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Time For Tea: British Afternoon Tea Week

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There are few things in life more indulgent than sipping fine tea, eating crust-less sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and fine patisserie. So there’s little wonder that there’s a whole week dedicated to the delights of afternoon tea: British Afternoon Tea Week.

But did you know that tea isn’t just great for drinking? It’s also an active ingredient in many brilliant beauty products. Never ones to miss an opportunity to enjoy life’s little luxuries here at PretAirporter, we’ve picked out the best of all things tea for you to pick up from duty free…Gently apply the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum after cleansing to keep skin feeling soft and supple. Available from Shilla Duty Free.

Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisture’s key ingredient is white tea. With complementary essential oils spearmint, lemon, orange and bergamot providing an invigorating scent. This green tea face mask by Real Nature contains a clear serum, that soothes skin stressed by busy city living, leaving you feeling revitalised. Available from Shilla Duty Free.

Perfect for the tea connoisseur, Jo Malone’s Rare Tea perfume collection is inspired by some of the finest global teas, including: Silver Needle Tea, with nuances of rose, sage and musk, Darjeeling Tea with jasmine, freesia and apricot, Jade Leaf Tea with pomelo, sesame and maté leaf, Oolong Tea with cocoa, tobacco leaf and notes of tonka bean, Midnight Black Tea – pu-erh with vanilla and amber and Gold Needle Tea with sandal wood and benzoin resin.

Molton Brown’s Blooming Honeysuckle and White Tea Bath and Shower Gel will leave you smelling like an English garden. Available from World Duty Free.

A delicate and sophisticated fragrance: White Tea by Elizabeth Arden contains musky, woody and floral aromas with hints of Italian mandarin, Turkish rose and sea breeze accord.

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Victoria Beckham Introduces Second Make-up Collection With Estée Lauder

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September sees the launch of Victoria Beckham’s second collaboration with Estée Lauder in airport shops. Building on the global success of the first partnership, ten hero products will be reintroduced, alongside eighteen new products and four limited edition sets.

“With this make-up collection, I want to make women everywhere feel empowered, beautiful and confident. Inspired by my favourite cities in the world, this collection reflects my own personal beauty vision,” says Beckham.

Click through for a closer look

The range – which references Miami, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris – includes new highlighters, mascaras, eye palettes, and matte lipsticks.

“My experience in front of the camera has taught me how the right light can create the perfect skin tone and texture, and give definition to bone structure. These signature products recreate that same effect for you. They are the starting point for every one of my City Looks and are all you need for fresh, glowing skin and beautifully defined features.”

Available at Estée Lauder airport shopping locations in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Terminal South, Dublin International airport, and JFK New York Terminals 1 and 8.

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Metallic is the New Matte: The Latest Lipstick Trend

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While it might be more daring than your usual look, metallic lips don’t have to be exclusively for make-up experts. You too can try the latest trend with our handy tips for creating your own dramatic (or surprisingly subtle) look.

First, exfoliate your lips beforehand, as the shine is best achieved on smooth lips. Use a lip scrub, or apply a little lip balm and rub gently with a soft toothbrush to help ensure the perfect pout.

Balance the metallic shine with your favourite base matte lipstick. This will create dimension, as well as preserving your look for longer. You can even experiment with shading and toning. Apply a little metallic sheen in the centre of your mouth for a soft shimmer, or use more liberally for a shiny effect.

Still not totally convinced? Why not experiment and try mixing some metallic eyeshadow with clear lip gloss, or apply your favourite colour and pat on a little glittery eyeshadow. Simple.

Here are some of our favourite products to achieve this look, all of which are available from The Shilla Duty Free Singapore:

Add some dramatic sparkle with Urban Decay’s Vice Special Effects Long-Lasting Water-Resistant Lip Topcoat
For a glossy shine with a subtle sparkle, try Givenchy Gloss Interdit Lipgloss
Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro promises intense colour for eight hours

 

With hydrating hyaluronic acid, Shiseido’s Perfect Rouge Tender Sheer provides a long-lasting moisture effect, enabling smooth lips.
Bobbi Brown’s Salmon provides a subtle sheen or the perfect base for more daring shades.
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine in Corial Jalouse – the name says it all.
Revlon’s wax-free Ultra HD Lip Lacquer is available in 15 shades, providing high-impact shine and vivid colour yet still feels lightweight on lips.
L’oreal Paris Le Rouge Colour Riche in Beige Sienna provides the ideal colour base for more daring looks.

 

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From Table To The Skin: Why Men Need Algae In Their Skincare Regimen

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A Danish-English author Isak Dineson, once prescribed that “the cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea”.

