Joëlle Ciocco and the Beauty of Balance
Written by Hannah Safter
Photographed by Arno Frugier
Legendary Parisian facialist and self-described “epidermologist” Joëlle Ciocco is a firm believer in harmony. Indeed, balance is at the heart of her skincare philosophy. “Epidermology is a concept and a method,” explains Ciocco from her pristine clinic, located just off the Place de la Madeleine. “It is focused on the [acid] mantle of the skin and taking care of it first. This is what naturally protects your skin. It’s a shield.” Her role is to assess and calibrate the skin’s innate “good” and “bad” qualities, with naturally glowing results.
Trained as a biochemist, Ciocco is highly qualified to fine-tune the hydrolipidic film covering the skin, yet her holistic approach also acknowledges how profoundly the mind affects the body. The two are in a symbiotic relationship, she explains. “Mood plays an important role, because there are so many muscles in the face. These muscles are linked to your brain. They display emotion. If your mood changes, your facial expressions change, too.”
At the microscopic level, stress causes observable changes in skin cells. These alterations can fuel excess oil production or deplete moisture, and over time, they can result in dullness, blemishes, and wrinkles. Ciocco’s coveted facials incorporate a range of massage techniques developed to dissolve tension and relax the facial muscles. Simply acknowledging one’s stress or anxiety is a first step to reducing it, she says, making a harmonious balance of “the mantle” more easy to achieve and maintain.
Mood and emotions definitely affect the skin. I see it when I’m doing a treatment, but it’s important to keep this relationship in mind at all times and in all phases of life. Joëlle Ciocco
“The skin is an organ and a mirror,” says Ciocco. “It communicates to the world what’s happening within the body.” Because the skin is rarely in a true resting state, her approach is a dynamic one, and just as her treatments are tailored to the individual, her namesake product line is customizable for a broad range of complexions and concerns. Consistent across all Ciocco-approved routines is the primacy of cleansing. “This is the most important aspect of a skincare regime,” she says. “If you don’t cleanse your face well, your products will not work.”
To ensure thoroughness, she advocates “double cleansing”: washing first to remove makeup, dirt, and environmental toxins, and a second time to cleanse the hydrolipid barrier—“then you’re really cleaning the skin itself.” However, all cleansers are not created equal. Ciocco advises choosing products based upon your skin type and daily habits. “If you don’t wear makeup, you could use only Sensitive Cleansing Milk, and cleanse twice,” she says. “If you wear makeup or sunscreen, you can use Gentle Cleansing Cream first, followed by Sensitive Cleansing Milk.” Those with oily or blemished skin are advised to start the two-step process with her purifying Foaming Cleansing Care.
Finally, to achieve harmony of the epidermis, the skin must not be suffocated by too many products: for Ciocco, this is among the most common mistakes of skincare regimes. “If you allow the skin to breathe,” she says, “it will naturally produce collagen and elastin.” By nurturing both the body and mind, caring for one’s skin can be an enjoyable and relaxing ritual. “The skin of each person is unique,” adds Ciocco, before departing for her next appointment. “It is the cloak that reflects the past and contains the future, and its balance reveals a person’s beauty.”
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