• 03 Jun - 09 Jun, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Beauty

“In France, pharmacies really run the skin-care industry; when you have any questions about products, you always go to the pharmacy to find the best,” says Natacha Bonjout, a French pharmacist who’s been living and working in New York for over a decade.

After 15 years researching skin, Bonjout’s eponymous beauty brand Bonjout launches with a single do-it-all hero called Le Balm Skin Savior Solid Sérum. To create a mix of actives friendly for all skin types, from sensitive to acne-prone, Bonjout created a non-comedogenic formula that contains native plant stem cells sourced from the South of France and more than 60 actives designed to help skin repair and regenerate itself. From gentle cleansing to natural remedies, Bonjout shares her six secrets for best skin.

1. Use actives that work with – not against – each other

“Don’t overload your skin – only use actives that work together,” says Bonjout, who spent five years combining the correct levels of actives for Le Balm in order to avoid incorrectly “cocktailing” different products. A good mix, for example, is a Vitamin C and a protective SPF, or a retinol and a hydrating hyaluronic acid like Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier. “Avoid applying retinol with a Vitamin C,” she says, noting it can create irritation and inflammation, while layering retinol and niacinamide will simply “cancel each other out” and is an expensive waste of actives.

2. Skip your morning cleanse

To protect your skin barrier, Bonjout suggests gently double cleansing at night and then in the morning, rinsing your skin with thermal water or spritzing on a toning mist. “Simply rinsing in the morning with thermal water like Avène Thermal Spring Water or a gentle flower water toner like Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Face Mist is all you need to do before starting your day.” At night, “double cleansing is capital,” she says. She likes Bioderma Micellar Water as a first step, and Caudalie Vinoclean Foaming Cleanser or Tata Harper Softening Cleanser as the second “double” cleanse.

3. Apply everything – including your makeup – with your fingers

“I always use my fingers to apply makeup,” says Bonjout. “Massage is therapeutic for reducing stress and anxiety,” she explains, adding that it creates a window for “less worry, better sleep, and glowing skin.” She chose her innovative waterless texture for Le Balm so that it could be warmed between fingers and massaged into skin for “immediate soothing and regeneration.” She points out that in France, people get facials at least once a month, often for their healing power of touch.

4. Embrace natural remedies

Bonjout emphasises that while science is always at the forefront in French pharmacy, natural remedies are respected for their organic healing abilities (like the potent plant cells in her Le Balm). She also recommends royal jelly, a nutrient-dense substance “produced by worker honeybees,” she says, adding, “It’s the only food for the queen bee.” It can be eaten or applied directly to skin as the “best immune system booster,” and it’s packed with antioxidants that fight inflammation and boost wound healing.

5. Reach for mineral sunscreen

While any sun protection is better than no protection, Bonjout strongly recommends using mineral sunscreens. “Chemical sunscreens can give you acne, burning, itching, and stinging of the skin,” she cautions. “The best sunscreens are 100% mineral filters, and these ones can be used every day.” According to Bonjout, French pharmacists swear by La-Roche-Posay Mineral Tinted Sunscreen, which is a 100% mineral option. And then, for a hybrid formula, there’s the beloved Elta Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum formula that’s powered by part mineral and part chemical ingredients.

6. Less is more

“Your skin-care routine shouldn’t contain too many cosmetics from too many different brands,” says Bonjout, noting that multi-use skin care and a light hand is the French way. She uses Le Balm as the first and last step of her routine (noting that it can be layered after a light serum like the Caudalie Vinoperfect serum) and before applying makeup.