She was only valuing the sea for its mystical virtues at the time, however scientists, cosmetic chemists and beauty laboratories have continued to find grooming and healing power in salty seawater since.

Microalgae, what the foodies might know as seaweed (hello nori roll), is having a major moment in grooming at the moment. And especially on the men skincare counters.

While L’Oreal bosses in the UK have predicted that male make-up counters will become a reality in the next five years, some of the biggest players in beauty world are hailing this super ingredient for its rehabilitative powers and good bacteria.

And why wouldn’t they? There are scientific studies out there proving that seaweed, algae and all things marine boast over 23 types of vitamins and minerals, and are superior to coconut-based products even.

Little did we know that the slimy green stuff that sits at the bottom of the sea bed, wraps itself around our ankles, and facilitates our fall underwater, could be responsible for pausing the clock on ageing.

When washed up on the shore, roughly 36 per cent of seaweed’s mass consists of sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, as well as, micronutrients such as iodine, copper and zinc. In fact, further studies have proven that seaweed is a major carrier of antioxidants, in addition to being an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory.

The elegantly dancing ribbons of the green algae might cling to the rocks in the deep end of the ocean, but their strength is found when their life is at jeopardy. Under harsh conditions, algae doesn’t wither away, it shows persistence even in extreme environmental conditions. So when it’s this powerful under the sea, just imagine how potent and efficient it can be when applied topically to the skin.

The epicurean world is already a step ahead with the inclusion of this blue-green stuff in lunch menus, but the beauty industry is catching up too. There has been an influx of products in the market featuring algae and micro-algae extracts, but luxury beauty brand La Mer is arguably the leader of the lot.

 

In what might read like an unauthorised script from Terminator 2, in the 1950s, the founder of La Mer, Dr Max Huber, became victim to very serious chemical burns on his face while working in his laboratory. As no medicine offered complete healing, the aerospace scientist spent 12 years to develop a range of products that would help give skin a dramatically smoother appearance. He used a variety of kelp found near his Californian home to create an elixir that would restore his skin. As Dr Huber’s wounds healed, La Mer’s most powerful product was born. This highly concentrated Miracle Broth is celebrated for its skin regeneration properties today, and can be found in one of the brand’s cult product, The Concentrate.

 

Super-active serums might not have a permanent spot in men’s grooming ritual yet, but clinical evidence has shown that seaweed compounds can tackle that post-shave dryness and redness. One such kind is the marine variety of the Bobbi Brown Remedies Skin Relief Concentrate. This weightless serum glides on the skin, soaks in within minutes and reduces irritation immediately. This formula contains Israeli red algae, plus knotted kelp harvested in France to prevent the skin from further irritation.

 

Oily skin, lads? Don’t fret. When oil is extracted from algae, it delivers better in the hydration department, as the concentration of vitamins and antioxidants turns up a notch. The cocktail of seaweed, cocoa butter and sunflower extract in Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream for Men give this daily cream its extra hydration powers.

 

The algae, chlorella and chlorophyllin extract in Estée Lauder Nutritious Micro Algae Pore Purifying Cleansing Bar has been proven to reduce wrinkle depth and age spots dramatically. Raising the bar in men’s skincare, this soap is best used to wash off impurities and dirt, and no, it doesn’t smell like the sea.

 

Another product to pack for your favourite shoreline hangout is the La Prairie Advanced Marine Biology Tonic. Not necessarily marketed for men, but this marine-rich tonic is like green juice for the skin. Its results-driven formula merges the active ingredients with the botanical compounds upon application, promising illuminated, hydrated and oxygen-rich skin.

Turns out 18th-century physician Dr Richard Russell was onto something when he said: “One must drink sea water, bathe in it and eat all manner of marine life in which its virtue is concentrated”.

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Retinol: What Is It And What Are The Benefits?

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A cursory glance at the shelves of any pharmacy or beauty store will reveal a whole host of pseudo-scientific names and ingredients. They all promise miracles but how do you sort the real deal from the mumbo jumbo? Well, here at PretAirporter HQ, we’re inundated with beauty samples and press releases, so we’ve picked up a thing or two (i.e. spend wisely on skincare, and ditch the blue eyeshadow). Of course, we’re all about sharing so here’s your need-to-know about the biggest buzz in anti-ageing since SPF.

What is retinol?

Retinol is the animal form of Vitamin A, which is used for anti-ageing and found in many skincare products.

What are the benefits of retinol on your skin?

Retinol can be absorbed into the skin and, when combined with certain enzymes, it’s converted into tretinoin (the acid form of vitamin A, also known as retinoic acid). Retinoic acid works to increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen and elastin production, decrease hyperpigmentation, and help skin stay hydrated and glowing. Using a high quality skincare product with retinol will visibly reduce the appearance of sun damage, brown spots, lines, wrinkles and large pores. The result? A smoother, more even-toned look.

