A few months ago, I went to Géraldine Dormoy-Tungate
’s kitchen to ask her to make me her incredible roquefort rabbit dish. It went off the hook with responses on Facebook
. A delicious meal that led me to meet her husband Mark Tungate
, an English journalist expatriated in Paris who has just finished his book Branded Beauty. One season later, I finally found the time to read his enquiry into beauty industry marketing. A journalist myself who specializes in this area, I was quite curious to see how he dealt with the subject. After several biographies of the great mythic figures of the beauty world – Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and Max Factor - the marketing expert explains how the big groups like L’Oréal or Procter and Gamble built their imperial status. But above all, he talks about how the creams and perfumes that fill our bathrooms were created in line with the new aesthetic obsessions (surgery, tattoos, the organic trend, niche brands…). Yesterday evening, he launched the French version of his book, Le Monde De La Beauté (Dunod Editions), in Le Bon Marché’s Book department. And when he stated that no treatment or cream could get rid of wrinkles, at least in front of the naked eye, I noticed the smile of all the people listening as if it were something they all already knew. However, the hope there is a more effective formula than the others never goes away. As if giving up on miracles was beyond us. After more than 10 years spent in this industry, there are a few things I am certain about. A Few. For example, I believe in moisturizing your skin because you can notice the difference after a few days, actually even after several hours. I believe in rigorous daily cleansing of the skin (even if I don’t always follow my own advice, there are often times when I fall asleep with my blush on). I believe in the ability of beauty products to boost self-esteem. And I believe in the pleasure gained from it. Since you don’t need a laboratory to see how quickly it takes effect. But I do have more and more doubts these days. I would be incapable of backing up any ‘truths’ defended even by expert dermatologists. Whatever their high-end, super-well-researched strategy. On the other hand, I am fascinated by the hope that lies behind these products. Going back to yesterday, I offered Emily Weiss
some Granions (selenium, manganese and copper - to apply directly to face, morning and evening) that Joëlle Ciocco
recommended to me. I don’t know how this stuff works, but it’s not expensive and it has really changed the condition of my skin. At the end of the week, she had no more shininess and fewer imperfections. It is without a doubt one of the best secrets I’ve ever known these last years. On discovering these three vials (not to be drunk but applied to a cotton pad), Emily asked me how to use them and what it does exactly. On reading my response, she replied with an “Oh. My. God.” that made me hurl with laughter. And I’m certain that you also will want to descend upon your pharmacy to find these mineral liquids…In the end, it’s this insatiable hope that Mark Tungate’s book speaks of. And as long as it exists, marketing will continue to exploit it.