The Beauty Routine of a French Perfumer

The Beauty Routine of a French Perfumer
Photo: Allison Kahler

In our series, “Beauty Routine of a…,” we talk to women from all walks of life about the hair, skin, and makeup products that help them get the job done.

Fragrance plays a huge role in all of the beauty products we use, beyond perfume and cologne. Smell evokes memories, wakes up the senses, and more often than not, convinces us to buy something. That’s why Frederique Terranova takes her job very seriously. Perfumery is a niche field that you don’t hear a lot about, but it’s an important one. There are only a couple hundred notable perfumers throughout the world, and all of them are equipped with the chemical engineering background needed to invent the unique scent combos found in virtually all of our products.

Terranova herself has worked with a who’s who of beauty royalty, but today, she’s carefully crafting bespoke fragrances for the newly launched hair and skin brand ApotheCARE Essentials. While most would assume it’s nearly impossible to dream up smells that are actually one-of-a-kind, Terranova’s secret weapon is courtesy of her very own garden, located in Grasse in the South of France.

During a recent sit-down with the fragrance pro, we were surprised to learn that her own beauty routine is pretty low-key. Ahead, she shares why she almost never shops for products and whether the “French girl beauty routine” is actually a thing.

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On Her First Perfume Memory

“My first perfume memory is the perfume of my grandmother. I remember when we were coming back from the weekend at Champagne, I was sleeping on her shoulder and the memory of my nose smelling her fragrance…. It’s a very nice memory for me.”

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On Her Personal Routine

“As a beauty perfumer, I am covering all the different categories; skin care, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo. All those products that we use in our day-to-day life are giving pleasure to people. And it’s not showing other people that you smell good. It’s showing that you smell good for you.

It’s a bit difficult for me because as I am creating new fragrance, I have to test my fragrance to know how it is. But my grandmother, she used rose water to clean her skin. For me, it’s something that’s very good. I also use allepo soap from Syria. It’s very old, but the recipe is still alive. It’s a special, very traditional soap, made with only lye essential oil.”

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On ‘French Girl’ Beauty

“I’m not sure that there is a French routine for beauty. I think that’s not really the reality. We are able, everyone in the world, to access the same product. If you compared people that are living in Paris, in Britain or in the Mediterranean, I think that our lives  aren’t very different. I think everyone has their own, but there isn’t a general one.”

*Fun fact: Terranova’s favorite scent from the ApotheCARE Essentials range is lavender. Check out all of the products here.