How do you use retinol?

Be aware that retinol can cause your skin to become more sensitive to UV rays, so it’s vital to layer up on SPF creams in the day. You’ll find that most retinol products (especially the really concentrated ones) are best for overnight use.

See the best retinol products below

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair & Buffer Cream available at World Duty Free stores
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Wrinkle Treatment at Boots airport stores
REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream available at airport stores
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The Best Airport Gifts for Your Fashionista Friends

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You’re probably having the best time ever on your vacation. It’s all about you, right? Well, what happens when you completely forget about getting souvenirs for your fashion-forward best friends back home? You know they’ll be bummed out if you return with this season’s Chanel and they’re left empty handed.

Don’t worry because we’ve got the best solution: airport shopping. No doubt, the airport may not be the first place you think of when buying gifts for your style conscious besties but we promise, these chic gift ideas will change your mind.

Here are our top 5 a la mode airport gifts for your style maven BFFs:

A Fashion Magazine

A post shared by Vogue España (@voguespain) on

This gift will come in particularly handy if you’re in a country that has their own version of Vogue or a magazine that’s unique to them. You can pick one up for your trend-setting bestie and give her the knowledge of what fads are happening in a chic, foreign country. Don’t worry about it being in a different language – only the most hard-core fashion junkies read every word.

Where to buy: Hudson’s News
Location: Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport, Terminal 1, Floor 1, Departures, Boarding Area B

Make-up Inspired by Your Vacation

If you were in Japan, a stop at Fa-So-La in Narita Airport is definitely worth it. They have a wide variety of all the best cosmetics from Chanel to Guerlain, Givenchy to Anna Sui. Try a bold red lip with a translucent powder and liquid eyeliner to embody your trip to Japan. L’Occitane also has a special “Provence in Japan” collection to further customise your gift.

Where to buy: Fa-So-La
Location: Narita Airport, Terminal 1, South Wing, 3rd Floor

A Cute Pair of Pyjamas


Anyone who’s into fashion knows how important beauty rest is. After all, it’s not only our clothes that must look fabulous! However, true fashionistas can’t just get any old, run-of-the-mill sleep. They must look amazing while getting some shut eye. Get your Best Friend Forever a glitzy embellished sleep mask and a matching pyjama set to really boost her beauty sleep.

Where to buy: Victoria’s Secret
Location: John F. Kennedy Airport, Terminal 4, Post-Security, Retail Hall – West

Airport Spa Gift Card with a Mini Manicure Set

A post shared by Be Relax Spa (@berelax_spa) on

Your best friend is a stylish woman. She’s probably a jetsetter just like you, too. For this reason, it’s safe to assume that she’s going to be passing through the airport soon. I mean, after she hears about your trip she’s bound to book one herself. Get her a gift card to an airport spa so she can get her claws flawlessly manicured pre-flight.

Where to buy: Be Relax Spa
Location: Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 1, Gate 12

A Handbag Filled with Sweets


What’s better than receiving a handbag? One that’s filled with sweet treats! Not all fashionistas are watching their weight closely enough to deny themselves a box of Harrod’s biscuits. You’d have to be mad. And the only ‘mad’ we’re talking here is madly delicious.

Where to buy: Kate Spade Pop-Up at Heathrow Airport
Location: London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5

Oh, and make sure you grab a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc at Duty Free for when you catch her up on all your romantic adventures, shopping sprees and Instagram Stories.

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Rise and shine: 5 PretAirporter staffers share their morning beauty routine

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Christina Attwood, publishing director

I like to keep my skincare very simple so I’ll use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser first thing in the morning, before applying Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner . They’re both nice and easy products that deliver on their promises.

I’ll follow this up with Perricone MD Cold Plasma Face, which is an excellent anti-ageing pre-moisturiser. You save a lot of money buying it in duty free, so I like to stock up when I’m travelling. Originally a pharmaceutical-style product made by the famous dermatologist Dr Perricone, this gel is not scented or packaged for the luxe skincare market. Instead, it’s a little more underground but the brand has a big following in the US. It’s a great product.

With my skin now prepped for hydration, I’ll apply a small amount of Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX Light. You don’t need a lot of this as it’s powerful stuff, which means your lovely golden pot will last and last. Sulwhasoo is one of my favourite Korean skincare brands and this product is ideal for day use as it’s not heavy or greasy so make-up applies like a dream over it.

Benefit Puff Off Eye Gel is an absolute must for tired eyes (all those air miles take their toll), before applying Yves Saint Laurent’s inimitable Touche Éclat. To this day, Touche Éclat remains one of the best eye products on the market in my opinion.

