"I come from Glasgow, lived in England during my childhood, and then I went to university in Edinburgh…so I’m definitely very close to my Scottish roots. Eventually I moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and that’s when I met Ezra [Petronio] and Suzanne Koller, the founders of Self Service. I just started working with him at the agency, Petronio Associates, and then kind of just worked my way up to being Editor in Chief of Self Service. I’ve always been obsessed with magazines and print media ever since I was a little girl. When I was in school, I was obsessed with the Vogues and Juergen [Teller], Venetia [Scott], Melanie Ward, and Corinne Day… That whole aesthetic probably inspired me to go into fashion. Self Service was always this thing to me that was Parisian and glamorous. I have always identified with the aesthetic of the magazine and its contributors. Working there is such an organic process and labor of love.
I’ve been here for nine years, and it’s been the job where I’ve gone through all the layers of it. I’ve done everything and absorbed it all. Ezra’s photography—obviously, his polaroids—is really iconic and makes everyone look like their most beautiful self. He’s really got this signature style of skin and a beautiful girl with a smoky eye and a red lip. There’s a lot of bold makeup but it doesn’t come across that way because of the flash. What sets Self Service apart is how it portrays women—they’re really strong and beautiful and in control. I like to think that’s how we draw people to the highest point of their work.
Personal style for me is having really beautiful skin. I’m not one of those girls who’s going to say I don’t wear makeup because I do, but I love the idea of being barefaced, so that’s what I generally try to achieve. I’m huge on skincare. And it’s easy to do here because we have pharmacies with really great brands, like Avène and La Roche-Posay. I’ll shop there and find what I need, but I also started seeing a dermatologist recently because I have the worst skin. It’s a lot of work to keep it clear. I’ll be fine and healthy and then it’s Fashion Week or I’ll travel and I get the worst breakout. My doctor prescribes me special things, ointments, creams and then this benzyl peroxide which is really harsh. Now I just dab my skin with benzoyl peroxide when I need it.
For cleansing, I use Ren products. They have a Clarifying Clay Cleanser that I use with water and a cloth. I know that water is supposed to be drying and aging but I need that, and I don’t feel clean otherwise. Scrubbing the clay in with a rough washcloth makes me feel like I got everything off. Sometimes I use a Clarisonic, but that’s a little too harsh. That said, I am into exfoliation. I have one of those Hammam mits and a brown sugar scrub that I like to do in the morning all over my body. It really wakes me up.
My creams are what get expensive. There’s this range called Retrouvé that makes this amazing moisturizer that I put on before I go to sleep. When you wake up, you still have that base on. Sometimes it’s too much, so I’ll use Embryolisse. I like thicker moisturizers sometimes but I also feel like it clogs a little. I got some Clinique recently—the Night Moisturizer and the Revitalizing Treatment Oil. I have this Estée Lauder anti-aging brightening mask, which is quite good. After any of this, I spray my face with water. I have La Mer The Mist, but even just the Avène water that I keep next to my bed works. I just like the sensation of spraying this on and going to sleep.
I did have a baby relatively recently, so my bath ritual was really important in staying calm—I worked up until the day the baby was born! I would put lavender essential oils in the water and do a face mask at the same time. Before the birth, I did a lot in terms of visualizations and meditation—it’s called the Gentle Birth Method. When you’re pregnant, it can feel like, oh my God, how am I going to do this, what’s going to happen? Doing these mental preparations just made me feel really prepared, my body felt really prepared.
For moisturizing my body I use Buly. It’s the nicest packaging and it smells gorgeous. The whole process is very old school nourishing, so there’s a nice ritual about that. Otherwise I like this rose cream from Ren, which I just slap on and it feels easy.
I’m definitely a perfume junkie. When I was younger I feel like I went through all of the Chanels…I did Cristalle and then Chanel 19 and then Chanel Beige. But then I wanted something a bit more niche and more signature. So I really like Frederic Malle Cologne Indelebile or Portrait of a Lady. Then I actually just received some Byredo Super Cedar and it’s quite nice. I was just out and two different people came up to me and I kissed them and they were like, ‘Oh! You smell amazing.’ People in the office tease me because I will spray all day long. I don’t want to be one of those people who stinks like you walk in the street. But just a little spray here and there before you leave the office is nice.
I wear makeup every day to varying degrees. I feel like I’ve learned to do makeup quite well from being on set and doing the beauty tutorials we’re doing on Self Service. Also, Georgina Graham’s one of my best friends. She’s amazing and she’s definitely helped me find my perfect look. But I’m busy, I’m a mom—I can't spend hours doing makeup. I want to get ready in about 10 minutes. Good makeup can definitely be done in 10 minutes. I start with a primer like a Smashbox or Laura Mercier. They just grip a little and then you put on tinted moisturizer—I have Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and one from La Mer. Then I just always use concealer. The Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer has two shades in it that you can mix together. I have two of those—one at home and one in my bag at all times. The Diorskin Star Concealer is also quite good but I ran out of it. It’s nice because it’s so blendable.
After that, I always put on a Lancôme La Base Paupières Pro Long Wear Eyeshadow Base in a beige color because it makes me look polished. I used to always put eyeliner on, but I don’t do that anymore. Same thing with my eyelashes—I used to curl them and now I can’t be bothered. I still put on mascara though! I just found the Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara and It’s really good. I’ll even put Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum under to thicken it. Then I always fill in my eyebrows with Laura Mercier Eyebrow Pencil in Warm Brunette. Then I use this Eyeko Brow Magic Brow Boost. It gives a bit of material.
I like this Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Palette because, while I’m into black makeup, brown is more my thing. But this past Fashion Week, I started doing this new makeup look and I swear it’s killing everyone. It’s a dirty black eye, like kohl, and really smudged in underneath. That’s what I want to be wearing right now—it’s a bit like Kate Moss back in the day.
Another thing that I use quite a lot of this Estée Lauder New Dimensions Shape and Sculpt for a bit of shine. I thought it was really tacky to use bronzer for a while but I use it now—with the Clarins Bronzing Duo. On my lips, I do Dior Addict Lip Glow sometimes. My Dinoplatz Cushy Blusher in Lava Martini is also really fun. It just goes on really well. I picked it up in Korea—that’s where I like to get the fun, cheap things that complement my more expensive makeup.
Hair is very low maintenance. There’s this amazing product called Gisou—it’s by this girl called Negin Mirsalehi and her dad is a beekeeper. You can either wear it as a mask or use it as a styling product, but either way I swear to God this is a miracle product. At the end of the day, I’ll brush my hair and put a little bit on the ends and then just tie it back really loosely—in the morning, my hair just looks ready to go and it feels thicker. Other than that, sometimes I do the Christophe Robin Chestnut Mask, which makes my hair really shiny.
One thing that really changed things for me was my hairdryer. I was on a shoot and told someone that I hated my hair. They asked me, ‘Well, what hairdryer do you use?’ He showed me the one from Hershesons and it made my hair look so much more finished. It helps give it more sheen and shape without actually doing much.
I try to get manicures occasionally, but there aren’t that many nail salons here. I do notice a few popping up which makes it easier to maintain. If I don’t get it done, I’ll use Dior Nail Glow. At one point I was doing the white underneath and that whole thing but it’s too much. If my nails aren’t broken, then I’m winning."
—as told to ITG
Claire Thomson-Jonville photographed by Tom Newton at her home in Paris on March 8, 2016.