Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Investing in your face / 2 colour-rule

Inspired by the comments on my last post about massage (many of you have regular facials), I booked myself in for a facial with a French beauty therapist. I last had one with the same woman about eight months ago and before that, I have no clue. In my mind they are extravagant and unnecessary, but the one I had in December proved me wrong. Shame it's taken me this long to realise it.

A French woman would not skimp on care of the skin and body (and hair, but that's for another day) and then spend that same money on crappy snacks, fattening drinks and takeaways. The new and improving Francais me invests in self-care and forgoes anything Sabine, the ideal French girl would say non to.

I found out about my current beauty therapist in a way I'm too embarrassed to talk about (I especially didn't tell her). I was searching for images of 'French beauty therapy salons' and came across a Paris-trained French beauty therapist here in the city where I live.

Of course I had to take a look at her website and found that her prices were very reasonable (about half of what salons in town cost). She does work from a salon at her home, but I also know at least two others who do this, and they seem to benchmark their prices against city salons.

Does how I found about her sound too stalker-ish? I feel a bit like it does, but I'm really not one. What would she say if she knew about my French obsession though?

My second facial was just as good as the first one with her, even better maybe, as I knew what to expect. An organic French skincare range called Centella is used, and every single product smells divine - herbal, floral, fresh. The scents are very concentrated, but in a way that you think there are lots of active ingredients, not in the highly perfumed way.

What I like most about these facials, which is different to any other facial I have had is the massage. She spends quite a bit of time massaging the neck, shoulders, upper-arms and decolletage in big, sweeping, side to side movements.

Then she moves to the face for another lovely long episode of massage. Some of the movements are actually quite aggressive, she slaps and taps along the jaw-line with very quick strokes and then slows to an irregular tap. Part of the massage was fingertips all over my face which felt like falling rain. Amazing.

This time, as last time, my skin looks very poreless, yes, pinkish and shiny as I had no makeup on and I'd just had massage and exfoliation and a mask and steaming, but very fine textured.

I studied her skin as I paid and asked questions. You can tell she's not 20, and isn't trying to be. She definitely looks her age, but the texture of her skin is very fine, no pores anywhere, and plumped up (with hydration rather than dermal fillers). She is a good advertisement for her services and her products.

And, I could listen to her French accented feminine voice all day.

Now, I did something as a service for myself, and for you, dear reader. I possibly made a fool of myself, but I would have been annoyed if I hadn't taken the chance. Normally I don't talk at all during a massage or facial, just rest and relax with my eyes closed.

The therapist picks up on that and it's lovely and quiet. But when she was washing off my floral mask I plucked up the courage to ask her about the two-colour rule, since she is a French woman (I know, not generalising at all).

Do you want to know what she said? She had never heard of it and laughed a little tinkly laugh. She did know what the person being interviewed was getting at though. She said 'people here, they are so...' and then threw her hands up in the air and shook them all around. Basically we wear everything at once. I asked her how it was different in France. 'People are more... classy, classic'.

I felt like a bit of a dill asking her, but now I know not everyone French knows this two-colour rule secret they're not telling us about. If you hear anything, please let me know!


  1. What's the two color rule? I'm impressed you asked her :) Your facial sounds divine. I wish I could find one who used a product line I liked because I find facials very relaxing. The last one I went to the girl talked and talked and I could not get out of there soon enough.

  2. hi fiona,

    i'm so happy to hear about your facial. i have gotten regular facials most of my life. my first one was at 18! i can hardly believe it myself. what 18 year old pays for her own facials?

    anyway, b/c it is my profession i do believe in them. they are not only good for your skin but also good for your soul. taking good care of yourself is so important b/c if you don't do it who will?

    an esthetician's skin is her best advertisement. i would be honored if someone "stalked" my services. it's quite a compliment.


  3. I keep thinking a facial would be nice but talking myself out of it. Your experience makes me want to reconsider! I think I know what the woman is trying to say though. It's about wearing things that compliment each other, in subtle ways. Magenta and turquoise may go very well together but you shouldn't be in them head to toe! Neutrals are the best base.

  4. You are very fortunate to have found the French esthetician...and I would suggest that you researched her, not stalked her!
    You have reminded me that I need to book a facial, it's been several months since I last indulged.
    BTW, your skin looks amazing.

  5. I don't think googling for a French facialist is stalking. It is research. ( did great! you found her!)

    What is this two color rule you asked her about?

    I'm thinking the French dress in moderation (as is their life - eating in moderation, etc.) - instead of having a wardrobe of any color that catches their eye...

  6. I had a facial last month. For my birthday I treated myself to a half day at a spa and had a facial, a body scrub, a mani and a pedi. It was wonderful!

    I had some gift certificates I'd been saving and I used them. There are gift cards from Spaway and they can be used at a certain spas, one of them in the city near me.

    I decided that I'm going to try for a facial each season. DH and I were at Costco a few weeks ago and they had $100 Spaway gift cards for $80 so I bought one. I'm planning on booking a facial at the end of the summer ready to take me into fall. As a woman of a certain age, I think I need to take better care of my skin.

  7. Stephanie, the two colour rule was mentioned in the 'French Style Inspiration' post and it was discussed in the comments.

    With talking beauty therapists or masseuses, I know you are supposed to say something like 'do you mind if we don't talk so I can relax' but who ever does? We just lie there, listen to the chatter and pay up. Not answering straight away or just answering 'Mmm hmm' may help!

    Janet, at what age did you train? Was it something you knew you always wanted to do? I considered training at 30, but when I went along to the school it was full of 18 year olds... It put me off. I could have been doing it for nine years now. Instead I went to work for a cosmetic company. Had to get my fix somehow.

    If I lived in LA, Janet, I would be in your salon like a shot!

    Kalee, I'm like you, it sounds like an indulgence. Finding someone who actually does things that I can't do at home (like the massage that makes my jaw-line feel tighter the next day) is making me think again.

    Hostess, you sound just like me - 'several months' since you had a facial. I thought I might make it quarterly to start with, actually write it on the calendar to book. Thank you for alleviating my stalking fears. Research is a must better word.

    Sunny, you are so right. Dressing in moderation, as in everything else.

    Jackie, I've never had a group of treatments all at once. How luxurious! The discounted spa cards sound great, as does your plan to have a facial to prepare for winter.

  8. That facial sounds so divine.

    Funny about the two-color rule. To my eye, it just looks elegant and makes each piece you're wearing look more expensive.

  9. M, you're so wise. Elegant and expensive, just from two colours. Because I wear so much denim, I'm thinking one of the colours has to be navy or grey/blue. I've been observing people in our shop lately and noticing how many colours they are wearing (just the stylish ones).

  10. I've had a few facials in my life, but have never had extractions (they scare me!). The French facial sounds very relaxing!

  11. BistroChic, she did some extractions on me, both times I went. They were blocked pores on my nose, but she did search around my cheeks and jaw-line area. She didn't find anything though.

    She did it the old-fashioned way with fingertips and a tissue. Not with that metal ring-thing I have had used on my skin in younger days - THAT I am scared of.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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