Tess Harold, editor and social media manager

I massage The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil on to my dry face every day, before wiping it off with a hot damp muslin cloth. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t feel properly awake unless I do this in the morning. Then, while my face feels all lovely and ‘steamed’, I’ll apply The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum. 2% might not sound like a lot, but for hyaluronic acid you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your buck.

After that, I mix a drop of NIOD Photography Fluid, Tan Opacity 8% to WASO Color-smart Day Moisturizer SPF 30 and rub that on to my face using my fingers. Maybe it’s because it’s summer right now, but the last thing I feel like smearing on my skin is a thick and heavy foundation. This tinted moisturiser and photography fluid blend works a treat.

Finally, it’s pretty much just swiping on a slick of Clinique Chubby Stick™ Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry before dashing out of the door. I’ve got the whole thing down to under ten minutes.

Clare Austin, associate editor

In common with many working mothers I have had to fine-tune my morning routine down to a scant two minutes. I use as gentle a cleanser as possible on account of having sensitive skin. At the moment I’m using Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel. It leaves my skin feeling clean but not tight.

Listen to your mother/the experts when they say make time for sun-block as your face will thank you for it in the years to come. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50 (the non-perfumed cream version) is my facial sunblock of choice. Crucially, it looks like you aren’t wearing sun cream as it isn’t chalky or greasy. Everyone needs a little Korean skincare magic in their daily routine these days and for me, the fragrance alone is worth using Hera Signia Eye Treatment for. It is so gorgeous that even on a hectic morning it makes me stop for a second and breathe a little more deeply. It’s a rich eye cream, but it’s fine for my eyes which have a tendency to go red and watery at the slightest irritation.

After the eye cream, I paint Bobbi Brown Corrector under my eyes and pat it in to conceal the dark circles. Lastly, I love bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream as it instantly makes you look more awake and healthy. Someone gave me the tip of using one shade darker than you would naturally go for – it then almost works as a bronzer and gives this great sun-kissed glow. Ta-da! Ready to face the world…

Helen Pawson, associate editor

I’m not one for rushing in the mornings and you’ll hardly ever catch me leaving the house in my au naturel state, so I allow around 30 minutes for the full face wash and make-up routine.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been washing my face with WASO Quick Gentle Cleanser – a product from Shiseido’s new range for millennials.  A small amount applied on dry skin is all that is required; it foams nicely and leaves my skin feeling clean. Besides being a lovely cleanser, the bottle looks very cute in my bathroom cabinet.

Once my skin is clean, it’s back to Shiseido for some Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate. Just two pumps of this serum leaves my skin feeling smooth and plumped. Now, I apply my Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. There aren’t many women out there who don’t own an Eight Hour product and I find it works well on my dry skin.

Now the base is prepared, I apply lashings – I am a sucker for long eyelashes – of mascara. At the minute, I swap between Benefit They’re Real! Mascara and Elizabeth Arden Lasting Impression Mascara. If I’m having a short eyelash day then I’ll use both.

Next, I’ll apply Boots No 7 Airbrush Away Primer. After months of applying foundation straight on to moisturised skin, I now never make the mistake of not prepping skin with a primer. No 7 Airbrush Away Primer allows my foundation, which I’ll come onto next, to glide on evenly and smoothly.

For the ultimate, long-lasting coverage it has to be Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation. For me, no foundation compares to this and I’ve tried the likes of Armani, Tom Ford, Clé de Peau and Lancôme. A lot of foundations claim to last for 12+ hours but Double Wear really does. I’ve been known to take a flight from London to Singapore wearing the foundation and it is still in place on arrival. It doesn’t feel heavy, doesn’t smudge and acts as a concealer for under eyes too.

I’m a big fan of defined eyebrows so I’ll finish my face off by using L’Oréal Paris Super Liner Brow Artist. It’s by no means a high-end make-up product but it’s cheap and cheerful and creates a great brow shape.

Zoë Pincombe, intern

I’ve got sensitive skin, so for me Clinique Extra-Mild Facial Soap is the perfect product for my morning facial cleanse. I follow this with Kiehl’s Actively Correcting and Beautifying BB Cream, which covers a multitude of sins (including dark eyes) and treats any blemishes as well as hiding them. And with an SPF of 50, it provides all the sun protection I need so it eliminates the need for heavy sun cream. Not being a fan of strong perfumes, a quick spritz of Elizabeth Arden Green Tea and Lavender Eau de Toilette provides a delicate, feel-good fragrance.

When your hair is as long as mine (mid-thigh length) an efficient brush is essential if I want to get out the door on time. My Tangle Teezer is a revelation and its compact size makes it ideal for travelling too. Last, but certainly not least, L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream keeps my skin feeling soft and smooth all day.

