Saving Face

Face sans makeup.
Travelling in Europe is a wonderful experience but how does one preserve the European look in the North American world? It is obvious in Paris that every look begins with grooming. There were two Instituts Marionnaud kitty-corner on rue Cherche-Midi where I rented my Paris apartment. Soins de visage (care of the face) is very important to every French woman no matter her age or economic status.

In France, I visited instituts for eyebrow shaping and tinting, épilations of different sorts and a facial. I tried products from Monoprix and from many corner pharmacies. While travelling, I enjoy using sample sizes and freebies as much as possible. There is no point carting full-size products around Europe when every major city offers a smorgasbord of product and service opportunities.

At home, my life involves more stress, more responsibility and a suburban lifestyle that does not abound with opportunities for spa visits which are regarded as a luxury in my neighbourhood. I do however live across the street from a Shopper's Drug Mart. Not your typical Parisian pharmacie (so not that I often want to cry), but it does provide opportunities for skin care.

It is important to visit a drugstore, if one must, that has a skin care section with a wide assortment of products of many brands and price levels. Visit when the counter is not busy and introduce yourself to the "cosmetics manager" who is a salesperson not an aesthetician. My local drugstore is building a more personalized approach to skincare. The "cosmetician" measured the hydration level of my skin and told me that it was 24 and that I should be aiming for 40. I didn't really understand the measuring system but it indicated to me that the old face is drying up.

I am sixty-one years old, don't smoke, don't sunbathe too much, and wear a moisturizer with SPF 30 at all times. I have Celtic origins and am prone to some redness and will change colour with coffee or wine. Four generations of women in my family (that's all I've seen) have aged without significant wrinkling or lining due probably to a moist climate and a tendency to plumpness. My mother who is fairer than I am is developing a lot of skin cancer in her eighties.

I have been following a skin care program for three weeks and I pleased with the results. Above is my naked face photographed with the inevitable Photobooth application. I always have to tilt my head to photograph my face and to avoid a fixed stare. I have noticed a reduction in redness and a more even skin texture. I will go back to Shopper's after four weeks to see if my hydration level has improved.

In the morning, I am washing with cool water only. I pat and do not rub my face dry. I spray on a product called Skin Resonance for sensitive skin. I bought this product at a day spa not at Shopper's. Next, I use Thalgo Crème Collagène wrinkle smoothing that I bought at my favourite institut Oneto on rue Montparnasse. This is available in Canada at some day spas. For a more even complexion, I use Clinique Superdefense CC cream with a 30 SPF (available anywhere).  I can leave my house for my morning walk with a "natural" face after this simple ritual.

I eat a lot of fish and vegetables daily. I consume no more than 2 coffee products in a day and drink wine with restaurant lunches and during the "happy hour". I should drink more water and I am on a  prescribed 25 mg diuretic. Skin care is health care so product alone will not compensate for poor health habits.

In the evening, I cleanse with Estée Lauder Soft Clean for dry skin. I use warm water and pat dry. Then, I use Avène soothing, hydrating serum for sensitive skin with Avène rich, compensating cream.
These products all came from my neighbourhood Shopper's Drug Mart.

While I am no longer in Paris, I am able to maintain my skin regimen without too much difficulty. I use only a little product each day so most will last a long time. My local drug store has a loyalty program so accumulated points will give me a discount on future purchases. The drugstore actually called me to see  whether I was satisfied with my products.

Every month, I plan to visit a day spa for a facial and exfoliation to maintain my skin. In my seventh decade, I hoping not to "turn back the hands of time" but to maintain as healthy an appearance as possible.


  1. It's great to hear that you are being proactive about your skin care regime...
    it looks firm and even toned so you must be using products that agree with your skin type and I do not see any wrinkles so hooray for those genes!


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