"I opened Aqua Studio three months ago. I moved to New York from Paris seven years ago to work in photo production, but on a recent trip to Paris I tried an aqua cycling class and I really loved it, so that’s when I decided to change everything in my life and open my own studio in Manhattan. We're looking to open a few more studios here in the city, and hopefully in other states.
Aqual cycling is really similar to an indoor cycling class, except that it happens in a pool, so you also get the benefits of working out in the water. The water is up to your waist, and you pedal toward the water resistance, and all the while the water gives your legs a natural massage. This little massage helps to drain your entire lymphatic system, breaking up your body’s fat and eliminating cellulite. It takes a little time—it’s not overnight—but I’ve almost completely gotten rid of my cellulite. Getting sexy legs is a very good plus to the class, but it’s a full-body workout. You have to stay balanced on your bike, so you engage your core intensely and we incorporate a lot of arm exercises throughout the class, too.
I think the pool is very therapeutic, both mentally and physically. You leave the classes feeling really rejuvenated, and you’ll sleep like you have never slept before. Imagine how you feel after a day at the beach, or after you go swimming—that relaxation of being close to the water and feeling like you really, really used a lot of energy. It's blissful. There’s also no impact on your joints, which really protects your body, and you improve your breathing capacity, your endurance, and your blood flow. There are so many positive health benefits to working out in the water.
I also drink a lot of water—you should drink at least 1.5 liters a day. I believe beauty comes from the inside. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning with a squeeze of lemon flushes out toxins. And I try to eat healthy, too. Recently I’ve been transitioning to vegetarianism, incorporating a lot of fruit and vegetables into my diet. I feel better, and I can even see an improvement in my skin. For example, carrot juice is amazing for your color and skin tone. But these things taste good! Like, kale is a leafy green with a lot of nutrients that makes the best summer salad. Or, you can use coconut oil as a moisturizer, or eat it. [Laughs]
I actually buy a lot of my skincare from Whole Foods, because everything I use is pretty natural. And Origins is a brand that I like a lot, especially their VitaZing SPF 15 moisturizer because it gives you a natural, subtle glow; it’s a wonderful cream. And when I’m in Paris, I pick up products by Avène and Nuxe, like Avène’s Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream, which contains zinc, so it’s very good for cuts, scars and burns—it’s great to keep in your bag. And from Nuxe, Crème Prodigieuse on your eyes is very comforting and smells so good. If I have imperfections or inflammations, Sonya Dakar’s Blemish Buster is a life saver—Gwyneth Paltrow recommends using it before the red carpet, I think.
On my body, Dr. Bronner’s soap is just the most amazing thing because it moisturizes the skin while it cleanses, and it’s not even expensive; we have it in Aqua’s changing rooms. I like the Peppermint—it tingles—but the Eucalyptus is really nice, too. You can dilute them with water because they’re so concentrated. It’s still pretty efficient, and then you lose the tingling feeling. And Whole Foods sells this magic non-aluminum deodorant, Pure Pitz, that’s made with organic oils. Unfortunately, that one’s a little pricy.
I don’t wear much makeup, but I always carry a few things with me. The first is Origins' Quick, Hide Long-Wearing Concealer in #03. It’s great for the eyes because it’s moisturizing and the skin around my eyes tends to dry up pretty easily. I also like to wear MAC Copperplate Matte Shadow and Make Up Forever's Aqua Eyes liner in Taupe Brown. I don’t really like mascara—it’s a little uncomfortable for me—but I might put it on as an evening thing. I do usually put on a little blush: Guerlain's Terracotta in #03. And that’s what’s in my makeup bag. But the last thing I’ll do is brush my eyebrows, because, if there’s one thing I like about myself, it’s definitely my brows. I don’t have to work with them that much and they’re a little thick—I like that.
I'm pretty lucky when it comes to my hair, I guess. Right now, there is nothing in it. I used to get highlights, but I haven’t in forever, because I can spend an hour in the sun and get natural highlights that cost nothing. I like to use chamomile to preserve the blond, so I use Klorane’s Chamomile Shampoo and conditioner."
—as told to ITG
Esther Gauthier photographed by Emily Weiss at Aqua in New York on July 17, 2013.