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Say It With Cake: Lips Café Pop-Up Celebrates 5 Years of T Galleria Beauty

The LIPS CAFÉ at T Galleria Beauty in Hysan Place, Causeway Bay
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There are few better ways to celebrate a birthday than with a combo of cosmetics and cake. To mark five years of T Galleria Beauty at Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, luxury travel retailer DFS has opened the Lips Café. Head to Hysan Place Level 1 between 10am and 10pm to enjoy make-up themed treats during August.

Thanks to the expertise of Habitu, a popular artisan café based in Hong Kong, the menu will feature rings of cake. The tempting flavours include: Pink Parisian Rose, Purple Taro, Nude Latte with Pistachio and Red Strawberry. Or if you prefer something crunchy there are lip-shaped cookie-pops (HK$28/piece) or First Class Beauty cookie bags (HK$36/5 pieces).

But it is August, so if you’re feeling too hot for cake, don’t fret. Sample a delicious ice-pop (or two, we won’t tell) available in: Mango-Orange, Strawberry and Cream, Caffè Rosa and Watermelon Roselle flavours. Wash it all down with a Cute Kiss Rose Almond Milk Shake, Rouge Kiss Beetroot Cucumber Habiccino or Candy Kiss Roselle Habiccino Iced Tea.

And if that’s got your artistic juices flowing, between 3pm and 7pm on weekends, the Lips Café is hosting complimentary cookie decorating workshops with the founder of Sugar Me Kissery.

It’s lip painting, but not as you know it. Decorate biscuits not your lips on Saturdays and Sundays between 3pm and 7pm.

There are plenty of opportunities to win some great prizes and enjoy some bonus rewards too.

Spend more than HK$1,200 at the weekend at T Galleria Beauty and receive a lip shaped cookie-pop, whilst spending over HK$1,800 will allow you to play the First Class Beauty instant-win digital game. The main prize is a pair of business class air tickets to Okinawa (yes, please). The runner-up prizes include, deluxe beauty hampers valued at HK$5,000, fashion accessories and cash vouchers. Personalize your own T Galleria Beauty fifth anniversary tote bag with iron-on patches, if you spend HK$3,000.

Right, we’re off for our sugar fix…

The instant win First Class Beauty digital game offer the chance to win some fantastic prizes

 

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5 Of The Best Beauty Brands For French Girl Chic

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If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my time living on the planet as a human female, it is that ‘French Girl Chic’ is shorthand for a certain type of insouciant beauty. It’s Léa Seydoux’s gap-toothed smile. It’s Mélanie Laurent’s no-make-up make-up. It’s Alexa Chung’s hair – because, yes, French Girl Chic is not limited to the French.

Ask any self-respecting model what they pack in their carry-on and they’ll rattle off a list of beauty products that they picked up in a Parisian pharmacy. But don’t worry if you’re not jetting off to France anytime soon, as airport stores and even in-flight retail are stocking up on these bestselling French beauty brands.

Vichy

Founded by Dr Haller in 1931, Vichy Laboratoires is renowned for products that work wonders for sensitive skin. The key ingredient in the range (Vichy Mineralising Water) is sourced from the heart of the volcanic Auvergne region and is naturally rich in 15 different minerals. This Minéral 89 serum combines Vichy Thermal Mineralising Water with Hyaluronic acid, to regenerate and strengthen the skin barrier.

Vichy Minéral 89 Serum

Caudalie

In what is possibly the most French paragrah to ever have been written, Caudalie’s website reads: “What does the term caudalie mean? A caudalie [kodali] is a unit measuring the duration of the wine’s flavour on the palate. For each second the flavour remains this is a caudalie. A quality wine will contain many caudalies.” This might seem wildly irrelevant for a beauty brand, until you consider that Caudalie was founded in the vineyards of Bordeaux. This Vinoperfect essence is halfway between a toner and a serum, and it’s ideal for plumping up the skin.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

La Roche-Posay

With packaging that looks like it belongs in a first aid kit, La Roche-Posay skincare is serious stuff and comes recommended by over 25,000 dermatologists worldwide. It’s built up a loyal fanbase of beauty aficionados thanks to its tangible results, and its sun protection range is second to none. This innovative UV-monitoring patch, for instance, is typical of the scientific approach of the brand.

Biotherm

In 1952, Jeanine Marissal began adding thermal plankton extract from the mountain springs of Molitg-Les-Bains to her formulations. It was the first time plankton had been used in skincare, and thus, Biotherm (a combination of “Biology” and “Thermal”) was born. With its subtle fragrance and anti-stain formula, this Deo Pure Invisible 48-hour antiperspirant roll-on is an absolute must for long haul flights.

