Akin to our Independence Day, Bastille Day—July 14—officially known as French National Day, celebrates the success of the French Revolution, particularly the storming of the Bastille, a prison/fort that housed political prisoners. That event paved the road to France becoming a republic and the famous slogan: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. In France, the day is commemorated with the country’s oldest military parade, and Francophiles around the globe raise a glass a don a beret in celebration.
In addition to revolution, the French knack for beauty is appreciated far beyond the country’s doors. Here are some French beauty products that we love deserve to be worn during this unique celebration:
Photo Credit: Votre Vu
Assuming you’ll be celebrating Bastille Day outdoors (is there any other way?), try Votre Vu’s magnificent Antioxidant Weightless Sunshield, a full-coverage sunblock that’s perfect as skin armor against UVA and UVB rays. It is one of our favorites because it is slim and portable as well as being attractively packaged and priced: magnifique.
I adore Juicy Tubes from this iconic French brand, and this is an ideal lip gloss to use during the summer months because it feels as moisturizing on your lips as it looks. The “Ultra Shiny Lip Gloss” has a beautiful sheen to it, and is a far cry from tacky. It comes in many fireworks-like colors (6), so choose away.
This upscale Parisian brand is so luxurious that once you use this palm oil you will feel as though your hair has become a Republic, and quite independent of any of your other features. The smell is addicting, and I like to use it as a pre-wash conditioner and mask for 15 minutes and then shampoo it off. You can also use this (just a drop will do) on dry hair to tame frizzies. Whichever option you choose, the smell will leave you longing for the next go around. It also protects your hair color too.Coco by Chanel ($11o)
Nothing says Esprit de France more than a perfume by the House of Chanel, and Coco is a delightful blend of old meets new. Created in 1984, Coco is designed for evening wear and speaks volumes about the breadth of the French Empire with its notes of French angelica, Bulgarian rose, Spice Island clove bud, Indian jasmine, Caribbean cascarida, frangipani, and mimosa.
Nine months on, nine months off, they say. But once you have managed to shift those extra pounds after having your dear little one—what are you left with? Well, in my case, the tummy of an old woman. Sad face. I was so pleased to have hit my target on the scales but I wasn’t banking on bizarre, stubborn fat pockets, and wrinkles that would make a prune look smooth! Having swathed my ever-increasing bump with oils, lotions, and potions for nine months, I have to say that I have managed to emerge with very fine and almost invisible stretch marks, which is great—can’t complain. However, Spanx® and dollop of Xen-Tan aside, I need to solve the wrinkly pouch situation and in my quest for pre-baby belly, I am trying out the best treatment options available to us ladies to help fix the problem. In the first of this two-part feature you’ll see what I have been up to…
Wrinkle, Wrinkle Little Star
After doing a HUGE amount of Internet research whilst my dear little one catches some Zzzz, I found a number of in-clinic treatments that claim to treat crêpey skin, which in itself was a relief. But how do you know what works and is going to be worth the money. I am the kind of person that would be willing to splurge on something if it actually did the trick; there is nothing worse than frittering money away here and there on things that don’t do the job.
First stop, Google of course. I have seen some incredible reviews online and let’s face it, if Thermage® is OK for beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar-winning face, it’s good enough for my mummy tummy. Thermage® has received glowing reviews in the good old Daily Mail for all manner of skin ills: turkey neck, saggy knees, crinkly décolleté…it looks to me like if you can point to it, you can fix it!
So, after all that, I worked myself up into an excited frenzy and am now booked in for a consultation with the biggest practitioner of Thermage® in Europe and I can’t wait for them to get their hands on my wrinkles!
Ba Ba Fat Sheep
You’ve eaten healthily, tried the 5:2 diet, cut out refined sugar and stopped indulging as if it was still Christmas, but if you’ve had a darling little one, you will know that losing the baby weight is by no means the end of the story. Yes the elasticity needs fixing, tick, but what about the strange pockets of fat you start to find beneath your belly button, bulging out of the top of your Spanx®, sitting comfortably underneath your bra? It felt like every day there was a new discovery and after squeezing, grabbing, and tugging at no less than six of these nasty fat pouches, I decided it was time for action. Enter the master of all fat busting…CoolSculpting by Zeltiq…and its partner in the battle against the bulge, Tracy Mountford’s multi award-winning UK Cosmetic Skin Clinic. The Clinic has received an award for their services to fat reduction having treated more satisfied customers than anyone else in Europe. The clinic is buzzing with people embarking on a transformative treatment program and I’m excited.
