A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Paris with gorgeous French skincare brand Darphin. I’ve been to Paris more times than I could ever begin to count, and I think it’s easy to become blasé about cities you’re familiar with, no matter how beautiful or interesting they are.
But my Darphin host, Caroline, managed to reignite my passion for Paris – she was a sort of human Baedeker Guide, knowing every side street, obscure restaurant and hidden shop. No macarons or photos beneath the Eiffel Tower here: Caroline’s Paris – Darphin’s Paris – was a patchwork of visits to the finest artisans, the edgiest clothes stores and even a perilous trip into the bowels of the city to marvel at an old wine cellar.
And, cleverly, the tour that Caroline picked for me gradually revealed a lot about the Darphin brand that I hadn’t known before. I’d always coveted the little bottles of Essential Oil Elixir that makeup artists prepped my skin with when I modelled in Paris – I would treat myself at the pharmacie before going home to London and use those oils so sparingly that you’d have thought they were pure molten gold! There was always something very niche and very quietly decadent about Darphin that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but the “secret tour” around Paris told me everything I needed to know.
It’s a brand that prides itself on its exquisite formulations, that’s true to its heritage (the Darphin Institut was opened in 1958 and the skin-sculpting techniques and sensory experiences are still what form the cornerstone of the brand today) and it’s also, though you wouldn’t think it necessarily from simply buying the products, quite quirky. Their collaborations, for example, have been with artisan tea-maker Mariage Frères, with bespoke 18th-century-inspired wallpaper creators Antoinette Poisson. Nothing obvious or mainstream here – it’s all about the craftsmanship.
This idea of craftsmanship was reinforced when I visited the Darphin labs to meet the formulators behind the skincare products – everything is so meticulously thought about and developed, from the weight of the round glass jar of face cream when it sits in the palm of your hand to the exact texture and viscosity of a serum.
I was actually there to discuss something very clever that Darphin have just launched: the Lumiere Essentielle collection. If you’re at all familiar with Darphin then you’ll know that they have quite a beautiful little serum-oil-moisturiser routine – three products, all of them very sensorial and gorgeous to apply and effective at treating or nourishing or maintaining moisture levels or whatever it is that your chosen products aim to do.
Now I completely re-fell in love with the Darphin triple-whammy routine – I’d forgotten just how relaxing it was to massage in a few drops of face oil before moisturiser (I usually do either or, mainly due to lack of time or energy!) and when the oils smell as good as Darphin’s…well. Safe to say I’ve adopted the practice once again.
But I’m a beauty junkie and I love products – what about people who can barely remember to slather on a face cream? What about the people who love the idea of an oil but who are a bit apprehensive about how to use one? Who worry it’ll be too greasy for them or leave a residue or break them out? In many ways, the new Lumiere Essentielle is aimed at these people. It contains all of the wonderful benefits of the oil elixirs but the oil itself is sort of enveloped into the textures of the two Lumeire Essentielle products.
There’s an Illuminating Oil-Serum and then an Illuminating Oil Gel-Cream; double-whammy oil, but without ever having to do the oil “step”. The Oil-Serum is incredibly smart – a crystalline serum with the essential oils (Tangerine, Orange, Neroli, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Cedarwood and Ginger) suspended in over 7,000 microencapsulated pearls that are distributed throughout the water phase. The oil-serum, designed for brightening and hydrating dull skin feels fresh and light to apply, but also has a luxurious slip to it and the most amazing scent.
The Illuminating Oil Gel-Cream is, again, the perfect cream for someone who wants the effects and benefits of an oil but is apprehensive about using one – the soft cream feels so light to apply but then turns into an oilier texture on the skin before quickly absorbing to leave skin plump but non-greasy.
Both products are gloriously sumptuous but, if you’ll excuse the phrase, very “user-friendly”. Those who want to try them but are already indoctrinated into the ways of the oil can, of course, still add an oil between them for maximum effect! You can find the Lumiere Essentielle range online here – the oil-serum is £55 and the oil gel-cream is £45.
Now the lovely people at Darphin have given me a special code just for my readers that gets you a very exclusive and covetable gift. I mentioned Antoinette Poisson above; they’re a luxury wallpaper atelier based in Paris who use 18th Century techniques to create one-of-a-kind hand-blocked paper. Darphin collaborated with Antoinette Poisson to create the exclusive diamanté pattern you can see on the wash bag above, and Darphin have waved their magic wand to offer my readers a complimentary wash bag with every order!
The code you need to use at checkout to receive your special gift is AMRDarphinParis – please see below video for terms and conditions. And now, watch my vlog to follow me on my whirlwind tour of Darphin’s Paris!
Terms and Conditions
*Free blue and white diamanté Antoinette Poisson wash bag with any purchase at www.Darphin.co.uk. using the code AMRDarphinParis (required at checkout), one claim per customer transaction. Offer available while stocks last or until the 15.11.2016 at 11:59pm. This post has been sponsored by Darphin.