beauty rituals: 20 posts

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.

Cherry Blossom Inspirations

The white petals swirl around me. I look up and see star shaped blossoms dotting the blue sky. I should be enjoying our cherry orchard while strolling through it with a book of Japanese poetry or lounging under the trees with a cup of tea. Instead, my hands are covered with wet soil, and I’m dressed in something that used to be my grandmother’s housedress. It’s the potato planting season, and moments of quiet contemplation are few and far between. I promise myself that I will live out my 19th century country manor fantasies one of these days, but as the Japanese poets know only too well, the blossoming cherry is the embodiment of impermanence, a bittersweet reminder of the transience of life. The next day the rains come, and most of the dazzling glory is lying on the ground splattered in mud.

cherry blossom2

Every spring I desperately want the cherry blossoms to last longer, to have more days of walking up to the snow white froth outside my window, to bury my face into the mass of petals, and just to feel the exuberance of spring around me. As the season runs its course, the textures and colors of cherry flowers seep into my day to day life and linger long after the petals turn to dust. Last year, I experimented with Japanese seasonal recipes and tried salted cherry blossoms in sakura tea and steamed flounder (marinate fish in sake, add a pinch of salt and a few salted blossoms before setting it in the steamer). This year, my makeup kit is all cherry blossom themed, with the appropriate perfumes to complement the look.

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A Day of Beauty and Scents

For as long as I can remember, Mondays have been my mom’s “days of beauty and health.” Instead of viewing it as the painful start of a working week, she prefers to think of Monday as a day when she carves out some time for herself. A day of beauty instantly conjures up visions of spas and expensive procedures, but nothing of the sort is part of my mom’s routine. She simply does a few face treatments at home, makes sure to leave time for a proper breakfast–green tea, oatmeal with berries and yogurt, instead of her usual coffee and croissant, and in the evening, she takes a bath with scented oils or salts.

beauty-treats6

When the most expensive cosmetics she could afford were Polish face cream or Yugoslavian mascara, she made face masks at home. Strawberries, apricots, honey, sour cream, and oat bran feature prominently in her recipes. “It’s too early for you to use masks, wait till you get older,” she’d say, as I watched her apply thick creamy concoctions and relax with Georges Simenon’s novels. I couldn’t wait to grow into that marvelous old age when I too could plaster my face with fruit and tell others, “I need 15 minutes of peace and quiet.” My mom must have been 27 at the time.

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Many Wonders of Facial Mists

I didn’t realize, until my husband pointed it out, that I have quite a collection of facial mists. Besides several bottles on our bathroom shelf, I carry a small spray in my purse and always keep an extra one in my travel case. As far as I’m concerned, facial mists are among the best skin care tricks for sealing in makeup, getting a quick dose of hydration and feeling refreshed. Another bonus is that many facial mists are naturally scented, and their light, mild fragrance of rosewater, linden, lavender or orange blossom offers a dose of aromatherapy throughout the day.

mists

My staple facial mist is a simple blend of rose and distilled water, which I either concoct myself (1 cup of distilled water, 4 Tablespoons all-natural rosewater) or buy it ready-made at the pharmacy. In the US, Whole Foods and other health food stores carry several good brands of rosewater* in small, handy atomizers.  Rosewater is a boon for my combination skin; it’s soothing, calming and has a delicate scent of sun warmed petals. The scent is all-natural, fleeting, but stimulating while it lasts. Besides falling into a rose perfumed reverie, you can use a mix of rosewater and argan oil to remove makeup, including water-proof mascara and eyeliner. Instant radiance is guaranteed.

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Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Soaps and Creams

For this holiday gift guide, I decided to put together some of my favorite scented body products and some fun accessories. I also wanted for all selections to be under $50. Despite what beauty magazines tell you, you can really score some great, quality products on a budget. The second part of my holiday guide includes interesting finds like soap made with real sandalwood, luscious looking powder puffs and orange blossom scented skincare for men.

soap incense etc

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

Rosewater or Orange Blossom Water

As a scented gift for someone who also enjoys cooking, floral waters are unbeatable. They are available at gourmet food stores, Iranian, Indian and Middle Eastern shops and Whole Foods. $5-15, depending on the brand. If your gift recipient is new to floral waters, including a note with some of your favorite ways to use them would be a nice touch. You can find extra ideas here: 10 Ways to Use Rosewater and 10 Ways to Use Orange Blossom Water.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Eudora in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: Unforgettable was Eden and unforgettable will be your link feeling as a tiger in the deep green jungle. Great Cornelia! June 27, 2017 at 11:27am

  • Ben in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: Thanks so much Cornelia! Never tried Bandit either, although I’ve read about it many times. And I ordered a sample of the Privé many moons ago but got a different… June 27, 2017 at 11:12am

  • Cornelia Blimber in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: The Tiger feels self-assured. He (she of course speeking of myself) has no ennemies in the jungle, only humans, but he has eaten them all. He sniffs the warm damp… June 27, 2017 at 11:11am

  • Ben in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: Thanks so much Lily! I happen to work right near a Penhaligon’s and they are having a huge sale at the moment, this is great timing 🙂 June 27, 2017 at 11:08am

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