Face To Face: Alex Chantecaille

Respected beauty brand Chantecaille is noted for products that are as healing as they are beautiful. This weekend, St. Louisans can meet Alex Chantecaille, vice president of sales and promotions, at Neiman Marcus in Plaza Frontenac, where she will reveal the Summer 2014 Collection and celebrate the harvest of Rose de Mai, the powerful botanical at the root of Chantecaille skincare.

T&S | What distinguishes Chantecaille from other beauty brands?
AC | Our products are clean and pure. We believe in putting our money back into our products—for example, my sister is our model and creative director, so we’re not spending tons on highly paid actors. And we don’t use unnecessary colors or fragrances, because our products smell essential and pure without that, and we don’t need to mask the smell of chemicals.

T&S | Your mother, Sylvie Chantecaille, launched Prescriptives at Estee Lauder in the ’70s before founding Chantecaille. What inspired her to start her own business?
AC | She felt people didn’t realize there is a lot of junk in products and that the beauty industry was pulling the wool over people’s eyes by not being straightforward. She thought, Why not make things out of flowers? That was her lightbulb moment: to use the wax of flowers, which is purifying and good for
your skin, as a base for a cream.

T&S | Chantecaille claims to get inspiration from traditions like Chinese medicine, aromatherapy and European flower pharmacology. What’s the benefit to this?
AC | It’s important to recognize how powerful these natural ingredients are, and that they are the key to keeping your skin at a healthy place. For example, the natural ingredients in our rose cream remove bad bacteria and reintroduce good bacteria, improving the skin’s immune system and fortifying its elasticity.

T&S | You speak multiple languages; how does that global experience impact your work?
AC | It allows me to speak to people in their own language and understand their lifestyle. And you need to realize if someone is living in Hong Kong and it’s 100 percent humidity, they will need a different product than someone who lives in Arizona in a dry climate. It’s important not to look at stereotypes of people but at who they actually are. For example, we opened in the Middle East and at night, these women come home and take off their abayas. They are covered in public, but underneath they have beautiful dresses and want to look great. At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel healthy and beautiful and cared for.

[alex’s beauty tips]
>>>Wash your face each night, whether or not you wear makeup. It’s important to remove the dirt from the day to give your skin a clean slate to repair.
>>>Don’t neglect to apply serum underneath your daily moisturizer. The worst thing you can do for your skin is not give it enough moisture.
>>>Bronzer is nice during the summer, but don’t eliminate cheek powder. Makeup is meant to express what will normally happen in nature, and the cheek is meant to flush. Apply bronzer on the planes of your face where you would normally get sun, and then a touch of pink or peach on the cheeks.

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