'OK, this is embarrassing, but my earliest memory of makeup is stealing it from my local Monoprix! It was one of those glossy, flavored lip balm things, something you would wear to kiss a boy. It was back in the '80s—my mother wore a lot of makeup back then. She had all these beautifully packaged Estée Lauder products, and I remember how they smelled. That's what I think about when I think of makeup, those golden years with all of those crazy colors. Very Saint Laurent.
When I was a teen, I was a bit nuts with the glitter. It was a period where I had to have glitter somewhere—on my eyes, on my lips, on my cheeks. I'd do it with my friend Violette, who's now Dior's beauty consultant. She would do my makeup and we would experiment. She taught me how to put kohl on my lash line to make my eyelashes look thicker in a super subtle way.
Music is the most important part, but that depends on the mood. Like, if I'm not in the mood I have to be in to go somewhere, I'll put on something super dancey to get me there. Once the music is on, I light a Diptyque candle—usually Figuier—or spritz a little bit of Nicolao Profumerie Reale Neroli Eau de Parfum (ed note: not available online). I also like using their Fiori Bianchi Eau de Parfum as an atmosphere perfume when I’m working in my studio.
Then I hop in the shower and use Le Petit Marseillais Orange Flower Soap. When I’m dried off, I moisturize. I actually have two kinds of moisturizer—for my body I use Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra Comfortable Body Cream. The other moisturizer is by a good friend of mine who introduced me to her line of products called Woman Essentials which is specially designed for intimate use. The products are all natural and smell divine. I use the Baume de Beauté as a kind of indulgence to myself.
I don’t have a set routine for my skin, that’s for sure. I just have some little things I’ll do when I feel I need them—you know, when I want to look fresh. I’m more about cure than prevention. If I think my skin’s looking a little dull, I’ll exfoliate with a Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste from Aesop. But, again, it’s not a routine. Maybe once a week or once every two weeks. I'll follow that up with an Aloe Vera toner I found in South Africa, or with Bioderma’s Hydrabio Lait. Their Sébium Purifying Cleansing Miceller Solution is super popular but my dermatologist told me to never use it as it can give you imperfections. She also told me to always use a Kleenex rather than a cotton pad to apply or remove products on the face as cotton pads keep all the dirt on them. It’s not very cost-effective but it really works.
I’ve actually kind of started a little routine with the Retrouvé range because I really love their products. I mainly use their Nutrient Face Serum and their Intensive Replenishing Facial Moisturizer, but I also like their Dynamic Nourishing Face Cream. That one’s little bit greasy which might not sound very sexy but let me tell you, it works! You put it on at night and when you wake up your skin is totally different. The brand was actually started by Jami Morse Heidegger—a third-generation heiress to Kiehl’s.
When I’m getting ready to go out, I always have the ‘Golden Years’ as a reference in my mind—that '70s glam. Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface or something like that. But I like to twist it with something a little rougher because I’m not about to get a blow-out or spend hours on my makeup. So it’s a little more négligé, a little less sleek and more thrown together. Like Janis Joplin meets Michelle Pfeiffer. Feminine and glamorous with an air of 'I don’t give a damn.'
My evening makeup is basically just my day look but more sophisticated. I'll use foundation, but a very light one like Giorgio Armani Maestro. It’s very sophisticated and is totally seamless when it’s on. Then a little bit of Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder, a touch of Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen under my eyes, and some Laura Mercier Blush. I’ll also use a bit of Dior Pore Minimizer before putting on my foundation to ensure that everything stays put throughout the night. I still want to feel natural, but I’ll build it up by adding a red lip and some smudged kohl close to my lash line. My eyelashes are very light, so if I don’t darken them, my eyes don’t really stand out. My lipstick is always matte because I hate shine—it’s not chic. My favorite one is Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani in 400.
The only time I feel I’m actually doing something or getting 'made up' is when I use eyeliner because it really changes everything. It’s not something I do often so when I do it, I feel as if I’m kind of putting on war paint. I have a friend who always says, 'I love when women put lipstick on because it means that they intend for something to happen.' That’s kind of how I feel about eyeliner—I use Diorliner Eyeliner, and then I'll put on a coat of Diorshow Iconic Mascara in Black. But no eyeshadow—I find it so outdated.
I have a lot of hair first of all, and it’s really healthy even though I don’t really take care of it. It’s kind of wild and does what it wants. The only thing I’ve discovered recently is conditioner after shampooing—something I actually never did before. I use Klorane Gentle Shampoo with Oat Milk which I grew up with. I don’t really have a favorite conditioner, I just kind of use whatever I have in hand. I like my hair to do its own thing but I do prefer when it’s a little bit more tamed so I use a pump of Redken Colour Extend Shine Enrich Serum when it’s still wet to keep any fly-aways down. I’m definitely a wash-and-go kind of girl—my hair is always wet when I leave the house. Even though it’s not considered very chic in France.
When I was a kid, I wore Ralph Lauren Polo Sport for years and years. Then I tried something a little more feminine with jasmine notes but it was too overpowering. I like scents with notes of white flowers, anything that’s discreet. Something that's not too feminine, maybe a little masculine. I only use one scent now, but it's my secret and I intend to keep it that way. I found it seven years ago and just knew that this would be my scent forever. I’m very faithful when it comes to products I like. I’ve only had three perfumes in my life.”
—as told to ITG
Annelise Michelson photographed by Gilles Uzan at her home in Paris on October 4, 2015. Interview by Marie-Cybèle Muysers.