What One French Girl Learned About Makeup and Skin Care From Growing up in the Beauty Industry

Photo: Chantecaille

It’s one thing to have a mother who likes makeup and skin care, it’s quite another thing to be the daughter of Sylvie Chantecaille, the woman who spent some three decades creating cosmetics companies with Diane von Furstenberg and Estée Lauder before launching her eponymous line in 1998.

But such was life for Olivia Chantecaille and her two siblings, Alex and Philippe.

“I grew up surrounded by beauty and skin care,” Olivia says of her childhood. “When I was young, my mother was busy creating Prescriptives for Estée Lauder, and I was lucky to spend some vacations going to visit labs and watching her develop products.

When Sylvie approached her daughter with the idea of creating their own makeup and skin-care line focused on botanical ingredients in the mid-1990s, Olivia didn’t bat an eye before saying yes. “I knew immediately it would be a great success,” recalls Olivia, who is now creative director of Chantecaille. “My position is very product-driven, very visual, and endlessly creative.”

With a lifelong passion for all things beauty, Olivia knows the industry inside and out, and she's a fountain of tips and tricks. Here, she opens up about everything from the rituals she picked up from her “pure genius” mom (think: spritzing rosewater all day, every day) to the skin-saving benefits of natural, plant-derived ingredients.

Keep scrolling for Olivia's top beauty tricks.

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On her earliest beauty memory

“My earliest beauty memories are with my grandmother, sitting at her beautiful vanity table where she would show me her beauty routine,” she says. “She instilled in me the idea and importance of a pampering, nourishing beauty routine. I remember it so well—she had an enormous loose powder pot with a big pink powder puff that I loved.”

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On her obsession with rosewater

Whether you are looking for a morning pick-me-up, a makeup refresh, a travel companion, or a winter skin remedy, rosewater is to the Chantecaille family what Windex is to the Portokalos family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding: a cure-all.

"I use it religiously because of my mother,” Olivia says, noting that it's as “wonderful to purify airplane air” while traveling as it is “essential for hydrating skin” any time, anywhere. This time of year, she has a habit of spraying a generous amount between each layer of her skin-care routine “for added moisture,” she tells me.   

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On the beauty lessons she hopes to instill in her own daughter

Olivia welcomed her daughter Delphina in 2014, and, unhappy with the children’s products on the market, she got to work on creating a range of organic, dermatologist-tested products free of fragrances, chemical additives, phthalates, and dyes that would be more baby-friendly. Chantecaille Bébé was born in late 2016, and the line includes a body lotion, face cream, hair and body wash, and a new Bébé Balm launching this spring.

While Delphina and Olivia are both early adopters of the soon-to-be-released balm (the entire Bébé collection is great for anyone with sensitive skin) and Olivia says the two “practice night-time rituals together,” she is most concerned with teaching her daughter the importance of self-care.

“The most important thing I can teach Delphina is the lesson of self-love,” she says. “The deepest meaning of beauty routines and beauty rituals is taking care of yourself, loving yourself, and taking time for yourself.  Positivity is important—practicing saying ‘I love you’ in the mirror is a good place to start.”

Self-love within your beauty routine is importantthis is how Nicole Kidman does it. And here's a peek into how 11 wellness pros practice self-care.

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