 

Nuxe

In the early nineties Aliza Jabès started NUXE, a small formulation laboratory in Paris. From there, her beauty empire expanded and NUXE is now represented in over 70 countries. Best known for their Huile Prodigieuse dry oil, the brand is nonetheless making waves in the facial skincare department too. This new Crème Fraîche de Beauté would be a dream to apply ahead of a flight as it nourishes and protects the skin from the drying effects of air-conditioning.

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YSL Beauty names Zoë Kravitz Global Make-Up Ambassador

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YSL Beauty has announced the appointment of actress and musician Zoë Kravitz as their new Global Make-Up Ambassador. In her latest role, Kravitz will front the Tatouage Couture campaign which launches later this month.

Previously, Kravitz starred in the YSL Beauty project ‘Before the Light’ which showcased emerging musicians from around the world preparing to hit the limelight.

Photo: Élodie Daguin

“YSL Beauty has always been one of my favourite brands,” revealed Zoë Kravitz. “Their ability to combine the chicest of styles with a raw edge has always been to me one of the best ways to express yourself through fashion and beauty. Nothing is forced, nothing is fake but everything is bold, strong and unafraid. I’m very excited to work with this legendary and timeless company.”

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A vision of beauty: How François Nars makes the world look good

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Make-up artist, photographer, businessman, creative director. François Nars makes the make-up that make-up artists love. He should know what he’s doing having worked as a successful make-up artist himself before setting up his eponymous company in 1994 with a collection of 12 lipsticks sold exclusively in Barneys, New York.

The success of this initial collection spurred Nars on to create an entire range and NARS Cosmetics was born. A cheeky way with names ensured his Orgasm range was splashed across the glossy pages of fashion and beauty magazines giving the NARS matte black rubberised packaging global recognition, but it’s not all hype. The brand’s focus on quality of colour, purity and texture (and the fact that the products work for all skin tones) have made it a worldwide success.

PretAirporter Associate Editor Clare Austin with François Nars at the Ritz Paris

Legend has it that the budget for the brand’s first advertising campaign was so limited that François Nars decided to step in himself, so igniting a passion for photography and a talent that has seen him shoot every campaign since. Nars is no slouch at championing the genius of others either as the brand’s love of collaborations shows. Recent collections have borrowed from Andy Warhol, Sarah Moon, Steven Klein and most recently Charlotte Gainsbourg. François Nars also enjoys a fruitful professional partnership with renowned creative director Fabien Baron who takes credit for the brand’s sleek packaging.

NARS Cosmetics was sold to Shiseido in 2000, reportedly earning its founder enough to buy his own island in French Polynesia but François Nars remains very much the hands-on director of the brand.

Listening back to my recording of the interview, the tape is full of laughter: Despite his success, François Nars is a man who by his own admission doesn’t take the business of make-up too seriously.

Walking into Nars’ suite at the Ritz, I am greeted by his latest campaign image for NARS Cosmetics: Bella Hadid wearing Powermatte Lip Pigment. “She looks like a rock star, no?” says the man who not only created the product and founded the company but shot the image too. Oh, and the New York-based Frenchman has just been awarded France’s highest decoration: the Légion d’honneur.

PretAirporter: Congratulations on being awarded the Légion d’honneur. What did receiving it mean to you?

François Nars: I was surprised and proud. I’ve actually brought it on this trip to Paris because my parents were not in New York when I got it so I had to bring them the actual medal. They are very proud. It’s such an incredible honour, the highest you can get in France. I never thought I would receive the Légion d’honneur even though I tried my best to represent France as well as possible in the United States and all over the world. And it’s a beautiful medal on top of that! Once in a while I look at it and say: ‘Is that really mine?’. I must say it’s kind of strange because I have got awards before but never anything like the Légion d’honneur. It feels great, definitely feels great.

Bénédicte de Montlaur Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy hosted the ceremony in New York at which François Nars was presented with the Légion d’Honneur
Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy Bénédicte de Montlaur hosted the ceremony in New York at which François Nars was presented with the Légion d’Honneur

Your latest collaboration with Charlotte Gainsbourg has been very well received.

I am very very proud of it and very happy. There was total trust on her side and on my side so what else can you dream of? She is the perfect muse.
I gave her carte blanche, total power so she was able to do anything. I told her: “The collection has to be you Charlotte, it has to resemble you, it has to look like it has come from you. This is not a collaboration that I will just put your name on and then we do everything behind your back and we will just show you it all at the end.” No, from day one she decided the colours, the packaging, everything. I mean really everything you saw in that collection was hers even to the names for each colour. I wanted it to be so personal. And that’s how, to me, a collaboration with one person has to be.

