Beauty and looking after ourselves are subjects that we talk about frequently.
I wanted to know a little more… from a French perspective… I was curious to learn the French approach to beauty maintenance.
The subject of botox and fillers is a fraught one for women of any age… to do or not to do?
So I travelled to Cannes to interview Doctor Sylvie Bourée.
Dr Sylvie Bourée greets me in her office.
She is looking not quite as I imagine a French dermatologist from Paris to look like.
She is dressed not as one visualises a doctor to be.
A very short dark blue mini dress shows off her fabulous legs and grey opaque tights lead the eye to her chunky suede wedges. A red leather jacket is thrown over the back of her chair… her white coat forgotten… that is something she reserves for her clinic in London. She is gorgeous, super stylish and ever so chic.
Dr Bourée has several practices… in Paris, in London… and in Cannes, where I am interviewing her.
High up on the 4th floor, overlooking the old port with the azure coloured sea beyond, it is hard to believe that I am in a doctor’s surgery.
This is not just any surgery.
Dr Sylvie Bourée, médecin esthétique, specialises in what she describes as, aesthetic medicine and anti-ageing.
“Aesthetic medicine combines non-invasive treatments using different techniques to achieve the desired result. It is used as a preventative method against the effects of ageing and sometimes as a complimentary treatment to surgery or simply as an alternative to surgery for patients who do not wish to go through with heavy surgery involving eventual anaesthetics and hospitalisation.”
Her practice is all about helping women maintain their natural beauty.
I had so many questions to ask her… so much I wanted to know.
I wanted to know about her techniques, about women… their routines and in particular those of French women.
Dr Bourée told me that French women were slower to adopt the injectable treatments that proved so popular in the UK, Australia and the United States… and even though today they are a common part of a maintenance routine, in her experience French women use less Botox and filler than their international peers.
She explained to me that French women are looking to become a better version of themselves… they don’t want to appear different, they certainly do not wish to emulate a celebrity and their appearance is something that they work on for themselves.
French women look after their faces for their own pleasure, not for their husbands, partners or to impress their girlfriends. There is not one facial style that they desire to copy … French women strive for individuality… to make the best of the attributes that they already have.
For French women, it’s not about looking younger… an almost impossible and demoralising quest… but their focus is on retaining their appearance.
Most of Dr Bourée’s patients range in age between 50 and 55 years of age. In her opinion, it is better to start maintaining the face at an earlier age. The best results can be attained when the patient is in her early 40’s… She would recommend starting with Botox and moving on to fillers when required.
I asked Dr Bourée her favoured treatment… Which one would she recommend? Which treatment did she consider most beneficial? Her answer was swift… filler.
She can sculpt the face in imperceptible ways to enhance the shape and give a more refreshed and youthful look. Of course she was quick to explain that fillers are not miracle workers and the results do no way equate to facial surgery. With filler, she can hold back the ageing process and create small differences in the lips, the cheekbones and the nasal passages.
The application of fillers, for Dr Bourée, are about artistry…
Her skill and creativity is in the understanding of the facial structure, the ageing process and the individual features of each patient.
Botox on the other hand is more about technical expertise and if administered correctly, should not result in a “frozen” look. The best use of Botox is around the eye area… to create a softening… and as a way to eliminate the frown without risking the mask-like forehead.
For Dr Bourée, facial maintenance is not about looking younger but appearing your best at any age.
Our conversation moved on to plastic surgery.
The answer is yes; some French women do have plastic surgery.
Again Dr Bourée explained that French women don’t wish to look like someone else… or appear younger… they wish to be well groomed, elegant… and … ageless.
I wanted to know, what makes a good plastic surgeon? How can a patient be assured of the exact result they are looking for?
Dr Bourée believes that the secret to a great plastic surgeon is one who is not only a master with the scalpel but who also has an excellent eye… a great observer.
The best surgeon will not only combine the skill of an artist but also show superb technical expertise. A plastic surgeon too often can focus on the technical and loose the nuances that make each face unique…
When is the best time for a facelift?
The magical 50th is her advice… at 60 it’s more difficult to achieve a natural result. Which is not to say that a facelift is impossible or not going to be beneficial… but her recommendation is to take a conservative approach… nothing overly radical that would look too false.
So what did I learn from my conversation with Dr Bourée?
That I have left it a little late… that it’s all so tempting… that I like her approach to maintenance… that ‘ageless’ is a term I could grow accustomed too… and that I like the French approach to beauty.
Would I do it? Some, all… a bit… I don’t know… The jury is out.
I will admit to feeling great confidence in her skill and agreeing with her philosophy towards beauty and ageing.
So much to think about… and I do believe it is an entirely personal choice.
My parting question to Dr Bourée… One skincare and one make-up product she could not live without?
Moisturiser… always, always, always… and of course, red lipstick…
No surprise there… xv