If you ask Marie-Josée Leduc about her organic skincare brand Odièle, she’d likely say she’s playing around and making concoctions. It comes effortlessly to her because she is no newcomer to the world of beauty. Prior to starting Odièle, Marie-Josée has and continues to work behind the scenes as a professional makeup artist. With an extensive list of models and celebrities endorsing her work and products, if you need tips about how to care for your skin naturally after applying makeup day in day out, Marie-Josée is who you want to speak to.
As a makeup artist, every day Marie-Josée sees “different people with different skin and after a while, [she] started playing around to create [her] own skincare products. She kept trying “new recipes, new oils, and new products and would bring serums and toners to work” to use while on 10 hour work days on set with models. She would check-in on details like “how the skin felt 5 hours in. How was it mixing with the foundation? Too shiny? Too oily?” It’s rare but the research and development behind her products includes trying it on “models who were in need of skincare because their skin is used everyday with so much makeup, they are a perfect pool of people to get feedback from” Marie-Josée remembers. “I started by trying it on everyone I knew—which is easy as a makeup artist—and 6 years later, I have a company with 3 products and a 4th on the way”.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
When asked what her ultimate beauty tip is, Marie-Josée keeps it simple and believes that “less is more”. The key to beauty is to pair back your routine and choose simple alternatives, like replacing your cleanser with natural almond oil. Or to better exfoliate, skip the drugstore exfoliator—that have those tiny beads that are damaging to your skin and the environment—and replace with a Korean exfoliating glove that is much more gentle. She also advises to “stop stripping your skin of their natural oils, over cleansing is not good. Avoid products with perfumes and foaming agents that are damaging to your complexion”.
“This excess to impress? I’d rather skip it.”
While ‘wellness’ is a concept increasingly permeating the modern day lexicon, Marie-Josée approaches it through a dual lens and breaks it down by caring for the interior and the exterior. The exterior is simple, such as one’s skincare routine. Marie-Josée’s AM and PM routine have very few varying degrees: following her shower in the morning, she uses her Odièle toner, which she seals with her serum, followed by applying quite minimal makeup and then she’s out the door. In winter months, she’s been applying “lots of oils on [her] body because they last longer than an over the counter body lotion”. Her evening routine is comprised of cleansing and removing all excess oil with a washcloth, she follows this with a toner, reapplies serum, and then she’s off to bed.
To tend to the interior, she nourishes, sweats, and sleeps. Self-proclaimed as someone who “excels in sleeping”, Marie-Josée places a lot of importance on securing her 8 hours every night. Equipped with four pillows, a lavender bead eye mask, and a very dark room, her bedroom is fully optimized for beauty sleep. She also “tries to nourish the body with unprocessed food and a predominantly pescatarian and vegetarian diet”. At the gym, Marie-Josée runs, bikes, and loves to lift weights. She balances all these practices with meditation. “I can feel when I’m all over the place and overcharged from staring at my phone or screen too much, and so I take a step back. I always have my yoga mat out, where I’ll sit and refocus to bring myself back at 0.”
As Marie-Josée started making her skincare concoctions, she had herself and her needs in mind. “You know, I’m getting older and my skin is getting more and more damaged. So first and foremost, I wanted something nourishing”. She sought out dry oils like argan, rosehip, and evening primrose to “mimic what was already in the skin, they’re the same fatty acids that your skin already has but that depletes as you age”.
In the eyes of Marie-Josée, the value of investing in organic beauty as opposed to non-organic can be exemplified by going grocery shopping. “When I go to the grocery store and see an organic grapefruit versus a non-organic one, I can really see the difference in size, and oftentimes taste too!” Now imagine your own skin in lieu of the grapefruit, and imagine the difference between inflamed puffy skin versus natural and smooth, or the effects of pumping your skin full of similar non-organic chemicals. “I have a choice when it comes to Odièle, and I choose the organic route for me and for the environment.” That translates to being free of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. She notes that typically “when roses are sprayed down with pesticides, those rose petals are then distilled and steamed but are often not rinsed [of] all that junk. I try not to eat [pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides], and I’m also not going to apply in on my skin.”
“I’ve been aware of what’s going on in the environment for my entire adult life, and that’s why I chose the organic route [for Odièle]. It’s not because it’s a fad or to attract more customers, it’s something I’ve always believed in, it’s just the way I am. I’m an environmentalist and have been for the last 20 years”. Marie-Josée takes her packaging’s environmental impact into great consideration for this reason, whether it’s the size of the pump or reducing excessive packaging. “I cut a lot of the packaging that might seem more ‘luxurious’ because the excess to me is not necessary. This excess to impress? I’d rather skip it. If I lose a sale because of the packaging, it’s fine.”
Marie-Josée continues to play around and make her concoctions that, spoiler: end up as Odièle products. Currently she has been testing out a blend of body oils, lip balm, and essential oils blend for temples that are made for different uses like memory or for stress. The importance of the time necessary to perfect does not escape Marie-Josée. “I’m really slow. I like to take my time. If it’s really rushed, I’m going to feel stressed. And I don’t want to be stressed”.
Amongst her own Odièle products, Marie-Josée keeps the rest of her shelf in good, clean company alongside products like Tangellow Natural Deodorant, organic tea tree and Camellia seed oils, and Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.