French polish: The NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg collection for Summer 2017
French polish: The NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg collection for Summer 2017

Why did you decide to choose to create a make-up collection with someone not known for wearing a lot of make-up?

I love women who don’t wear too much make-up. I also love very eccentric women who wear so much, Anna Piaggi for example (the late, celebrated Italian fashion journalist). I love women who really know what they love and have a strong sense of style and what’s right for them. Charlotte is not a person who wears lots of make-up but she does love make-up. She knows what looks good on her and that’s why I trusted her. She knows what will work for her and will work for many many millions of other women because some women are afraid of make-up. Not everyone is like Kim Kardashian, some women are very scared and afraid.

I love women who don’t wear too much make-up

All the colours and formulas that Charlotte picked are very easy to use for anybody and the collection had an incredible response.

Creative collaborators François Nars and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Creative collaborators François Nars and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Of all the NARS collaborations, which has surprised you the most?

I would say the Sarah Moon collection. It was so feminine and delicate, very different from the previous Andy Warhol, Steven Klein and Guy Bourdin collaborations which were much more colourful. Sarah’s collection was so surreal and transparent. I was very thrilled when I saw everything. Also, because Sarah is still with us, thank God, I had that direct contact and we did it together. It maybe wasn’t the biggest seller but the result, to me, was fantastic and it looks so beautiful.

Ephemeral beauty: Compacts from the recent collaboration between NARS Cosmetics and photographer Sarah Moon
Photography archive: In 2013, NARS Cosmetics launched a collection inspired by French photographer and artist Guy Bourdin, an early influence on François Nars himself

When I type N-a-r-s into social media, it automatically auto-corrects to NARS – how does it feel to have your name become so synonymous with make-up?

Thanks to the women. Really. Thank you to all the women out there on the planet from Asia to South America to the United States to Europe, everywhere. Thanks too to all the people around me that work so hard to make it that way. Thanks to myself a little bit too for having the original idea to do a make-up line I guess! It was a lot of hard work on everybody’s part including myself when I first started. It’s pretty incredible. It’s a very abstract feeling at the same time: When you realise your name is all over the planet and that when you go to sleep, people wake up on another side of the world and start wearing your product. It’s a very funny feeling but very thrilling.

The photographer’s muse: François Nars shoots all of the brand’s campaigns including this just launched image of Bella Hadid for NARS Cosmetics Powermatte Lip Pigment

Which is your favourite NARS product of all time?

You know, they are all my children, I can’t say I love one more than the other but I really love Velvet Matte Lip Pencil because I would have loved to have those in my kit when I was working as a make-up artist.
I love the Liquid Blush that just came out and is doing so well. Both are amazing because they contain so much pigment and they are so rich and perfectly matte.
I love the Multiple Stick because it’s really such a great product to have: Five minutes to give a great glow. Those are my top three but now we are launching a new matte gloss Powermatte Lip Pigment and and it’s amazing. Fabien Baron has created a beautiful packaging for it, Bella Hadid is the face of it. It’s a very velvety matte gloss, not dry, stays on all day and it has every shade from light to neutral to strong red.
That is the good thing about being a make-up artist and having a make-up artist line. I’m not just a chemist in a factory creating a product who doesn’t test it necessarily on real women. I am very critical, very tough on whatever comes out. If I don’t like the texture, the formula, the colours, I make them re-do it until it’s perfect. Quality, quality, quality.

The product that launched a thousand quips: The best-selling Multiple Orgasm

Has the rise of selfies and social media changed the way you create make-up because you know that women are going to be constantly photographing it?

No absolutely not. It doesn’t influence me in any way because make-up is universal. I create make-up for women all over the world. The ones who do selfies, the housewives at home who do no selfies, grandmothers who will maybe do a selfie with the grandchildren.
Women inspire me, that’s all, I don’t ever think about how make-up is going to photograph when I’m creating it, certainly not for selfies. That’s not my job, my goal. What I care about with make-up is how women are going to look in real life.

How has the rise of the beauty vlogger and online tutorials affected the way you work as a creator?

There has been an incredible evolution of the access to beauty not only because of social media but also because there are so many more choices in make-up. Women are learning and experimenting more and magazines, professional artists and the freedom of fashion are helping them to explore these options and make fewer mistakes along the way.

You have talked about make-up being ‘an enhancement, not a mask’. Do you think the current trend for a very artificial look: contouring, Instagram filters etc. has gone too far in camouflaging reality?

Make-up is to enhance beauty and I believe trends should not be followed blindly because someone tells you to. You should look in the mirror and know what makes you look good. Even if you feel that you don’t know what to choose, in the end you always know what’s going to make you look and feel great. It is very important that you really believe in yourself, believe in yourself first, but also believe in your own beauty.

