Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lipstick Sisters

One of my favorite things to do when I'm in another country is to browse in the local pharmacy for unique toiletries and makeup. While the world is getting smaller all the time and just about everything is available everywhere, it's still possible to find little treasures. And true confessions, I love using foreign makeup, lotions, soap and toothpaste. It gives me a little blast of memory about the trip everyday when I use the product back home. And I feel a touch more worldly when I see labels in a language other than english in my bathroom cabinet.
I first heard about T. LeClerc years ago when I read that Catherine Deneuve used their loose powder. With her luminous complexion I thought I had to try that. At the time, Bell'occhio was the only shop in San Francisco that carried the famous T. LeClerc powder. And when I saw the beautiful pressed metal tin that contained the powder, it became a favorite of mine too.
In 1881, Theophile LeClerc owned an elegant pharmacy near the Place de la Madeleine in Paris. The story goes that he came from a family of artists and that he was also a lover of beauty and art. At his pharmacy he experimented with color and texture and developed a secret formula of rice starch to create a powder that was lighter and more natural than the heavy makeup worn during that time. The powders were success with the women of  the Belle Epoque.

Some pharmacy finds. The smiling matador on the tube of Email Diamant toothpaste is irresistible.  Le Petit Marseiliais body cream from Monoprix comes in gift-worthy packaging and Labello makes a good lip balm. This one gives a pretty red stain. 

Bourjois makes a rich and smooth Khol eyeliner
A few years ago my Aunt Mary Ellen heard that Chanel had their makeup manufactered by Bourjois, so that set us on a search. We found Bourjois to be good quality for the price. And  Bourjois also has Belle Epoque cred. The company was started in 1863 by Alexandre Napoleon Bourjois who created the first non-grease powder makeup for the stage. Mary Ellen couldn't come on this trip, but armed her husband, my Uncle Ron, with a shopping list. On the list was a trip to Monoprix (like a french Target) for Bourjois lipstick in a nude shade. After being a good sport and trying a number of colors on the back of his hand, he decided on "Sweet Kiss Beige Elegant" for Mary Ellen. Auntie and I also liked the color and couldn't resist the glam purple tube with a silver button, so now we are sisters of the French lipstick. 


  1. I want some T. LeClerc powder now.
    I love those little coin purses in your previous post and I would love to see how you wear them.

  2. The best kinds of gifts to buy for yourself when traveling. Things that look fabulous when resting casually on your bathroom sink, or that fall gracefully from your purse when you drop it--intentionally of course.