The second I stepped out of my ride from the Marrakesh airport, I was hit by a glorious wave of jasmine. My entire trip was designed around learning about the region's local beauty ingredients, and though I’m familiar with the scent—it’s a common fragrance note, and as a beauty editor, I’ve smelled my fair share—nothing could prepare me for its natural, heady form in person.
If you’ve ever visited the aptly-named Pink City, you’ll know what I’m talking about: Jasmine bushes are part of the spirit of Marrakesh, lining many a street, restaurant, and walled-in garden. The flower lends an intoxicating aroma to the air, enticing you to stay forever (or at least plan a return trip ASAP). It’s a scent memory I and many others who’ve experienced it will treasure forever. And, according to Yves Sant Laurent’s official biographer Laurence Benaim, it’s exactly what started the designer’s lifelong love affair with Marrakesh.
As the story goes, Yves and his partner Pierre Bergé spent a dreary, rainy first day in Marrakesh without much to do, wondering whether they’d made a mistake with their choice of destination. On day two, however, they quickly fell in love. The rains cleared, and the legendary designer woke up to radiant sunlight and the scent of jasmine. The rest, as they say, is history.
The pair made their second home together in Marrakesh, purchasing a historic estate from painter Jacques Majorelle in 1980. For the rest of his life, Yves treated the "Villa Oasis" like an artist retreat, returning to Marrakesh between collections to find inspiration and design his line's couture creations. Ever since, the city has been an integral part of the Parisian fashion house’s storied history, explained Benaim when she told me about the icon's life. If Paris is the spirit of YSL, Marrakesh is the soul.
Today, that respect for natural beauty and plant life endemic to Morrocco lives on with YSL Beauty. You can find native staples like saffron and moonlight cactus flowers on the ingredient pages of many YSL products due to their natural skincare benefits. The brand also looks to local traditions for formula inspiration, says Caroline Negre, YSL Beauty's Global Sustainability & Scientific Director, who cites saffron, which Moroccan brides traditionally apply to the skin on their wedding day, as a glow-boosting, natural way to brighten and even your skin.
Jasmine, of course, features prominently as well—namely, in YSL Beauty's beloved All Hours Foundation ($60). Jasmine extract repairs and protects the skin barrier by helping to "reproduce ceramides," says Negre, which explains the foundation's cushy, nourishing feel. After all, there's a long history of using jasmine infusions in Marrakesh, according to Negre, so it was only natural for the brand to find a way to harness the ingredient's skincare powers.
The deep connection to Marrakesh even extends to the YSL's sustainability efforts. The brand sources directly from Ourika Gardens, a co-op run by local women in the region. The profits, farming practices, and harvesting are carried out collectively by the community, lending the whole enterprise a genuinely grassroots energy.
YSL is also committed to environmental efforts outside Marrakesh, working to restore the area’s natural ecology with the brand’s ReWild Our Earth program. The goal: Protect and restore 100,000 hectares (that’s about 386 square miles) of land in the Ourika Valley by 2030. The program encompasses everything from planting olive trees to prevent erosion in the Atlas Mountains to working with local leaders to ensure changes benefit the people who live there.
Much like YSL himself, I formed an intense, personal connection to the smell of jasmine during my time with the brand in Marrakesh. But it works wonders in a makeup formula, too. Right off the bat, All Hours feels like a serum, thanks to nourishing ingredients like jasmine petals and hyaluronic acid, which my skin sorely needed in the Moroccan desert. Along with heavy cream and a little nighttime TLC, this foundation helped keep my skin happy and hydrated despite the hot, dry air in Marrakesh.
That said, the formula still has you covered in terms of strength (it's full coverage), sun protection (SPF 30, baby), and long-lasting wear (yes, it's also waterproof). The soft matte finish has a weightless quality, too, with a formula that feels more like skincare than makeup. I found it easy to apply with a slightly damp beauty blender, and it played well with my cream blush for a subtle and diffused glow. Plus, this is one of the few foundations where my shade is almost an exact match. YSL has the perfect pair for my cool-to-neutral fair skin.
The bottom line? Between its thoughtful formulation and ethically sourced ingredients, this foundation is efficacious, gentle, and well worth the price. Grab your own All Hours Foundation for the soft matte glow of your dreams whether you're on vacation in the desert or commuting in the city.