You’ve Been Cleaning Your Face All Wrong


Armed with my Clarsonic and Cetaphil, I was pretty sure I mastered the art of cleaning my face. (If I even make it to the sink considering most nights I lie in bed rubbing a Neutrogena Cleansing Wipe all over my face while watching Stephen Colbert.)

That is until I saw these hypnotic videos on How To Clean Your Face with facialist Isabelle Bellis, courtesy of Into The Gloss.

It doesn’t hurt that Bellis is embodies every female French stereotype in the best possible way. But there’s an old school charm that reminds me of being nine years old and sitting next to my grandmother at her vanity as she schooled me on Ponds cold cream and Chanel #5.  I hung onto every word as though I was getting a privileged peek into the secrets of being a woman.

Besotted with Bellis’s instruction, I went out and bought LaRoche Posey Thermal water because she convinced me that New York City pollutes my face with “chlorine and caca”.

“Why is your face wet?” my husband asked as I looked for a clean towel.

“I’m getting it ready to receive product,” I said with the reverence of one about to receive communion.

I did the rapid movements.  Circular movements.  The pianotage.  The swim. I stroked the daylights out of my neck.

This took 15 minutes.  It’s not as charming when you don’t have a vanity and share a cramped bathroom with a man who’s trying to inch his way in to care of his own business.

Then I realized what was missing.  The French accent.

Zut alors.  I’ll keep the thermal water since Bellis convinced me living in NYC has polluted my face, but I’m going back to my Clarsonic and Cetaphil.




  • Reply
    June 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    I love the idea of having a luxurious facial routine to take care of the pollutants we receive from NYC, but seriously, who has time for that?! I barely have time to get enough sleep or prepare healthy meals to nourish my skin! I’m clarisonic all the way, but I might check out the thermal water!

    • Reply
      June 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      I’m actually kinda digging the Thermal water. If anything, it makes me feel a little French.

  • Reply
    June 10, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Clarisonic is my holy grail. Thermal water does make a great toner, though. I always keep a spray bottle of it handy. I’ve seen those French women up close and personal. I don’t think they have better skin than most American women. They are, however, almost without exception sleek and elegant. But….with all that smoking they do they’d better take a lot of time with their beauty and anti-pollution regimens!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    True, smoking is a killer

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    This video is ok and the lady is nice, but I believe any water-less cleansing method is a big nonono. If you think tap water is bad for your skin, take filtered one, bottled one, whatever, but what she shows in the first video is ok ONLY if you’re on the road with no access to any type of running water or something like this.
    Sometime ago I’ve read Garance Dore post about her dermatologist who was all “Clean your face with WATER?! Are you crazy???” – looks like its a very popular thing in France. My aunt didn’t use water to wash her face most of her life – she doesn’t look much younger than her actual age.

    Thermal waters, including this one, are amazing (I have at least four bottles on rotation, it will ruin my budget eventually), but they wouldn’t help to thoroughly cleanse the skin, it would require a bit more than just a few sprays of Vichy. And yes – some gentle cleanser (water-soluble one, haha).

    Love your blog, best wishes from Russia!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Thanks Olesya. Well I’m relieved to hear the comments that French women don’t have it nailed in all departments.

    On another note, I’m doing a piece on what beauty looks like around the world and what rituals women have. If you’re interested in letting me interview you, please email me at

  • Reply
    June 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Are you telling me I can’t use my Clarisonic anymore?? I have always used to water to wash my skin, and I go back and forth with the toner. Sometimes I look at all my products, though, and I think I am just a prey to the big marketing maching. But if you swear by Thermal water…

    • Reply
      June 13, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      Heck no, I’m not giving up my vibrating face brush for anything. But I am addicted to that thermal water. It makes me feel French and unpolluted.

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