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Perfect Skin From Paris

Odile Lecoin Knows How To Get It And Keep It

By Erin Skrypek

French women are synonymous with beauty. They always have been and they always will be. It is something all us non-French ladies must accept. We can try to emulate their classic style by sharply pulling our hair back in a chignon or by clipping a tidy fringe just above our eyebrows. We can paint our lips a vivid shade of red and tie an Hermès scarf around our neck. But somehow it just doesn’t feel right. We even try going in the opposite direction and attempt to dishevel ourselves “Bobo-”style and roam the nearest cobblestone street with unbrushed locks, a bare face and a mixture of gypsy attire from the flea market, H&M, Vanessa Bruno and, if we can afford it, Chloé and Yves Saint Laurent. But something is still amiss: We can’t truly go bare-faced, can we? If the Francaises can, why can’t we? I used to think it was genes that made French skin flawless. Just like it was genes that keep their bodies thin, their limbs long and their cheekbones high. And to a certain extent it is genes; how else could a culture subside on a diet of bread, red meat, cream and rich sauces and not look like a community of Michelin men who keel over in daily hordes from heart attacks? Then I learned about portion control and red wine.

I also just learned about Odile Lecoin, a French woman who has been caring for the skin of French woman for the past 30 years. Just looking at her transparent, taut, make-up-free skin, I knew I was in the presence of a master. She shared a few French tricks with me. How, for example, to properly cleanse my skin, always rinsing a gentle cleanser (preferably Collosol Lait - but good luck finding it anywhere but in a French pharmacy) first with warm water and then with cold to inspire circulation. She showed me how to rub serums and creams into my skin, starting around my eyes, continuing in small circles over the rest of my face, not forgetting under my nose and even the little bit of skin that stretches between the top of the jaw and the earlobes. She demonstrated the quick movements all over the neck and said never to forget the décolleté. I never used to put my facial moisturizer there, but the skin there is apparently just like our delicate facial casing and must be treated as so.

Lastly, and most importantly, Odile told me to pat my skin with little quick smacks after applying each product. This helps the product to be absorbed as well as get the blood flowing. I started doing this as soon as I was told which happened to be while I was staying with friends in Paris. I’m not sure what they thought I was doing every morning and evening in the bathroom and I didn’t tell them. But they did comment a couple of times about how fresh and rosy I looked.
Getting these techniques down is key, but, truth be told, amazing skin doesn’t just appear from cleansing and moisturizing and slapping. It begins with a proper, professional cleaning. And there is no one better than Odile to give you one. Odile revolutionalized microdermabrasion 12 years ago, ages before any other aesthetician even dreamed of firing crystals at a client’s face. Now that microdermabrasion is mainstream, most of us skin fanatics have given it a try. I’ve had it about six times and have noticed a difference almost every time, but never have I ever seen a variance like the one Odile’s technique managed to produce. The machine she uses cleans the skin using aluminum crystals and it is much stronger than any of the appliances I’ve experienced in the UK or the States. I’m not going to lie: I felt the treatment. The little wand was powerful enough to make my eyes water and wince – especially when it was pelting my throat. But it never felt so aggressive as to make me want to stop being treated, I just knew the treatment would be effective and the results immediately evident. And that’s all I really cared about. No pain, no gain, and it’s true, especially when it comes to having a crystal treatment. I also noticed a knob was turned and the intensity decreased when the delicate skin near my eyes was being treated. I wasn’t worried. This woman knew what she was doing.


I was derma-abraised right down to my décolleté and afterwards I was a perfect shade of pink. Oddly enough, all the actual red in my skin was gone. This made me very happy. No red spots from the blemishes that I self-treated a few nights before. I could almost see right through my skin. All the dullness was gone. I was back to my original skin; the skin I was born with. Once the pink diminished, I was all aglow with health and radiance. I was, again, very happy.

Odile gave me three of the four products from her own line, OR. Because she believes in minimal, straightforward skincare, she developed this streamlined product range to work on all kinds of skin: young or old, dry or oily, damaged or not. She asked, rather told, me to please only use her products. She didn’t need to promise me anything; I knew just by looking at her and the clients that passed in and out of her treatment rooms, and by the way she made my skin glow, that if I followed her cleansing canon and solely used her products I would see a difference.

I was instructed to apply the OR, je suis anti-age serum in the morning and evenings, followed by OR, je rêve nourishing gel in the mornings and OR, j’aime moisturizing protection with vitamin E at night. So far I’ve been loyal; I even picked up a bottle of the Collosol Lait that Odile uses to cleanse her client’s skin with, although she told me the Cetaphil I’ve been using since I was 15 years old is fine as long as I rinse it off properly. But I didn’t want to take any chances.

Now, nearly two weeks after seeing Odile, I can still see results. I actually don’t need to wear make-up. I can hope out of the shower and show my face to the world. I can walk down the street in anything I want, my hair all awry and still look great.

Is going to Paris to see Odile Lecoin worth it? Yes. Definitely yes. Though, I must say, it is a pity she doesn’t spend 10 days a month in Manhattan at Dr. Cap Lesesne’s office on Park Avenue like she used to. She did, however, leave behind a crystal machine and a trained technician who can do the job just as good as she can. For optimal results, it is recommended to have a crystal cleaning once a month. Some people prefer to have it more often, some less so. The procedure is non-evasive enough to be done frequently, though most microdermabrasion technician in the States would never tell you that. The French do as they please and if the only side effect is gorgeous skin, why not do it as much as you want?

For information about where to purchase Odile Lecoin’s OR products in the US, please call: (212) 570-6318.