Call it “French girl”, glass or glazed doughnut skin. It’s the beauty look everyone from Victoria Beckham to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is sporting … and this is who they go to achieve it.
Melanie Grant, the Australian celebrity facialist and Chanel skin expert, knows beauty is only skin deep … quite literally. Now based in London, Grant recently returned to her studio in Sydney to herald Chanel’s new season beauty. Speaking at her Double Bay headquarters, Grant reveals how to achieve plump, smooth and most importantly, glowing skin at any age – for spring, summer and everywhere in between.
Q: A lot has been written about “French girl beauty”, a signature of not only Chanel skincare, but also makeup. How would you describe the French girl aesthetic? And what is the skin prep to achieve it?
MG: “Australian and French approaches to beauty are very similar in a lot of ways. We’re both focused on skin health first and make up second and there’s a simplicity and preference for “less is more” to both. When it comes to make up I love the French approach of starting with a bright, refined and radiant complexion and choosing one feature to accentuate – a bold red lip, a fluffy, sculpted brow or a beautiful smokey eye.”
Q: What do you think is behind the growing popularity of skincare – and skin as a focal point – for self care and beauty?
MG: “I’ve definitely noticed a marked shift toward skincare as self-care over the past few years. I love that we’re all becoming increasingly unapologetic about the practices – however big or small – that we carry out to look after our skin and as an extension, our nervous systems. The condition of your skin is a true reflection of your inner health. It’s a mirror for everything going on in your body – from gut health to hormonal imbalances, stress levels, sleep habits to diet and lifestyle. Taking care of your skin, whether following a minimalist or maximalist approach, is a key part of our overall self care. The most comprehensive approach is one that considers the care of the skin from a 360 degree standpoint, where you treat the skin as one part of the whole person.”
Q: As Australia enters spring – and soon, summer – how does our skincare routine need to change and adapt for the new season?
MG: “The best way to navigate seasonal skin changes without investing in an entirely new regime is to stick to a core edit of products, pairing these with a handful of “swaps” and a couple of “supports”. Coming into summer, ‘swaps’ could be a gel or lathering cleanser in place of nourishing milks or balms, or replacing your heavier eye cream with an eye serum to prevent makeup transfer as the humidity spikes. ‘Supports’ are additional things like antioxidant mists or targeted essences that can be used to boost your existing products and keep them relevant year round. Anything you’re placing on hold will usually store well in the fridge for a couple of months until you’re ready to use it again.”
Q: What are the biggest mistakes we tend to make when it comes to skincare in the warmer months?
MG: “Being consistent with sun care and antioxidant protection for the face is pretty manageable to maintain throughout the seasons, though what I often notice come summer is that it’s easy to forget about our shoulders and decollate. These parts of our skin become exposed to the damaging effects of UVA and UVB when the weather warms, so taking extra care to shield them with a physical block like a linen scarf or umbrella, and then taking the time to apply your serums and sunscreen over these areas and topping up as needed will help to prevent pigment, poikiloderma and sun solar lentigines developing later down the track.”
Q: Chanel’s Sublimage range is described as “high performance” (it is a line of rich, ultra-hydrating formulations featuring Vanilla Planifolia as the “hero” ingredient). How does it set itself apart from other products in the skincare market?
MG: “Sublimage is a sophisticated line of products that works with clinical actives such as AHAs, chronopeptides and hyaluronic acid, paired with beautiful botanical extracts like white birch to brighten, argan oil for lipids, firming harungana and redensifying solidago. When used in combination, the Sublimage collection leaves the skin completely refined, renewed and revitalised.”
Q: As an ingredient, what does the Vanilla Planifolia in Chanel’s Sublimage range achieve?
MG: “Vanilla Planifolia is rich in concentrated polyphenols that have the potential to counteract signs of cellular degeneration like pigment, laxity and collagen loss. This unique plant also offers potent antioxidant protection and a high content of essential fatty acids to prevent trans epidermal water loss and promote a strong and resilient skin barrier.”
Q: Your roster spans Victoria Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Dua Lipa and Cate Blanchett. Outline the steps of a facial performed on your clients using Sublimage – and what skin concerns each step targets.
MG: “The Sublimage range combines hydration, lipid nourishment and antioxidant protection all in one, making it ideal for a massage-centric facial protocol. Incorporating the range with massage techniques allows skin to be infused with nutrition while boosting circulation and oxygenating the tissues from within. I like to pair these replenishing formulas with LED Light Therapy to boost circulation, hydration and stimulate collagen and elastin renewal and enhance their firming and nourishing properties for complete skin renewal.”
Q: How can you maintain results at home?
MG: “For a revitalising Sublimage facial experience at home, you can start with the SUBLIMAGE GEL-TO-OIL CLEANSER to remove dirt, grime and debris. Apply the product onto dry skin, working it over the face, neck and decollate before removing with tepid water and then repeating a second time to ensure the skin is completely free of impurities. Follow this with the SUBLIMAGE LA LOTION LUMIÈRE EXFOLIANTE: decant a splash of the essence into your palms and gently press into the face, neck and decollate, avoiding the eye contour. Apply a walnut sized amount of the SUBLIMAGE MASQUE across the face, neck and decollate and leave to infuse for twenty minutes before removing with tepid water or gently with a damp wash cloth. Refresh the complexion and add another layer of hydration with a mist of SUBLIMAGE LA BRUME. Decant six drops of the SUBLIMAGE L’ESSENCE FONDAMENTALE and press into the skin. Work a small amount of SUBLIMAGE LA CRÈME YEUX into the delicate eye contour using your ring fingers and a gentle pressure, starting at the outer corner of the orbital bone and working inward and then up and over the eyelid. Finish with a firm facial massage and your preferred texture of SUBLIMAGE LA CRÈME – your technique need not be complicated. Simply work outward and upward using your facial contours as a guide, always lifting the skin against gravity.”
For more on Chanel’s Sublimage range, click here.