Tag Archives: Terry de Gunzburg

Paris Comes to Polmont

macdonald_incharya_21667Last year I reported on a fabulous spa experience I had at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa, halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Well, I’ve been back for a second helping of the heavenly spa treatments on offer there – but this time I fulfilled a long-held ambition to try out a facial created by the Carita sisters, Rosy and Maria, who established the celebrated Carita Maison de Beaute on the rue du Faubourg St Honore in Paris back in the 1950s. The sisters started their beauty career as hairdressers, but broadened their remit out so that their “house of beauty” was a complete beauty destination, where skincare, bodycare, make-up and hair needs were catered for. Carita is a now a venerable French institution: the products are famous and the actual beauty house, where the sisters set themselves up as “artisans of beauty”, has seen everyone from Hollywood and European movie stars to royalty pass through its doors.

Over the course of my career, I’ve interviewed beauty gurus who have spoken about the Carita sisters with the sort of reverence that is reserved for Carita sisters 2the true greats in any business. The siblings not only kept abreast of hair and make-up fashions by working with young avant-garde designers of their age, the future greats of haute couture, but they also established a school where their protégées included the likes of Laura Mercier and Terry de Gunzburg – renowned make-up artists who are now known the world over for their very user-friendly make-up brands.

At the heart of Carita, however, are its Haute Couture Beauty treatments which are the ultimate in luxurious skincare. At the Inchyra last month, I was treated to the Carita Renovateur, an iconic facial which the sisters developed in 1956. It was so relaxing that I, of course, spent the 70 minutes in a state of bliss and could not possibly begin to tell you the many steps of this treatment since I was on another planet throughout… What I can tell you, however, is that the results were amazing: my complexion was completely refreshed and revived, and I felt that the facial – which used a signature blend of sunflower seeds and essential oils – was still producing a radiant effect for days afterwards. (Thankfully, the sunflower seeds stopped turning up behind my ears and in my hair after the first night!) The key aspect of the Renovateur is the way in which its initially wet texture transforms into a powder when it’s slowly massage into the skin, leaving a vitamin-infused veil on the complexion.

I hope to get back  to the Inchyra and work my way through some of the other treatments (Carita and Decleor) that are available in its sumptuous spa. For an escape from the city, this is a great location – easily reached by train from both Glasgow and Edinburgh – and the hotel has a top-rated restaurant (five-star steaks) and lovely chilled-out bar. One night merely whets the appetite for further indulgence …

* Rooms at the Macdonald Inchrya Hotel & Spa cost from £225 per night. Currently, there is a summer spa break offer available here.
Macdonald_Inchyra_Hotel_&_Spa_Relaxation_Room

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French Beauty Ideals

I’m in a French frame of mind today – what with it being Bastille Day. So I thought I’d share some of the words of beauty wisdom that I’ve received from two leading French make-up gurus whom I’ve interviewed in the last couple of years.

Both Laura Mercier and Terry de Gunzburg are charming, vivacious and sexy older women who graduated from the legendary Carita beauty school, and made their names as top make-up artists in the 1980s before launching their own lines of cosmetics. (Of course, for de Gunzburg, there was also the small matter of her creation of a “magic wand” called Touche Eclat at YSL ..)

It’s perhaps unsurprising then to discover that they share a similar beauty aesthetic – one which really highlights the difference between how French women and their British and/or American cousins view themselves, their looks and their sex appeal, as they go through life.

Asked to name the movie actresses whose looks she most admired, Laura Mercier said:  “I’ve always had a fascination for people who are not obviously beautiful … Obviously beautiful women like Catherine Deneuve absolutely don’t move me. Yes, she’s gorgeous in Belle de Jour but she has never moved me. However,  I am completely fascinated by the Italian actress Anna Magnani (right; 1908-1973) who can be gorgeous. Sometimes she can be not so beautiful but she’s always so intense. The personality is to die for – I mean, big dark circles, the nose and the teeth. I’m fascinated by that, by all faces. Everybody has the potential to be beautiful.”

Another of Mercier’s beauty heroines is the stylish, but not conventionally beautiful, octogenarian interior designer Andree Putman.  “She looks odd – she has adopted, completely adopted, a make-up and a hairstyle that’s always asymmetrical. I mean, she really goes for it. She imposes a personality. It’s not just about being perfect and symmetrical – it’s also her talent and her personality. Thank God! Beauty’s not like that. Paloma Picasso (below)  is another example. Even if you take Jackie Kennedy (left), yeah she was beautiful but she was not obviously beautiful. Her eyes were very far apart. If you look into the details, you see that they’re not perfect but that’s what makes us all unique. The defect can often become an asset.”