CoolSculpting literally freezes and reduces stubborn exercise- and diet-resistant fat in target areas. It has robust clinicals that show that on a suitable candidate when treated by an expert clinician, the procedure can reduce fat in the treated areas for good (yes!) by an average of 23%. Additional treatments in the same or multiple areas are said to enhance the desired aesthetic effect.
So off I go to Stoke Poges where Frances Devine (and that’s her real name), one of Tracy’s team of top Aesthetic Medical Practitioners, took care of me and put together a bespoke treatment package to tackle all my lumps and give me my waist back. Talking to her about my concerns and listening to her plan of action not only put me at ease but Frances made me feel like I was talking to a best friend. She is such a delight and so knowledgeable about the treatment, as is the entire team. “Our Mission is to provide excellence in delivering the highest quality cosmetic treatments in an extremely professional, yet relaxed and friendly environment,” says Tracy and they have certainly achieved that.
I have embarked on a schedule of CoolSculpting treatments over the course of a month or two and I haven’t got a bad word to say about the whole experience so far. Each treatment is quick and there is no discomfort to speak of really, apart from a strong pinch, followed by tingling and then nothing. Numbness.
Stay tuned to find out how I get on after the 60-day wait for optimal results. Frances was sure to weigh me and take 360-degree pre-treatment photos so that after my treatment program I can get a real idea of how effective it’s all been. I get the feeling I will not be disappointed (shrill shriek of excitement)!
Love from London
The flagship Red Door Spa on Fifth Avenue has a new, hipper buddy in Union Square.
The new The Red Door debuted a few weeks ago as a Prius-like hybrid: a blend of speed spa services (25 minutes, tops) and more traditional hour-long massages and facials. The new store rubs shoulders with the Sephora at Union Square, and is a gorgeous piece of work, with two layers of spa sumptuousness (the longer, more labyrinth-like spa is downstairs, with its quiet rooms and lounge).
CALMDownstairs Lounge (All Photos Courtesy of The Red Door)
The Red Door Union Square Ladies Lounge
The 10,000 square foot spa offers everything from hair styling and nail services to the futuristic and much-needed Custom Color Foundation. The new exclusive technology is a machine that looks like one-part MRI, one part smoothie maker. A picture is taken of your skin, and the Custom Color machine does its permutations/combinations and gives you a small vial that every customer gets to go home with whenever she or he books an appointment at The Red Door. There is also a Custom Skin Reader, where you can get your skin analyzed.
The CalmDOWNstairs lower level with 14 treatment rooms is a bit of a contrast to the SpeedUPstairs level: it offers thoughtful details and touches from a textured lounge with Swarovski-crystal like chandeliers and a cafe where you can grab a cappuccino to a sleek manicure chair, which is garnished with a pillow and throw so that you truly feel at home (why didn’t someone think of that sooner?). The best part is that you can get both a manicure and a pedicure at the same time.
The two SpeedUPstairs treatment rooms are sliver-sized, and mirror New York’s real estate crunch, but the treatments themselves are highly efficient. I experienced a 25-minute Urban Renewal Microdermabrasion Mini Facial ($125), which exfoliated my skin and reduced my bumps, zits, and discolorations in a flat 25 minutes using a diamond-tip wand. That’s faster than my morning commute. It was a very pleasant, efficient experience and I got to receive my custom color right after my treatment, so it was like getting a present after a great treatment.
The expedited treatments have cheeky New York-centric names includeing the Queens Expressway ($80), a time-saver facial, and the Bree-Zee Pass ($125), an oxygen-infusion mini facial. Speed was never so sexy.
The Red Door is definitely a hangout spa destination, if you choose it to be, and offers a resort-style atmosphere amidst the hustle and grind of the city. The lower level lounge and cafe is a destination in and of itself, and there is plenty of shopping nearby.
Just open the door, and chill.
The Red Door Union Square, 200 Park Avenue South (at 17th Street), New York, NY 10003