Chantecaille may be one of the world’s most luxurious beauty houses, but there’s much more to this environmentally minded, family owned business than meets the eye.
It might seem like itâ€™s only recently that indie beauty brands have made their way to the forefront of the beauty world, but it has been 20 years Sylvie Chantecaille founded her line from her childrenâ€™s playroom in New Jersey. Alex Chantecaille, one of her daughters and vice president of sales for the burgeoning brand says celebrating their 20th anniversary last year was a bit of a surreal experience. â€śYou just have to pinch yourself sometimes,â€ť she says. â€śYouâ€™re so heads-down focusing on work that you donâ€™t always look up to see what youâ€™ve achieved but weâ€™re competitive with some fairly big brands and to think weâ€™re family owned and operated with no outside investors, itâ€™s pretty cool.â€ť Alex says the best part of it all is getting to share it with your family while evolving and growing together.
Unlike a plethora of other beauty brands that either choose a luxurious approach over a sustainable one or vice versa, Chantecaille, from the very beginning, has combined the best of both worlds. â€śBeing very French and having a background with Estee Lauder, my mother knows quality and sophistication and she wanted an exceptional formula right from the beginning,â€ť Alex explains.
â€śFor her, if the product doesnâ€™t feel seamless on your skin, breathable or very comfortable, then she wonâ€™t make it,â€ť she adds. So while Alex says Chantecaille has always been about creating the best possible formula first and foremost, it was a logical choice to make the brand clean too. â€śFor 20 years now, there have been no sulfate detergents, no petrochemicals, no added fragrance or colour in the skincare, no GMO and no palm oil,â€ť she says.
Nature also inspires the products Chantecaille creates and the ingredients they use. â€śThe colours we create all reference flowers â€“ a pink is a peony pink, not a Barbie pink, so itâ€™s cohesive with colours that are found in nature.â€ť To find the best formulations and ingredients the family has combed the globe. â€śThe foundations are made in Japan where the formulations are bare none. The lipsticks, powders and eyeshadows are all made in Italy where you have exceptional craftsmanship and pigments that last and are very comfortable.â€ť Rose petals are picked at dawn in the South of France and then dried by the sun and distilled to create Chantecailleâ€™s rose water which is at the heart of the skincare line.
The Chantecaille Philosophy
While Chantecaille is undoubtedly up-to-date with the beauty needs of the modern-day women, theyâ€™re in no hurry to launch make-up and skincare simply because itâ€™s what everyone else is doing or Instagramming. â€śOur new product philosophy is that the product has to wear many hats and be effective,â€ť she says. The brands recently launched Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum fends off the damage done by harmful blue light, but it also keeps skin hydrated with hyaluronic acid and helps cell turnover with botanical extracts that work like AHAs.
â€śWeâ€™re always thinking about the real world and places and spaces people are wearing our products in,â€ť says Alex.
Itâ€™s this unique approach that focuses on wearability and comfort that she says sets the brand apart from others. â€śItâ€™s elegant, itâ€™s beautiful but itâ€™s honest. And that connects us to the work we do with various charities,â€ť she explains. â€śWeâ€™re so inspired by nature, sit seemed like a natural thing for us to support the conservation of wild places and wild animals that are becoming more endangered.â€ť
For the past 24 collections which have spanned over 13 years, Chantecaille has created limited-edition collections to tell the story of endangered animals and help the plight of the not-for-profit organisations that work so tirelessly to protect the worldâ€™s most volatile species. The collections are often embossed with the very animals that Chantecaille hopes to help protect â€“ a butterfly on a blush or a turtle on an eyeshadow.
Alex explains that itâ€™s easy to get people engaged through something visual and beautiful. â€śAnd then we can tell the story. Whether itâ€™s the sea turtle affected by plastic wastes, the butterflies affected by pesticide use or lion poaching.â€ť She talks passionately about the charities Chantecaille works closely with. In fact, theyâ€™ve been so successful at getting the message acrossâ€“ Iâ€™m told that the lipsticks from the recent polar bear collection sold out the day they were launched â€“ that the family decided to make certain pieces permanent so they could support the wildlife charities all-year-round. â€śAs a beauty company, we realise there are so many problems in the world but weâ€™ve decided weâ€™re not going to let these animals go extinct,â€ť she says. â€śWe can use the interest around the beauty line to talk about the beauty of the animals and the fact there is only one planet and we need to protect it.â€ť
Alexâ€™s Chantecaille Travel Essentials
â€śThe Rosewater is great on a plane to hydrate and heal skin. Itâ€™s created in a very artisanal way â€“ like wine, itâ€™s harvested annually. Rose petals are picked at dawn and then dried in the sun, so whatâ€™s in here is very pure. Itâ€™s great to put in your handbag, on your desk, have in your travel bag or use post-gym. Rosewater is really the heart of the brand.â€ť
â€ś The Nano Gold Energizing Eye Serum is like a really great eraser stick. Itâ€™s great because you can pop it under your eyes or under your lip lines or over your marionettes. It has 24-carat gold which is highly energising as well as raspberry stem cells which push collagen production and tomato stem cells which helps mitigate the aggregation of heavy metals in the skin. Heavy metals are very ageing to the skin so itâ€™s very important to eliminate them and with the skin around the eyes being so delicate and thin, toxicity is that much more obvious.â€ť
â€śBecause itâ€™s so drying when you fly, the Rose de Mai oil which is 100 per cent natural and has four different types of roses, is very nourishing and brightening and also mixes with anything. So itâ€™s like the shoes that you pack that you can wear with 14 different outfits. You can put a drop of this with a mask, a drop in your foundation, you can add it to your moisturiser and it gives it more radiance. You can pop it in a bath you can put in on your body. It feels lovely.â€ť
Chantecaille is available from Mecca Cosmetica. Click here to shop.