"I have my own line of swimsuits that I make with organic, ethical fabrics called Luz Collections, which means 'light' in Spanish. I started it because I feel like women are always looking for the right shape and color of swimsuit. I wanted to make something young and fun, but at the same time I wanted to be involved in something positive. We're just starting out, so for the moment it takes up sixty percent of my time, and then the rest is spent with Clarins, because I am a board member and I am very involved in the ethical and technological side of the brand. I attend a lot of meetings and I try to give a young eye because we are a one hundred percent family-owned company. My father and uncle who run the company right now are from a different generation—Facebook and even blogs, we have to explain it all to them. My sister and cousins, we try to make sure that we are opening Clarins to the young generation.
I grew up in Paris with my sister Claire and my cousins [Prisca and Jenna]. We are all almost the same age: my sister is two years younger than me—though people think we're twins—and my cousins are both one year younger than me, so I’m 27, my cousins are 26, and Claire is 25. My grandfather, Jacques, was the founder of Clarins, and he was really into keeping the family together all the time, so I grew up spending my early days with all the family, all the time. It was great. Our grandfather was always asking us for names for lipstick, like, what did we think of ‘Jolie Rouge’? And we were like, ‘Yeah, it’s good!’ So, I really grew up in the beauty world. It’s funny—when I was a kid, I thought that my grandfather was making products only for us! And when I started to see people on the beach with Clarins sunscreen, I would say, ‘That’s our sunscreen!’ I was, I don’t know, five years old. I think it's because I imagined my grandfather doing it all in his kitchen.
It might be a French thing, but we don’t put a lot of makeup on when we are young. I don’t remember myself being super into makeup, or asking my father if I could use mascara. I was more into skincare. My grandfather used to say makeup was amazing, but if you don’t treat the base, makeup doesn’t help you. You need to have a perfect skincare habit, and then the makeup can help you to improve, to show a little bit more of your eyes—just you, in a better way. Actually, funny story: when I was 18 years old, and my grandfather was developing the Total Body Lift [now the Body Lift], he asked all of the girls to test it on one leg during the whole summer—it’s the best way to see the effects of the slimming products. At the beginning, it was okay. But I can tell you, at the end of the summer, we had one leg that we really didn’t like compared to the other. It was crazy. We were always doing experiments like that.
I use only Clarins for skincare—honestly, I’m not just telling you that! You can see. I don’t use other products because I have very reactive skin, and whenever I try something else, from another brand or whatever, I have a tendency to get allergies or I get red. Like once, on a Vogue shoot, they put a cream on me, and I had an allergic reaction, and I became very red! I was thinking, ‘I need my Clarins!’ [Laughs]
For my routine, when I wake up, I use the Clarins Toning Lotion with Iris. I don’t use water in the morning, only at night. And then I put on the Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle-Correcting Lotion with SPF 15. Because I’m 27, it’s the first stage [of anti-aging products]. I like that it has SPF, so I’m protected whether it’s sunny or not. And I use a little of the Beauty Flash Balm, too. This is a magical product, really—it just illuminates your skin, but have to warm it up first. For every cream, not for this one only, the best way to apply is to put it in your palm and warm it up, because it goes deeper in your skin when it’s warm, when it’s the same temperature as your skin. So you warm it up, and then you have to pressure-rub it in. When you rub without pressing, you’re pulling your skin, so I try to always press creams into my skin. I think Beauty Flash Balm isn’t really a makeup product, it’s more of a skincare product. But it prepares your skin for makeup. For me, it changes everything: when I wake up, if I feel like I have a puffy face, I put some on and I feel like I look slimmer. Also, at the end of the day, even if you are wearing makeup, and you feel like you’re a bit puffy, you can put it on top of your makeup, because it’s very light. When I forget it, I don't feel as attractive! [Laughs] You know in Photoshop, how you use the magic wand to correct images? This is the same thing to me.
I also love the Shaping Facial Lift Serum and the Defining Eye Lift, which is the same product but for eyes. They’re magic for me. I have a very important theme to beauty, which is that I don’t think drastic measures work. To me, beauty is more about an investment in your skin. If you take care of it every day, whether you are 18 or 90 years old, you will always have the return on your investment up to that point. I’m not going to say that in just one day, or one minute, any one thing will totally change your face. Well, with the Beauty Balm, kind of yes. But, I always take the Shaping Serum when I travel— when I get off of a plane and I feel that I have a lot of water retention, I always put that on. And if you have a meeting right after, you look like you weren’t on the plane at all; you look like you had a whole night’s sleep.
