Chantecaille Used Botanical Ingredients Long Before They Became Trendy

The luxury French brand is a pioneer in the natural beauty space.

BEAUTY BOSS: Sylvie Chantecaille/Chantecaille
Photo: Courtesy of Sylvie Chantecaille

Long before starting her brand, Sylvie Chantecaille believed that natural, botanical ingredients belonged in luxury beauty beauty products — but the options on the market were few and far between. So, the beauty industry veteran used her experience and knowledge from working with Estée Lauder on launching brands, to start her own namesake line of skincare, color cosmetics, and fragrance in 1998.

Since then, Chantecaille has become known for its botanical-forward formulas that are backed by scientific research and innovation. What also makes the brand noteworthy is its philanthropy. Chantecaille partners with a different wildlife organization for its seasonal collections or specific products, incorporating the animal it supports on the packaging. (The Lip Veil Lipsticks supporting Space for Giants is one example.)

Although Sylvie started her brand at 50 which many would consider a late start, she says is this age is when life really begins. "You start to get strong and you get much more powerful," she shares. "You don't need to do what other people expect of you. You have to do what's right for you. That's the most important thing to realize."

Staying true to the founder's mantra that life gets better with age, Chantecaille is running a site-wide sale in honor of her birthday. From July 28-31, the entire line will be 25% off with the code SYLVIE25 — excluding give-back products. Orders $600+ receive an exclusive rose tote, and on July 29 the brand is offering a National Lipstick Day gift.

Read on to learn more about Chantecaille as a pioneer in the natural beauty space.

What inspired you to start your brand at 50 when you already had a successful career in the beauty industry?

I had three kids, a career, and it was a lot of work juggling it all. You turn 50 and realize you have to start doing what you really want to do. You realize you have to do what you're really good at and do what makes you happy. Even if it means taking a huge risk, and that's what I did.

BEAUTY BOSS: Sylvie Chantecaille/Chantecaille
Courtesy of Sylvie Chantecaille

Today, botanical ingredients are common in beauty products, but Chantecaille was a pioneer in utilizing them. How did you discover their benefits?

I had seen a lot of products over the years that were attractive, but the ingredients weren't necessarily good for you. At the time, there was no sense that natural ingredients were important. I thought it was important for women to be healthy and to create products that are good for you. Growing up French, always believed in the earth and things that are fresh. When I was very sick with Lyme disease, I healed myself after taking antibiotics with Chinese medicine, herbs, and plants, and I began to think about how this was needed in cosmetics. This is why I wanted to create the brand on my own. I didn't want to have to have conversations with people about it not being marketable. Since I had experience in the business, I knew exactly where to go and how to do it. So I brought everything I know to something very pure and honest.

Why was adding a giveback component to the brand important to you?

I've always loved animals, and for me, it was the greatest pleasure when I realized I could use my company to talk about the things I love and help some animals. We started very small and now we've worked with 28 different charities.

You're not a brand that follows trends. What's your approach to making products?

For color, it's an inspiration from an animal or a specific need. We pick the colors according to how we feel. We don't look at other brands because we're not interested in doing so. You have to do what the wind tells you and have an extra sense to know what's going to happen since you work far in advance to develop the products. For skincare, we usually work from a need, whether it's our personal need or the need of customers. Or it can can be a scientific discovery that's really interesting and we want to build a product around it.

VIDEO: What Every Beginner Needs to Have in Their Makeup Kit

For someone who's new to Chantecaille, what products do you recommend they start with?

We're so good at foundations, so I recommend Future Skin. You'll see the difference because your skin looks great, but it doesn't look like you're wearing anything. Most importantly, it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything. I can't stand feeling like I'm wearing something on my face; I want to wash it off.

Depending on your skin needs, the Purifying and Exfoliating Phytoactive Solution is great if you're slightly oily or even once or twice a week at my age. It makes your skin so smooth, removes impurities, and gently exfoliates skin the in the purest way. Our masks, like The Jasmine & Lily Healing & Hydrating Mask & Night Cream, are also a good option because they're less expensive than other products in the line and can be used as a cream. If you go out in the sun and get red, you can sleep in it and you'll wake up with flawless skin. Finally, the Pure Rosewater is wonderful and I spritz it all day. It's made with actual rose petals distilled in well water in France. You'll feel refreshed or If you spend a lot of time in front of your computer or iPhone, it helps cut down the rays.

Shop Chantecaille's Best-Selling Products

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Gold Recovery Mask

Chantecaille Gold Recovery Mask

Luxurious 24K gold and silk extract are the star ingredients in Chantecaille's soothing, firming, and glow-boosting mask.

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Lip Chic

Chantecaille Lip Chic

This lightweight lipstick combines the color payoff of a matte with the shine of a gloss. The formula is infused with hyaluronic acid so lips are plump and soft all day long. Choose from 23 berry-inspired shades.

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Bio Lifting Serum +

Chantecaille Bio Lifting Serum+

A true multitasking product, this serum targets fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, loss of firmness, and blue light damage with its blend of peptides and botanical ingredients.

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Future Skin

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

Chantecaille's Future Skin foundation is a red carpet staple as it blurs imperfections and offers weightless, buildable coverage. It's all thanks to an oil-free formula packed with soothing, moisturizing ingredients that calm redness and prevent oxidization.

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Pure Rosewater

Chantecaille Pure Rosewater

This is not your average face mist — the rose water features distilled Rose de Mai blossom petals for extra antioxidants. No wonder spritzing it on your skin feels so refreshing.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Beauty Boss profiles the brains behind the brands making waves in the beauty industry. From the ideas that first inspire brands to how best-selling hair, makeup, and skincare products are made, find out how these leaders get it done.

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