Welcome to our new series for May: International Beauty Code. As part of this month’s theme, Byrd’s Eye View, we’ll be talking to women the world over to find out what typical beauty routines are like in their countries. Yes, we love French pharmacy buys, and Scandi trends are very much on our radar, but alongside these destinations, we’ll be shining a light on some of the lesser-known beauty cultures—unearthing the beauty ideals, go-to looks and skincare routines in these places too. Following Aphiwe Khambule from Cape Town, we spoke to Lisa Debatty, a Brazil-based woman who has spent the last 12 years living in France.
Name: Lisa Debatty
City and country of residence:
I'm based in Rio de Janeiro, but I spend a lot of time in São Paulo. I've been living here for three years. Before that, I spent 12 years in Paris.
Your beauty icons:
Women avec du chien! I'm inspired by women with an attitude like Bianca Jagger, Nastassja Kinski, Charlotte Rampling, Amira Casar, Barbra Streisand, Anna Karina, Claudia Cardinale, Penélope Cruz, Brigitte Bardot, Ursula Andress and Eva Mendes.
The skincare products you can't live without:
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré (£20); Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Day Oil (£27); Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel (£65); Burt's Bees Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm in Coconut & Pear (£4); Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Soap in Lavender (£16). I buy most of these products every time I'm in France and cherish them because they're so rare in Brazil.
The hair products you can't live without:
I bought this pure argan oil, Rosa Huile Argan Oil, in the souk in Marrakech last July. I mix it with Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (£29) and apply to my wet hair every time I wash it. I use Christophe Robin's Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt (£43) once every two weeks and then organic coconut oil as a hair mask.
The makeup products you can't live without:
Glossier's Stretch Concealer (£15)—I'm pretty desperate because I'm running out and they don't ship to Brazil; MAC Bronzing Powder (£24); Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff (£15); YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Babydoll (£26); Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick—it never comes off; and Glossier's Haloscope (£18).
What countries and cultures do you find most inspirational when it comes to beauty?
It can be your own! Of course, France is a huge inspiration, as I was raised within that culture. Women tend to emphasize their differences, beauty- and style-wise. They like their individuality. And also they are never too produced. I like the fact that they never waste too much time doing their makeup or hair, and don't really care about trends to follow. In the morning, my makeup takes me five minutes, and at night, I usually just wear a bold red lipstick and the look is done. But that doesn't mean I don't like to look nice or that I don't have interest in taking care of my skin. On the contrary. But I guess we go straight to the point and may be more confident because we know what suits us and don't change our routine every other day.
The most popular beauty products in your country right now:
Brazil has a huge market for hair, as there are so many different types due to the multicultural ethnicities. And at the same time, the country is very Americanized. People here usually love big brands like L'Oréal.
The most popular beauty trends in your country right now:
Hair is definitely the most steady trend here. Not only because most of the hair is curly or frizzy, but also because it's so hot and humid—we have specific moisturizing hair treatments at the salon. They're called cauterização.
Favorite traditional beauty secret from your country:
Nails! Here, no one does their nails by themselves. Women go to the salon once a week to get their nails done, and they have a very specific way to apply the nail polish—all over your fingers. The first time you experience it, it can be very surprising. But then they take the excess away with a cotton pad and the nail polish stays longer.
Where you buy beauty products:
Generally I buy them when I travel to France once a year. I also like to discover local products when I travel. For example, for Christmas, we went to Costa Rica, and I bought some natural, local argile to make masks. In Brazil, the best beauty store is Dominique Beauté. It's the first beauty concept store with the best products from around the world.
What does healthy living mean to you:
To me, it's firstly associated with a good alimentation. I stopped eating red meat when I moved to Brazil because they allow more antibiotics than anywhere else in the world. I was afraid of what I was putting in my body. Since then, I'm way more aware of what I eat and always try to go with something organic.
How do you define and practice self-care?
I started going to the dermatologist regularly since I moved to Brazil because of the sun. It's not self-care because I actually go to a professional, but I feel it's some care I give to myself.
What's your favorite way to stay active and why:
Living in Rio, I'm also very lucky to be surrounded by such amazing nature: I need 10 minutes from my door to walk to waterfalls, or 10 minutes by car to be at the beach. This outdoor life is really healthy to me. I love to walk. I need the green of the trees and the sea to feel good.
What's your favorite healthy meal?
Tapioca (gluten-free local kind of crêpe) with scrambled eggs. But I also love a good spaghetti al frutti di mare. I think everything is healthy as long as you choose good ingredients and vary what you eat.
What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?
People here love sports. The cult of the body is huge. Therefore people go mad with vitamins and dietary supplements and high-protein snacks. Women love to take collagen pills to help grow their hair and have better skin.
Stay tuned as we travel far and beyond to bring you a Byrd’s Eye View on global beauty this month.