skin and within
If there’s one thing Emma Hoareau could chat about all day, it’s skin. Part of the new wave reshaping the modern beauty industry, this former beauty editor is now a globe-wandering photographer, founder of the blog, ‘Lolita Says So’ and Instagram ‘skinfluencer’, where she shares her knowledge, expertise and honest reviews with her 62k – and counting - followers. We talked to Emma about her experiences of different cultural approaches to skincare, the beauty rituals she never deviates from and the power of the naked self-portrait.
"French women like to give the impression that they don't do anything, but actually they do lots."
PS: Emma, you were raised in Paris and are now based in London. In terms of femininity and wellness, what has been your experience of how the French approach the idea of beauty routines?
EH: French women like to give the impression that they don't do anything, but actually they do lots. It’s just all much more relaxed. I grew up in France, where the French pharmacy is a part of life. There’s such an ease around the whole approach to skincare.
PS: French women look so effortlessly amazing. From the way they dress to the ones who say their skincare routine just involves splashing their faces in cold water, it’s put together perfectly. What would you say is their attitude towards taking care of their skin?
EH: French women can find something they like then stick to it for 15 years - and it works. With skin, results take time and they seem to know that. If they've always done something, perhaps something that was taught to them by their mother, they'll just keep doing it and it will show. There’s a lot of passed on knowledge. They don't mind having a few wrinkles, which I think is so cool - and very sexy. They're just like, ‘Whatever, I'll have a cigarette, but I'm going to spend three hours on my skin later.’ It’s a balance.
PS: What do you look for in a facial?
EH: For me, a facial has to be something I can't just do myself. I had microneedling with Pfeffer Sal and it was the best thing I've ever done for my skin. The results from that were mind blowing.
"I had microneedling with Pfeffer Sal and it was the best thing I've ever done for my skin."
PS: In terms of your routine, what steps would you never miss out?
EH: I love using vitamin C in the morning, especially in London, which is so polluted. Having that protection is vital to stop those tiny pollution particles getting into our pores. And it just really brightens the skin, which is an added bonus. I also always use eye cream. I think often people try it twice and if their eyes haven't changed, they stop using it, but you need to keep it up for at least three months to actually see a change – and then keep using it in the morning and evening forever!
I have combination skin, so I love using lots of hyaluronic acid. Often people who have oily skin are scared to hydrate using oils, but it stops so many skin issues, like breakouts, and helps reduce fine lines. I often get people messaging me, saying, ‘I've got really oily skin - what should I do?’ and the answer is use oil. Your skin is overproducing it because it isn’t being given any, so actually using oils will calm it down.
"I've always been obsessed with the female form"
PS: What are your rituals?
EH: So many. I love using masks - for me that's a really ritualistic one, because I do them when I’m not working. I’ll have a bath, have a cup of tea, light a candle and watch Netflix. It's a little something I can do at home that works pretty well.
PS: As well as being a beauty influencer, you are also known for your un-retouched naked self-portraits. What has the response been like since you started sharing them?
EH: I've always been obsessed with the female form – and I have one, so I thought I’ll shoot that! It was a genuine passion project, but then I decided to share them. I released a series last November, which was so scary because I don't edit them or anything, but the response was amazing. To have that for something that I genuinely love doing, and had done for myself, felt really special.
PS: Is there a synergy between these two worlds? And how has releasing your self-portraits shaped your ideas on what the notion of beauty means to you?
EH: Sometimes I worry that my self-portraits don’t relate to my other skincare work, but they do because it's obviously my skin. For me, the two are connected - how you feel about beauty, as in skin care, but also how you feel beautiful. I feel beautiful taking naked photos of myself. I do it with my camera because I'm a photographer. Someone else might just do it in the mirror and that's cool too.
"I feel beautiful taking naked photos of myself. I do it with my camera because I'm a photographer. Someone else might just do it in the mirror and that's cool too."
PS: So this is your ‘within’?
EH: I love taking the photos because it makes me feel good. I felt kind of weird telling everyone at first, but the response I’ve had has made me realize that a lot of people also feel the same way. There's so much you see on social media that people compare themselves to, that unachievable ‘Instagram’ body, which doesn't make them feel good. I think it makes people feel better seeing a different kind of body being shared.
You can see more of Emma's beautiful portraits on her website, Lolita Says So