There are certain parts of the body that French women pay particular attention to - the décolleté being one. No one knows better than Clémence von Mueffling, born into a dynasty of beauty editors at French Vogue. She, her mother and grandmother share décolleté skincare advice for all ages
Beauty journalist, Clémence von Mueffling, comes from an established French beauty dynasty. With both her mother and grandmother having worked as beauty editors at French Vogue and growing up holidaying with the Clarins and Lauder families, she was immersed in the worlds of skin, body and hair care from a young age.
It was these early experiences that helped shape her beauty outlook and future career path. After working with iconic brands such as Clarins, Puig and Dior, she moved to New York in 2007 to make the natural transition into beauty journalism. First, she became beauty editor at Casas & Gente, an interiors and lifestyle magazine, for six years. Next, she launched her highly acclaimed online magazine, beautyandwellbeing.com . And now, she’s released her new book, Ageless Beauty, The Secrets to French Elegance, a must-read guide on all things French beauty.
Featuring three generations of beauty advice to suit women of all ages, each category is helpfully separated into tips for ‘Jeunesse’ (20 to 35-year-olds), ‘Plénitude’ (35 to 55-year-olds) and ‘Maturité’ (for those aged 55 and over). With summer firmly here, their advice on body care is particularly useful. “There are certain parts of the body that French women pay particular attention to: the décolleté, upper arms, hands and nails, and upper thighs (particularly due to cellulite), the veins on the legs, and the feet,” she writes.
Here, Clemence talks all things décolleté - from the best products to the techniques that will help slow down the ageing process.
The décolleté is the area under your neck and between your breasts. Though often overlooked, in reality, it needs extra daily care and attention. That’s because the skin of your décolleté is thinner and has fewer oil glands than the skin on other areas of your body, so it’s more likely to become dry due to a lack of natural hydration— which means wrinkles can easily form. In addition, we often forget to put sunscreen on this area, and if we wear shirts with V-necks or that have a few buttons undone, well, skin damage can occur. Unfortunately, there are no effective treatments to address a dry, damaged, and wrinkled décolleté, so it’s much better to be prepared and take the proper precautions.
Your skin should still be smooth and supple, but this is the time when you need to get into the habit of always wearing a high-SPF sunscreen on any exposed skin. Let it soak in before you get dressed so it doesn’t rub off on your clothes.
MORE GLOSS: The SPF mistakes you didn’t know you were making
Plénitude and Maturité
Hopefully your skin will not show too many signs of damage, and your sunscreen habit is as ingrained as brushing your teeth!
The harsh minerals in tap water dry and irritate your skin, so avoid taking showers in very hot water. Be mindful to blot your skin, rather than to rub when towel drying, to prevent damaging capillaries.
Be sure to moisturise your décolleté after spending time in the sun and immediately following a shower or bath. Any rich cream or oil is suitable.
In the evening, my number-one rule for my décolleté is to include it in my cleansing routine. So when I use a toner on a soft cotton pad for my face, I also swipe it across that area.
Sometimes I feel I have applied too much moisturiser to my face, so with a flat hand I gently “stretch” the product on my décolleté. Otherwise, I use my body lotion and apply it, always with the whole palm of my hand, bringing the product from the centre to my upper right shoulder and then back to the center and then to my upper left shoulder.
Our favourite body creams and oils
The Body Shop Coconut Oil Body Butter , £6
Leonor Greyl Oil , £29
Avène Body Oil , £32
Caudalie Vine Body Butter , £22
Environ Enhanced A, C & E Oil , £35.99
An edited extract from Ageless Beauty, The Secrets to French Elegance by Clémence von Mueffling, published by Michael Joseph, £14.99. Buy your copy here .