About-face on beauty

Courtesy The Saks Shops at Greenwich.

Most department stores feature cosmetics front and center when you enter the main floor. But The Saks Shops at Greenwich has moved its beauty offerings to the lower level of the Main Shop.

“Beauty is a destination,” said Danielle Selip, assistant general manager for merchandising — an idea that is underscored not only by the move but by the addition of two treatment rooms, which can be used by Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder, La Mer, La Prairie, Valmont and any other brand carried by the store.

“I think you’re going to see more spas and treatment rooms in the future,” Selip says. They, along with the whole revamp, make for “a less traditional, more intimate experience for the store and its clients.”

Recently, WAG had an opportunity to revel in the experiential when Saks invited us to have a facial done by Jessica Bonnetain, education and events manager/U.S. for the Swiss-based Valmont Group, whose Storie Veneziane collection of perfumes was featured in our June issue.

That was not our first experience of Valmont. We were introduced to the products at The Spa at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor for a January 2016 WAG story. In a coincidental — or perhaps not so coincidental — six degrees of separation moment, Bonnetain knows Stephanie Torres, who did our facial at the Delamar, through friends and family. Bonnetain is also a big fan of Ted Baker, whose new line of bedding is featured in this issue of WAG.

“The world is a large place but it returns small,” Bonnetain said in that delightfully philosophical way the French have of putting things.

She also proved to have an expert touch — not too firm, not too gentle — for the facial. 

Bonnetain began with the White Falls Fluid Cleansing Cream to remove our makeup, following with the Vital Falls Invigorating Toner, an astringent to remove any impurities. Then she applied the Face Scrub, a revitalizing exfoliating cream to be used once a week; the Purifying Pack Cleansing and Purifying Mask; and the Prime Renewing Pack Anti-Stress Energizing Mask.

The next group of products Bonnetain used — Sérum Précieux; Sérum Majestueux Vos Yeux, an eye-lifting serum; Cure Majestueuse, a nourishing beauty oil; Vos Yeux, an eye cream for puffiness and dark circles; and Votre Visage, an antiaging cream — are all part of L’Elixir des Glaciers, a Valmont collection that’s made of glacial spring water and Swiss plant extracts. It smelled as good as it felt. 

Bonnetain finished with L’Elixir’s Just Time Perfection, a complexion-enhancing and anti-aging treatment that has an SPF of 45.

Throughout the facial, which went by in no time, Bonnetain applied the products using Valmont’s vaunted butterfly technique — a rhythmic, sweeping upward movement that is designed to relax you as it revitalizes you. Color us sold.

But that wasn’t the end of our Saks experience.

We were then put into the equally expert hands of Fran O’Neill, Chanel Cosmetics’ business manager, who taught us a lot about applying makeup. She began spraying Chanel’s Gabrielle (a perfume named for the designer) on tissues she placed around our neck to protect our clothing and then had us hold a hand mirror at arm’s length:  That’s the distance at which people see you. “It’s all about perspective,” she said.

We continued to hold the mirror as she applied a Chanel Brun Cendre eyebrow pencil, beginning at the part of the brow closest to the nose, then moving to the top and filling in the rest. She transformed our Cleopatra eyes, with a hyperblack eyeliner atop the eye and a purple chocolate below for a smokier but subtler effect that included #20 concealer and a pink-metallic Mystic Eyes palette that complemented our silvery pixie hairdo and floral print dress. She finished our eyes with a mascara primer that conditions the lashes and Le Vol Black mascara.

O’Neill primed our skin with Le Blanc Rosée (SPF 40) to counteract its yellow undertone. She also used a # 20 concealer and Vitalumière foundation in #20 Clair.

She sculpted our wide cheekbones in #40 and #20 Les Beiges contour cream, which she applied in a bracketing motion on both sides of our face, using a rose bronze blush on the cheeks themselves.

For the lips, O’Neill began with a nude liner, noting that outlining the lips is out of style. Instead she made a Cupid’s bow on the “v” of the upper lip then filled in the lips lightly with the pencil.  She finished with a lipstick in Maggy (a medium plum) and a #119 gloss.

The effect was softer than the overall drama we reach for on a daily basis but no less effective for its subtlety.

For more, visit saksfifthavenue.com.

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