Terry de Gunzburg agrees. “I’ve always said: ‘ J’aime les defaults dans les grands oeuvres. ‘ [I like the flaws in the masterpieces.] I think that some wrinkles and fine lines can give you an internal beauty.”  She named as one of her favourite beauty heroines, whose face she had made-up while she was at Carita, the grande dame of American cinema Lauren Bacall. “I prefer the face of the older Lauren Bacall to the face of the older Goldie Hawn,” she said, recalling Bacall’s own view that she had “earned every one of her wrinkles”.

Laura Mercier sums up by saying:  “No-one can say Catherine Deneuve and Grace Kelly are not beautiful but, to me, they’re slightly boring, they’re a little bland. I like a little more hot pepper..”

* Laura Mercier’s range is widely available. Visit www.lauramercier.com to view her products. By Terry is available in Space NK stores in the UK. Visit www.spacenk.co.uk

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I may be the one who writes about beauty but my friends are all experts about the areas that particularly concern them.

My pal Shiv is one of my top testers for fake tan and body products; apart from her essentials – mascara and lip gloss – make-up has tended to be much lower down her priority list .

Her skin is so good that she only recently began to feel the need of some sort of coverage to even out dark circles and disguise fine lines – so she turned to the excellent By Terry range.

When I met her on Monday, she was singing the praises not only of the By Terry Touche Veloutee (£29; www.spacenk.co.uk), a concealer/highlighter and cousin to the original Touche Eclat (which Terry de Gunzburg created at YSL), but also of the lady who sold it to her in Space NK.

Shiv went in to buy the shade she had bought before. When the saleswoman realised they didn’t have it, she didn’t try to persuade her to buy something else; instead, she persuaded her to book herself in for a mini-makeover the following weekend.

I’ve not heard the usually cynical Shiv wax so lyrical about a retail experience as she did about the makeover. She was thrilled with the results  and left with a different (and better) shade of the Touche Veloutee,  as well as her first eyeliner pencil in probably about 20 years and a list of make-up she’d like to try.

TUESDAY

I spent some time on Tuesday in a bit of a coiffeur quandary. My hair is desperately needing to be coloured and cut but, for the first time in ages, I’m toying with the idea of doing something different with it. It could be that I fancy going for the chop because, suddenly, the ends of my hair are tangling and look like they’re paying the price for my regular colour sessions. It could be that short hair looks so much easier (though I know, from experience, that it isn’t). Or it could have something to do with the fact that, however much she may hate it, I love Oscar-nominated Carey Mulligan’s elfin crop. Though not half as much as I love the original model – as seen on movie actress Jean Seberg (above). Not sure if I’m quite ready to take the plunge but you never know …

WEDNESDAY

Dior’s summer make-up collection arrived on Wednesday morning – and the pinks, peaches and corals are mouthwateringly pretty. Also in the package was Diorshow Extase Mascara (£21.50), which somehow I missed out on when they landed in stores at the end of March.

I can report that, as often happens with mascara, I’m in love again.. This mascara is brilliant for beefing up scraggy lashes and making them look like contenders in the battable stakes. I am fickle when it comes to mascara so we’ll have to see whether I’m as much in love in a couple of weeks as I am now ..

THURSDAY

I was writing about foundations on Thursday and, in the course of testing a few different ones, I had a Dorothy moment. In other words, just as Dorothy realises that “there’s no place like home” in The Wizard of Oz, so I realised that there’s no foundation like my old reliable: Clinique Perfectly Real Make-up (£20; www.clinique.co.uk).

It’s not an all-singing, all-dancing base like some of Clinique’s recent offerings, but Perfectly Real is a godsend for women like me, with a less-than-even skin tone, and a complexion which is totally confused in its orientation: it veers between oily, sensitive, dehydrated and dry. Not only does this foundation deal with all these issues, but it also comes in a shade which is a perfect match for my very fair colouring.

FRIDAY

It may be the Easter Holidays and Friday is the day I usually look after my twin boys, but I had to book my mum to babysit for long enough for me to sneek into town to meet Melissa, the suitably chic PR for Tom Ford Beauty. After all, she had promised to give me a preview of the new Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Colors (£35), which go on sale in Harvey Nichols on April 24.

This collection of 12 lipsticks marks the talented Mr Ford’s first foray into the world of cosmetics.  Why start with lipsticks? Well, over to him. “There is no more dramatic accessory than a perfect lip,” he says. “It is the focus of the face and it has the power to define a woman’s whole look.”

At £35 a pop, a Private Blend Lip Color does not come cheap, but it’s designed to be the ultimate in luxurious lipstick -as the expensive-looking ivory and gold tubes suggest. The quality is immediately apparent when you apply the lipstick too. Extremely moisturising, it glides on to the lips thanks to such rare ingredients as soja seed extract, Brazilian murumur butter and chamomilla flower oil. My mother has already named a coral-coloured Lip Color as payback for the babysitting job ….

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