 15, 2016 at 8:04am Reply

  • Rina: I just helped settle the estate of a HUGE perfume collector! One of the things I got was a 30ml bottle of perfume in its box, in a sealed ziplock bag. I let out such a squee! I think it smells lovely! April 15, 2016 at 11:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: What perfume was it, Deneuve? April 16, 2016 at 7:27am Reply

      • Rina: Yes… April 18, 2016 at 1:33pm Reply

  • Raquel: I searched for Catherine Deneuve the other night and found this article, what a coincidence. I was first reading about Sophia Loren. I love “Belle de Jour”, “Indochine” and “The Hunger” with David Bowie. I’d like to watch “The Last Metro”. She’s like perfect, almost not human. April 16, 2016 at 2:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t seen The Last Metro, so I need to watch it too. April 21, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Alicia: So sorry to come so late here. I have had a small operation, and am still under codeine. I love Catherine Deneuve. Difficult to say which film with her I like most, since I have liked most of them, but if I were to choose only one it would be Buñuel’s Tristana. As for Deneuve, the perfume, I still have a bottle of it. I can smell no longer the bergamot in the top notes, but the florals in the heart are still intact. What to say? I love chypres, and particularly floral green chypres. I love hyacinth. Deneuve is a floral chypre with a green tinge, and a clear note of hyacinth in its classic floral accord. The drydown reminds me of Miss Dior (the vintage, of course), which with Scherrer happens to be among my top favorite chypres (the third one was Femme). As a matter of fact, there is some familiarity between Scherrer and Deneuve. I find it delightful. Nevertheless, when I think of her I always imagine Catherine wearing Chamade by day, and Nahema by night. At the moment, because of your post, I put on some Deneuve. It certainly suits her elegance, and I still see her through the Guerlains’ cloud. April 16, 2016 at 10:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please take care, Alicia, and get better quickly.

      Have you tried Jacomo Silences, a green, tender hyacinth-chypre? April 21, 2016 at 12:50pm Reply

      • Alicia: No, Victoria. For what you say I obviously should. Will buy a sample soon. Thank you, dear. April 21, 2016 at 6:38pm Reply

  • Aurora: I remember an interview with a make-up artist commenting that she ‘only’ needed mascara, eyshadow, blush, foundation and powder. But of course she is a legendary beauty and I would be interested on her take on ageing. As a child I saw Peau d’Ane and thought she embodied what a princess should look like, Delphine Seyrig as the fairy godmother was beautiful too. Thank you for this wonderful post Victoria, and she may be with us for a long time judging by her mother’s age. April 17, 2016 at 1:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: I watched a bit of Peau d’Ane after your comment, and how beautiful is she! April 21, 2016 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Mimi Walker: Parfumelle in TX came out with a scent that smelled EXACTLY like Deneuve. Exactly.

    Then that fragrance disappeared and they came out with something called Catherine and it smelled nothing like Deneuve.

    I think it is cruel of her to not sell the rights to Deneuve to someone. The world would be a better and happier place. And smell divine! April 19, 2016 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Mimi Walker: P.S. I can’t remember the name of the first scent that did smell like Deneuve (exactly–I can’t say it enough), but I am pretty sure they quit offering it. April 19, 2016 at 1:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I miss Deneuve. But Catherine herself admitted that it wasn’t successful. April 21, 2016 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Carla: Oh I do like Kurkdjian! I have to say, I put Eau de Magnolia on my wrist and it got on my sleeve and I kept thinking I had spilled nail polish on my sleeve. I really disliked it. Of course it was the end of my pregnancy and I wasn’t liking anything new, maybe it was my nose. Because I do think I tried it right when it came out at a Paris FM boutique-had to have been summer 2014- and liked it then. April 25, 2016 at 11:15am Reply

    • Victoria: It does have a sharp edge, so you’re not far off. April 26, 2016 at 12:41pm Reply

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