Paris-born and raised Nassima Kebir has a passion for beauty. While in school, she interned for the Clarins skin care and cosmetics company in New York City for a semester. She went on to earn a master’s degree in international corporate communications and work for French luxury brands Christian Dior, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. Five years ago Clarins called to offer her a job in New York, and she booked the first flight over. Her official title is senior public relations director for Clarins USA.
Nassima and I sat down together at a recent media event at SoHo House Chicago. In addition to reviewing new and exciting Clarins products for Spring 2017, I asked her to share her thoughts on travel and beauty—and keeping it all together:
Q: How often do you travel to Paris these days?
Nassima Kebir: I am lucky enough to go back two or three times a year for work. We have an international press event happening in Paris—that’s where Clarins is based. Of course, I go back for the holidays to see my family and friends. My entire family and friends are there. I’m a loner here in the U.S., but I like it here.
Q: How does your family feel about your living so far away in another country?
NK: It’s kind of strange to them, but I think they are proud of me and proud that I work for Clarins. In France, this is a historical company. It’s a brand you discovered through your mom. It’s a rite of passage for becoming a woman and learning how to take care of our skin and do our makeup in a healthy way.
Q: What do you love about New York?
NK: This may sound like a cliché, but I love the energy. There’s always something happening. There is always a new exhibition, a new restaurant, an amazing chef coming to town. I feel it’s the opportunities and options to discover what’s out there.
Q: What do you love about Paris?
NK: Paris is home, of course. What I love about the city is it’s an international city but also a very human city. You can walk everywhere. You have your history all around you. Living in the U.S., I also finally understand what Americans mean when they say “French beauty” or “French fashion,” because now I have points of comparison.
Q: If I visited you in Paris, where would you take me?
I would take you to the real Paris, which means not necessarily the Champs Elysees or the Louvre but the small neighborhoods. We would experience the Sunday market and the Sunday brunch, which is a very different brunch than in the U.S. We don’t have a boozy brunch. I’d really try to give you a taste of the local life.
Q: How do you keep up with your beauty routines while traveling?
NK: It has been a challenge. The moment you work in beauty, the bigger your routine becomes. I have 6 to 8 steps in my care routine, morning and night.
It’s very important to keep up with it while traveling because your skin is going to be under stress from the dryness of flying and change in temperature. Last week I was in Houston, where we were in 80-degree weather with 100 percent humidity. Now I’m in Chicago where it is dry but cold and windy.
We’re very lucky at Clarins because all of our products exist in deluxe travel sizes, not samples. They can last up to 10 days. I literally duplicated my at-home routine with those travel sizes.
Q: What is the one beauty product you can’t do without?
NK: SPF, my daily sunscreen. My mom was not a big beauty woman, but that was the one item she forced me to buy since I was a kid. I know the impact of sun exposure on the skin. Please, ladies, wear sunscreen every day even though you live in a city and don’t go sun-tanning.