At night, I take a shower and put on some of the Double Serum right away, before my night cream. The Double Serum is cool—it’s two separate serums with all these botanicals that combine when you pump it. It’s got everything you need for hydration, oxygenation, regeneration. My grandfather was passionate about it; it’s been in development for 27 years! Sometimes, I also use the Liquid Bronze Self Tanning. I usually do it once or twice a week, or when I’m going to a party or something. It smells good, and it’s a very light tanner—you don’t look super orange, or super tan with it. I’m very pale, and I like to give my skin a little glow, especially in winter. You just put in on a cotton pad and use it like a lotion.
To remove my makeup, I’ve been using the Pure Melt Cleansing Gel. It’s a gel on your hand, then it becomes an oil on your face, and when you put it in water, it becomes more of a milk. Even though I don’t like oils, it’s better to have something oily to remove your makeup, to make sure it goes deep into your skin to remove everything. If I’ve used on waterproof mascara, or heavy makeup, or heavy eye shadow, I like the Instant Eye Makeup Remover. It cuts through anything.
For hair, I try to take very good care of it because I have thin hair. I love Klorane Dry Shampoo; it’s my lifesaver. I’m not kidding, I’m very loyal to all my products! My hair is very fine, and it's prone to breakage and split ends. I use a lot of the Klorane Dry Shampoo because it helps you to not wash it every day, which I have a tendency to do. This stuff dries up your hair so that it doesn’t look dirty. When you have thin hair, it shows when you haven’t washed it, and you feel it, even if people say it doesn’t look dirty—I can’t go past two days without washing. Also, my hair is super straight and flat, and the dry shampoo gives it a bit more volume. I prefer the non-aerosol version rather than the spray because what I do is open the top and pour it in my hands so I can put it on my fingers and run it through the places where I think it needs it. I know I’m not supposed to do it like that, but I do. When you do it with your fingers, you can choose exactly where you want to put it.
I also use a lot of masks in my hair, but I always make sure there is no silicone. When you use a product that contains silicone, your hair seems really soft, but it is really because the silicone is coating your hair. When you put on the Leonor Greyl Masque Fleur de Jasmin, it doesn’t have the same softening effect as a silicone product, but it really nourishes the hair from deep within. I also like the Klorane Masque au Beurre de Mangue; it’s really orange. This Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil is also great so far—it’s new. The best thing is to use a mask and leave it on for a half an hour or an hour, sometimes I even leave it on overnight—I will just put a shower cap on it. I like to do it during the summer when it’s hot because then you get a little steam inside and you kind of sweat and it goes deeper into the hair and the scalp. For shampoo, I like the Leonor Greyl Shampoo au Miel and the Full Volume Shampoo by Fekkai.
Makeup-wise, I don't use that much. What I use is the Clarins Ever Matte Foundation, which is a very light foundation, almost like a tinted moisturizer. I don’t always wear foundation, but in the winter I do. But I will only use this—no mascara or anything else, and I never wear red lipstick, at all. I do love the DoubleFix Mascara, though. I actually use it on my eyebrows because it is clear…. I think that having brushed eyebrows is very important, so that you look groomed. I think it’s a stronger statement. Then, I just use some kohl eyeliner or maybe some shadow when I go out, and the Clarins Bronzing Duo in Dark, which is my summer blush. That’s it for makeup.
In terms of other products I love, I have been wearing the Kenzo Flower fragrance forever. The bottle is huge, but I’m really loyal to it, so I cannot change. I can’t bring the big bottle when I travel, so I have a lot of little samples of it in my bags if I forget. Very important! [Laughs] And then this is super important: the Herôme Nail Hardener. I used to have terrible, terrible nails. They would break and I bit them and everything; I’m terrible with my nails. But since I got this, I've actually managed to have long nails, for the first time in my life. You put the polish on your nails once a week, and it hurts a little for five minutes, but it works. It's kind of amazing. You don't believe it will do anything until you try it."
—as told to ITG
Virginie Courtin-Clarins photographed by Emily Weiss in Paris on January 28th, 2013.