"I think when I was a little girl I was trying a lot of things. Youth is really the time when you search yourself, and you play a lot with your look. At a certain point you start to be confident with who you are and what fits you. I think it wasn’t until the age of 40 that I really felt comfortable with myself. It takes time! When I was young, I thought I was not pretty. I think it’s quite normal at a younger age—and nowadays, I think it’s even more tough for young women, because you have so much imagery with only perfect young women. For me, I’m inspired by women in general, and even by men. If I had a muse, it would be Serge Gainsbourg. It’s a kind of twist I’m always using, because I hate the idea of this one perfect woman. There’s many women that I admire, but I would never name one or two because I think it’s too restrictive. I’ve got too much admiration for women.
I’m very often asked, ‘How come the French woman looks so effortless?’ And I’m always answering that they spend a lot of time looking effortless. Like all women, we love to play with makeup—it’s like sweets and like jewelry. I’m always saying that beauty starts first by eating well, sleeping well, drinking well, exercising, taking care of your teeth…having a nice eyebrow shape. The first gesture is to have the right skincare that works for you. You have to find yours, not just what someone else is using, because what fits one doesn’t fit another. You have to try things, and when you feel good with something, you use it forever. I use Kanebo mostly. Almost 20 years ago we were doing a collaboration together and I tried their product. And when I started to use it, I said, ‘Ah! That’s really something different.’ I’m very fond of their products. I wash my face in the morning with the Silky Cleanser. It’s quite expensive, but it’s efficient. Then I moisturize with their lotion. It’s really about massaging your face—I think that helps. I don’t have a lot of time so it doesn’t last for long, but I really massage it—I don’t do it softly. I think the Avene products are very good for hydrating, and their sun products are very good. And I love the Avene water spray, also. It’s perfect.
Even if I am never really wearing makeup, I love a red lipstick, I love nice packaging. Of course I always have a good mascara. Now, my favorite is mine, of course, but there’s one from Kanebo that I love because it’s very light. I quite like when it’s very light, when it’s not so heavy. I think foundation is very bad. I think it’s something everybody should avoid using. Your skin breathes, and it needs to breathe. If you cover it with all that, I don’t think it’s a very good thing. I don’t like things that are too covering—it’s more about hydrating, most of all. Sometimes I go to have a treatment somewhere, but I’m always disappointed—I always prefer doing things myself, at home. I have a routine. Saturday morning, half an hour in my bath, and I scrub myself. I do my eyebrows, or whatever I need. I do the feet, the skin, everything that will take you the whole day if you go to the spa. Right now I’ve got Amaze from my collection with L’Oréal Paris on the cheeks and on the lips, and the transparent eyelashes. I use the same color on my cheeks and my lips—that’s something very easy, actually. I put it on my lips, and I rub a little bit, and with the leftover on my finger I use it on the cheeks. I put it on the high part. Sometimes I put it just under the eyebrow—it’s highlighting, also.
I’ve been preparing to be old for a long time, so I think when I turned 45, I put in my head that I’m going to be 50. If you prepare yourself getting old, then you are much more easy with getting older. I think there’s nothing you can do about it, so you should embrace it, and be happy with what you have. Take care of yourself as much as possible, but with simple gestures that are not polluting your brain all the time and obsessing you. Be confident and stay relaxed. I swim a lot—that helps me relax. I’m going to the public pool every morning. I swim for half an hour—it’s a way also for me to breathe deeply and meditate at the same time, because when you’re in the water you can really hear your inner voice, which helps me a lot. It’s like your stress is melting in water. I never take vitamins—I found out it’s just bullshit. [Laughs] I saw something on television or something about how they were doing the vitamin C out of petrol cells, and they recompose it—it’s horrible! At the end, you make a good salad with half a lemon, and it’s much better than using a supplement. Nowadays, there are supplements everywhere, which is really bad because you’re over what your body needs. So for me, it’s really a question of just buying the good ingredients. Instead of spending a lot of money into creams and shitty things, just start from the beginning—feed your body with the right things. You don’t need to be a good cook—just cut a tomato with olive oil, good salt and good lemon juice, and it’s already a big beauty gesture."
—as told to ITG
Isabel Marant photographed by Tom Newton in New York on October 11, 2018.