The new Powermatte Lip Pigment, shown here in Don’t Stop, with packaging designed by the renowned Fabien Baron

Do you think make-up for men will ever become mainstream?

It’s hard to tell but I believe only a very limited percentage of men want to wear make-up: Actors, rock stars, David Bowie. But, real men, real-life men: Doctors; dentists; workers in factories? I really don’t believe they will ever wear make-up. The only make-up I think they would wear would be tinted moisturisers. An easy, single product for evening out skin tone. Maybe a lip balm, neutral, no colour so it’s not really make-up.

I might be wrong. The Egyptians wore make-up like crazy regardless of their sexual orientation or anything else so you never know. Anything could be possible. But I don’t see it happening. All the make-up lines that have been created for men have failed so I think that’s the proof that it’s probably the wrong thing to do. I do believe in skincare for men, that is a great market as men become more and more aware of their skin and want to make their skin look great.

How do you come up with the names of your products?

I keep a little Hermès book that I write in 24 hours a day, even in the middle of the night. It is important that the colours have an identity and the names help give them that identity. It makes you dream a little bit.

The chosen one: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (shown here in Dragon Girl) is one of François Nars’ all-time favourites

Make-up is an art form steeped in history and utterly creative. As an art form do you think it is understated?

No, not at all. I remember seeing Guy Bourdin’s work at a very young age, around when I was ten or 11 years old in the French Vogue magazines my mother read in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. The magazine was extremely creative with works by fabulous photographers such as Helmut Newton and Man Ray. All those images woke me up to a certain sense of colour, make-up and artistry. I didn’t know anything about art at the time, but I had a very, very strong attraction to those images because of the strong colours and make-up looks. It was around that time that I knew that the fashion/beauty world was something I wanted to be a part of and make mine. It was from that age that I knew I wanted to become a photographer or make-up artist. Today, I would say that there has been even more of an evolution in make-up in everything we do and the art form is more prevalent now than ever.

I believe only a very limited percentage of men want to wear make-up: Actors, rock stars, David Bowie. But, real men, real-life men: Doctors; dentists; workers in factories? I really don’t believe they will ever wear make-up

You have described yourself as a shy person: Do you see make-up as a way of creating an armour to face the world?

Yes, in a way. Make-up is a great tool for transforming yourself. It’s fun to play with, you can become somebody else or find yourself in a look. There are so many different ways to achieve a look, so many tools and colours to use and play with. You can always take it off, so play with it, it’s fun.

Of all the photographers you have worked with, who has had the most profound impact on you?

It’s hard to choose only one! I have already worked with so many incredible photographers that inspire me, most recently Steven Klein and Sarah Moon. I loved working with Avedon, Penn, Newton, Meisel. Many times (Steven) Meisel would invite me behind the camera and that helped me when I began photographing our campaigns.

I create make-up for women all over the world. The ones who do selfies, the housewives at home who do no selfies, grandmothers who will maybe do a selfie with the grandchildren

How do you treat your skin when you travel long distance?

I love getting facials. My all-time favourite spas are the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa and the Imperial Spa at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz.

You have said that you very inspired by travel. Is it the journey or the destination that inspires you the most?

I would say both. There is so much inspiration in my life that comes from so many different sources. I do love travelling: I pick up many different ideas from all over the world. I love learning from unique cultures in each city that I visit.

BeautyCosmetics

Skincare so good you’ll want to eat it (but don’t)

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Between cosmetics, perfumes, skincare and feminine hygiene products, women in the US apply an average of 168 chemicals to their faces and bodies each day. Little wonder then, that the use of all-natural ingredients in skincare is becoming increasingly popular. They smell amazing, work wonders for your skin, and come with deceptively delicious-sounding names…

Click through to find out more 

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The Merchant of Venice: PretAirporter takes the latest beauty travel exclusives for a mini-break in Italy

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A whirlwind weekend in The Floating City means packing light. Luckily, all your favourite products are in duty free. Fall in love with Prada’s new La Femme Intense EDP (we certainly did), or channel your inner NARSissist #Jetsetter with the latest revamped kit.

Oh, by the way, we’ve found the perfect siren red lipstick for your Venetian masked ball.

Click through to view our Venetian getaway

Shot on location in Venice, Italy, using travel exclusive products

Photography: Stephanie Yt Chan

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Calling all beauty fans, here’s a step-by-step guide to organising your make-up

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New research has revealed that the average woman uses 16 beauty products every day, with the entire routine taking around 25 minutes. Of course, that varies wildly from country to country but one thing remains universal: the need for efficiency. Here at PretAirporter, we’re mindful of the fact that there is no time like the present for a spring clean (even if we’re in the middle of summer).

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