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One on One with Olivia Chantecaille

I am lucky to have Olivia Chantecaille as a friend.  Not only is she obviously a stunning, uber-successful fixture in NYC, but she is one of the kindest and loveliest women I know.   Olivia is the creative director of her family’s ground-breaking skincare and cosmetics line, Chantecaille.  Their products are known worldwide as the preeminent luxury line of technologically advanced, serious skin care–deeply steeped with natural botanicals and pure ingredients.  Their “Cause-metics” Collections have impressed me with such an unexpected and creative approach for creating awareness and fund raising for charitable foundations supporting all forms of nature.  Chantecaille is “Using Beauty to Change the World” and has been a staunch supporter of marine conservation and endangered animals.

I recently sat down with Olivia to get her insider’s travel tips.

Q: Olivia, you are not only one of New York’s great beauty and style icons, but you jet set around the globe for both work and fun and always manage to look so fresh and lovely–what’s your secret weapon for that travel puffiness and overall look of exhaustion that I always seem to suffer from upon arriving to my destination?  I need sunglasses regardless of rain or sunshine so not to scare the passport control guards with my weary looking eyes!

A: I agree with you that a great pair of sunglasses is a must! As I get older, I find that fatigue and stress show more on my face than before and I have to take more preventative measures.  Now, I don’t wait until I reach my hotel to put on a mask, I wear a sleep in mask that goes on like a cream and is completely invisible to keep my skin hydrated and protected throughout the flight.  I alternate between our Jasmine and Lily Healing mask and our Bio Lift mask, both literally save my skin, especially if I have to land and go straight to work.  When I am trying to sleep during a long flight, I like to use an eye mask made of silk to avoid any creases or irritation on my skin and underneath I sneak on two clear, gel eye patches from our Gold Energizing Eye Recovery Mask (launching in December). The seaweed gel patches miraculously eliminate dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles!

Q: We have travelled together and I remember several years back being en route to St. Barths and we were stuck on the tarmac at JFK for hours and hours and thankfully I had all my goodies to keep me occupied for these unanticipated delays.   For this reason, I always carry my “Bored to Death” bag (well more of a compartment in my carry on) which is my comprised of an iPad filled with books and TV series that I swear I am going to start and the few movies I have yet to see.  I also carry a soft-cover book for all the times when the flight attendants parol the cabin to make sure ALL electronic devices are turned off.  But, my pièce de résistance is a little clear bag I bought at Muji.  This little zippered pouch has been such a blessing in times of need.  I have managed to perfectly fit every plug, cord, adapter, head phone splitter, charger, portable charger and the list goes on into this little pouch–and the pouch is durable and clear, so I can see everything rather than digging for surprises.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been thankful for this little guy, and the TSA inspectors seem to appreciate the tidiness of all the electronics in one place.  So, what’s in your carry on that might surprise us?

A: Oh! I remember that flight, there was a horrible blizzard and the windshield of the plane had cracked from the cold and we waited over five hours on the plane for the airline to fix it. I am like you, I travel like I had lots of small children with protein bars, books, every magazine I haven’t read, movies, music and games on my iPad, a cashmere shawl and cozy socks in case the AC is blasting. I always have a pen from my last hotel visit to fill out forms, Clean Well all natural hand wipes, Rescue Remedy and essential oils for my nerves, and Altoids.

I design small pouches for the stores all the time and I have a few translucent ones which I fill with beauty products. I never trust the products on the plane since I know the cost of goods so I always make a point to bring my own lip potion, face and hand cream, rosewater spray and tons of glosses.

It’s a miracle I can even carry my bag.

Q:  Seeing as you are the face of Chantecaille, what are your travel beauty rituals and is there any advice you can give our readers?

A: Well my secret slipped out in your first question. I wear my healing mask as a cream to protect my skin from the ravages of flying and sneak gel eye patches under my silk eye pillow to offset five years of aging! My favorite trick is to spray my Pure Rosewater liberally on my face every few hours. It is loaded with anti-oxidants and moisture- great for my skin and the air around me. Most importantly, I make a point to drink water throughout the flight and avoid any caffeine. I would highly recommend wearing a heavier moisturizer during the flight and avoid makeup if possible and to bring lip balm and hand cream.

Q:  I know you had a world-tour honeymoon not so long ago and have been many places in your life, but what is on your list of must-see spots?

A: My husband and I have a long list of places we would love to visit.  A few of our top picks are the Maldives, Turkey, Argentina and Morocco. I would also like to discover more of the United States.

Q:  What is your favorite airline and what perks have you appreciated most from any airline?

I love to travel but have a horrible fear of flying, so any airline that can help alleviate any stress wins my vote! Most of my trips are international for work, mainly Europe and Asia. So I look for comfortable flat beds where you are not staring directly at another passenger, and since I have a hard time sleeping on planes, I like a wide selection of new movies. It’s usually how I catch up on the movies people are talking about. One of my favorite airlines is British Airways. From the moment you check-in, they try to make your experience pleasant and painless, I’m sure the British accent has a lot to do with it. I’m still waiting for a massage on board, but the best perk has to be an upgrade.

Olivia Chantecaille in front of Spanish Steps

Q:  Obviously I am a bit obsessed with hotels (hence this great pleasure to work with LHW)…you spend a lot of time in Paris- would you mind sharing your favorite Paris hotel?  And maybe sharing a hotel that you haven’t experienced.

A: My mother’s family is from Paris and I have spent many vacations there, also I studied at the Sorbonne and lived like a Parisian. It is one of my favorite cities in the world and probably the most beautiful. My favorite hotel there is Ritz Paris in La Place Vendome. My mother first brought me there when I was very young for my first ’grown-up’ dinner and from that moment I fell under it’s magical spell. The Ritz embodies the old world glamour and sophistication of Paris in every way; from the service, to the food to the rooms. Since my memorable dinner there I have stayed many times. I actually like to try different rooms and have a completely unique experience each time. I am anxious for it to reopen and curious to see how they could possibly have improved it!

When I go on holiday, I love to go somewhere new where I can learn about a different culture or somewhere remote where I can be on or near the water. I have always wanted to visit La Mamounia in Morocco. It is a legendary hotel and everyone I know who goes, loves it. I think it would be a memorable visit where I would also have the chance to learn about a very different culture that I’m sure would inspire me to create some interesting new products.

The other breath-taking hotel I would love to escape to is Katikies in Santorini. Being a water baby, this hotel seems to be all about the sapphire blue Mediterranean water. It strikes me as a wonderful place to forget about work and cosmetic laboratories and recharge my batteries. Hopefully I get to go very soon…

Thank you Olivia!

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