My Week in Beauty – Sticking Together, Sticky Bodies, and Sticky Situations


The Chantecaille family is one of those legendary beauty families, like the Sisleys or even the Lauder’s, where mother, daughter, sometimes grandmother and granddaughters seem to work harmoniously with each other.
Taking tea with Alex Chantecaille, the daughter of founder Sylvie, who was in London this week to do a round of press meetings, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to work with my siblings. Alex spoke so warmly of her sister Olivia’s achievements (she’s behind the new cosmetics’ creations), and also of her mother Sylvie’s work with animal charities, and it struck me that it must take nothing short of a miracle of parenting to keep a family together in both work and play. (Sorry to my sisters Fiona and Lizzie but I think we’d just about last until lunch time!) Afterwards Alex forwarded me this article about what it’s like to work together as a family which made it sound like a lot of fun.
Clearly there are many advantages besides the sharing of vision and profit. But more importantly the holy grail of any family surely is to find that uncertain path to being together without wanting to kill one another? Or perhaps it’s more natural than we think and it’s my family that’s the anomaly – local businesses where father, son, mother, daughter, cousins, uncles pull together “for the good of the family” are still commonplace after all.
Malcolm Gladwell in The Outliers maintains it’s entirely natural to grow up influenced by what your parents do for a living and to learn by osmosis. Such children are at a distinct advantage. But as he points out, while following in our parents’ footsteps comes naturally, putting the hours in still has to be learned. “We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight?”


On my desk just in time for summer.
Liebling, a deodorant spray from Julisis, which like everything else in his organic botanical range is free of alcohol and won’t irritate sensitive skins. It feels wonderfully fresh, and has an aromatic scent which neutralises odour-causing bacteria
Legology – Daily Lift for Legs – created by former beauty director Kate Shapland now comes in a travel-friendly tube. Use it when the heat rises, the ankles puff up, or you just need a quick way to gloss over winter’s dry looking shins.
Bliss – Triple Oxygen Radiance Restoring Mist is going to be my summer handbag essential. (Everything is either “essential” or a “must-have” in beautyspeak, haven’t you noticed?) It’s like the classic can of facial mist with fresh-feeling moisturising ingredients added, and best of all it can be used over make-up. Just close your eyes first – I’ll never forget the time I forgot to tell a model to do just that before I “helpfully” spritzed her face with a perfumed skin-refreshing mist during a shoot on location in Egypt…Her red-eyes meant we had to take a break for several hours.

We’ve had a lot of conversations within our family about Social Darwinism this week, in relation to the pecking order that happens naturally or not at school. And it’s great to see that some schools are finally taking the deliberate social exclusion and isolation of children seriously – after all, it breeds loneliness and leads to anxiety and depression. I loved this article a friend posted on Facebook and feel it’s worth passing on…it’s a bit mom-cheesy but it makes the point that there’s always more we can do to look out for those who are ostracised for no real reason. Yes, I know, school is preparation for the battleground that will one day be the boardroom, but does it have to be like this? It makes me so angry to see the petty politics of partying and the playground and the way they affect teens on a daily basis. Some might say “”toughen up” but I think it’s more important to encourage the so-called popular kids to learn that kindness, empathy, and being sensitive to the feelings of others is what makes great leaders, creators, friends. Unlike our generation, this generation sees every social event they’re not invited to in glorious technicolor on Snapchat, and don’t even mention Facebook – for those who dare to question, there’s a very public slapping down. There must be millions of kids who suffer in silence…Time to speak up!

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