How This Half-French, Half-Persian Woman Uses Beauty Tips From Both Cultures

Updated 03/20/18
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It’s here: 31 days. 31 cities. 31 perspectives. Each day in the month of March, we’re profiling an inspiring woman from across the world and asking her to share her beauty routine, products, and wellness secrets. Consider this your firsthand look into the beauty traditions and cultures of your beauty-obsessed counterparts from Thailand, Nigeria, and more (and don’t forget to check our Instagram for a beauty-themed global takeover each day). Now, we have Clémence Polès, a half-French, half-Persian woman who grew up in Dubai, moved to Paris, then studied in London. Now, she lives in NYC and runs Passerbuys, a recommendation website that profiles unique and interesting women.

Clémence Polès

Name: Clémence Polès

Age: 28

City and country of residence:

I was born in Nice, France, then moved to Dubai at the age of 7 and lived there until I was 18. I moved briefly to Paris for a year, then headed to London to study for five years. Finally, I moved to NYC about five years ago.

Your beauty icons:

Sofia Coppola, Isabelle Huppert, and Sade.

The five skincare products you can’t live without:

Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum ($90)—it's the only thing that got me through the NYC winter; Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser ($28); Weleda Sage Natural Deodorant ($14); Peet Rivko Daily Moisturizer ($28); and Diane Higgins Trois Roses Youth Elixir ($49).

The five hair products you can’t live without:

Mason Pearson Hair Brush ($150), Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Repairing Hair Masque ($25), Verb Dry Shampoo ($16), Aesop Classic Shampoo ($29), and Ouai Wave Spray ($26).

The five makeup products you can’t live without:

Kosas Cosmetics Saturate + Illuminate Cream Collection in Velvet Melon ($34), MAC Satin Lipstick in Verve ($18), Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in Clear ($22), Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Beige ($28), and Make Beauty Soft Focus Foundation ($48).

What countries and cultures do you find most inspirational when it comes to beauty?

It can be your own! I would say my beauty routine is an even split of both my French and Persian cultures. I’ll definitely get sucked into the pharma beauty and minimalist routine that’s popular in France but then will also find myself implementing these old Persian rituals that my mother taught me growing up—using rose water as a toner/mist/cleanser or ingredients from the kitchen for face masks (avocado, turmeric, honey, banana). Self-care and beauty are very important among Persian women. There’s almost this pressure to looking your best, so from a young age, I would invest much more time in my skincare routine, doing face masks on the regular, always washing my face before going to bed, and never stepping out without sunscreen.

As for the French influence, I typically leave my house wearing next to no makeup—but with red lipstick within reach.

The most popular beauty products and brands in your country right now:

In France, it’s Bioderma Micellar Water, La Roche Posay Sunscreen, Bioderma Atoderm Hand Cream, Nuxe oil, Chanel lipstick, and Lâncome mascara. In Iran, it’s rose water (most products are pretty old-school, grandma-style recipes, so no brands I can really name-drop). In the UK, it’s anything by No7, and Kiehl’s, Glossier, and Oribe seem pretty big in the U.S.

The most popular beauty trends in your country right now:

Red lipstick and eyeliner in Paris, fluorescent and bright lipsticks in London, and lots of makeup in Iran.

Favorite traditional beauty secret from your country:

Rose water as a toner .

Where you buy beauty products:

I do a big shop every year at this pharmacy in République in Paris. It’s this 24/7 pharmacy. And Amazon and Barneys.

What does “healthy living” mean to you?

Exercising regularly, drinking water, not overeating, having a glass of red wine, and balancing work and chill time.

How do you define/practice self-care?

Honestly, by just slowing down—self-care to me can be going to double matinée by myself followed by a glass of natural red wine at some terrace (if the weather permits it).

What’s your favorite way to stay active?

I have this app called TrackMyFit that has really helped. It allows me to fit in 10 to 20 minutes of a workout here and there. I typically run around the city most days, and I’m a big walker, so I guess walking makes the cut as one of my favorite ways to be active.

What’s your favorite healthy meal?

Quinoa and grilled salmon.

What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?

Quinoa and grilled salmon.

What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?

In the U.S., turmeric lattes, kombucha, and meditation. Parisians are big into yoga, pilates, and matcha.

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