Where does your passion for beauty and cosmetics have its roots?
I was raised by a mother who was addicted to beauty products and was always looking for new things. If tomorrow a world war broke out, my mother would have cosmetics for months, she stocks them in her dedicated closets that look like a drugstore! She introduced me to skincare techniques and passed on her passion for cosmetics. When I was a child, we “played” at the spa and she was my first guinea pig! At school, I had a lot of difficulties, being dislexic. So I decided to go into aesthetics at 16 and it was a revelation. I discovered a new universe that was totally in line with my expectations, everything spoke to me.
What were the main lines of your career?
I started working in 2007. I have always had a predilection for facials and massage techniques, so I started with general aesthetics. After starting in Marseille, I opened my own institute in Aix en Provence. I then decided to go abroad, and so I headed for London. I learned English there, then I joined a Japanese wellness center. This confirmed my desire to focus on facials and Japanese practices, and the idea of combining several Western and Asian treatment techniques began to take shape. I then had the desire to work in New York. I worked there as an esthetician in several medi-spas, which allowed me to position myself, to know what I wanted – or not – to explore. In 2018, my career took a turn: I returned to London and started to develop my own skincare technique.
What are your latest beauty favourites?
The concept of eco-responsibility alone is not enough to seduce me, but I have to admit that when you find truly effective products that are also environmentally friendly, it’s ideal. I really like In fiore, a Californian brand created by Julie Elliott, a botanist who created a range of products inspired by Japanese skincare routines. Decoctions of plants with soothing properties, natural smells and above all, we notice a real effect on the skin. I also like Oskia, an English brand with regenerative properties, they have an excellent product with vitamin C. I would also mention Delbôve, a Belgian brand of natural cosmetics that I often use.
You also create your own formulas. Can you tell us more about them?
Yes, I use grandmother’s remedies, ancestral African recipes or ayurvedic recipes.
I usually target a specific ingredient with multiple properties, such as baobab oil or castor oil, which is the starting point for my preparations. I then concoct my own products, assembling complementary ingredients and plants according to the desired effect.
Doesn’t this make you want to create your own brand?
S,i of course! This is one of the projects that is close to my heart, and will come in due time! All in good time…
There is a real craze around the “facialist” phenomenon. What do you think about it?
I think it’s a good thing, because it restores the image of beauticians and it enhances the individuality of the paths. As everywhere, there are more or less opportunistic approaches that surf on this trend but time will sort it out, and I sincerely believe that in the long run only the passionate and trained people will be valued.
As someone who works with many fashion insiders, do you see a shift in attitudes on these critical issues?
I’ve had a front row seat over the years, and I know firsthand the frustrations of a young black girl who goes to a spa and is told commonplace myths. When it comes to applying makeup to a black model or one with a skin tone that deviates from the white standard, makeup artists often don’t have the right products, and the results aren’t up to par. Fenty has been instrumental in addressing these issues, and many brands have followed suit. But it took a long time! One of my clients is a famous black actor, who explains to me that most of the time when he sees himself in interviews, his skin is grey. Some models are reduced to bringing their own products to shoots, and this is not acceptable. I have noticed that in the United States, I have a strong echo, because Americans see me as one of the personalities who contributes to the progress of things on the old continent. However, mentalities are beginning to evolve, and I am delighted to be one of the actors of this progression. In the long run, I hope to be able to train on this type of issue.
What are your plans? Given your success, do you plan to open an institute?
I came back to France to open my own space. Covid has passed by and this project has been postponed, but I hope to have my own space in 2022. The idea is to pass on my know-how to be able to meet the growing demand, as I am starting to reach my limits in terms of availability. I don’t want to create mass trainings on a large scale, because according to me, to do well I have to train each person after the other.
What are your self-care rituals, and how do you take care of yourself when your hands are your main working tool?
I used to take a lot of clients and I was very tired, now I limit myself to four clients a day. My mindset is fundamentally different, I make less money but it suits me so much better! I sincerely believe that a client feels the accumulated fatigue at the end of the day, and I always want to offer everyone a unique experience, where I am 100% present. There are things I avoid doing in order to preserve my hands, which are indeed my work tool: in London, I had started to practice climbing but I had to give it up. All day long, I do small exercises, a kind of manual gym to preserve my joints.
I also meditate every day and I regularly go to see Paula, a healer specializing in centering and energizing. In England and in particular in the East End of London, this culture is very present, popularized by events like Glastonbury. I was a bit skeptical at the beginning but it feels really good. His little mindfulness exercises help me to manage my stress, to center myself. I practice them every night before going to sleep, and I allow myself ten minutes without screens or distractions while lying in bed; my thoughts are clearer and it recharges my batteries.
How has your business adapted to the pandemic and successive lockdowns?
My Instagram community has jumped during each lockdown. People are getting back to basics, reclaiming their bodies and listening more to their sensations. Massage videos are a real hit, and the Tik Tok generation is raising awareness of this type of content among parents. I will never spit on social media, because I wouldn’t have the career I have without Instagram. During this pandemic, I’ve also seen how informed the younger generation is about beauty and how much they’re challenging the clichés about feminism, which we like to caricature and contrast with feminity and beauty in general.
Source : 21.01.2021 by Mélanie Mendelewitsch