A French Face Massage for Depuffing and Dark Circles

Sophie Carbonari

Behind the glow of Frenchwomen like How to Be a Parisian Wherever You Are author Caroline de Maigret and model Maria Borges is the sought-after skin guru Sophie Carbonari. Famous for treatments in her chic studio at the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, the thirty-one-year-old Parisian’s techniques involve a glow-inducing mashup of different massage therapies—lymphatic drainage, acupressure, Japanese Kobido—to tone and revitalize skin. “The idea with face massage is to get the energy flowing and support circulation by stimulating the muscles, which helps refresh the skin,” says Carbonari.

She’s also a big believer in clean botanicals and oils. She mixes up custom blends to help soothe, balance, and nourish her clients’ skin—used daily in conjunction with massage, Carbonari says, skin care can make a visible difference in your complexion. She discovered goop products when she was shopping in our Notting Hill store last year—and she’s been a fan ever since. “I love the textures, the mild scents, and how they interact with your skin,” she says. She talks about her favorites and teaches us a life-changing DIY face massage in a video she made just for us.

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    “The Microderm exfoliates chemically and physically to get rid of dead-cell buildup, leaving skin renewed,” says Carbonari, who likes the scrub for oily, dry, and even sensitive types like herself and recommends using it once or twice a week. “The more microstimulating you do, the clearer and brighter you’re going to look.”

    GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Microderm
    Instant Glow Exfoliator

    goop, $125/$112 with subscription


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    Carbonari likes the way the G.Tox tonic gently exfoliates, detoxifies, and hydrates with its blend of glycolic acid, antioxidant malachite, and hyaluronic acid. “It respects skin’s pH and leaves you feeling supple—there’s never that tight feeling. It’s easy to use: You sweep it on with your fingers or a cotton pad,” she says. “It’s a nice daily treatment.”

    G.Tox Malachite + AHA Pore Refining Toni

    goop Beauty
    G.Tox Malachite + AHA
    Pore Refining Tonic

    goop, $75/$68 with subscription


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    “Vitamin C gives all skin types a boost—it’s brightening for dullness. It’s hydrating and helps protect skin against environmental aggressors,” Carbonari says. “You mix the pure vitamin C powder with the hyaluronic serum before you first use it, so it stays fresh and potent.”

    GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Glow Serum

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C +
    Hyaluronic Glow Serum

    goop, $125/$112 with subscription


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    “Hyaluronic acid helps regulate sebum if you’re oily, and it’s a nice way to get water back into the skin and plump it up, if you’re dry, sensitive, or worried about wrinkles,” Carbonari says. “I like the serums from Dr. Sturm and the French brand Typology. I apply hyaluronic on clean skin, before face oil.”

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum

    Dr. Barbara Sturm
    Hyaluronic Serum
    goop, $300


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    “I love Vintner’s. It smells gorgeous, and the synergy of the ingredients suits a variety of skin types. It’s this universal oil, and if I were going to make a product, that’s how I’d do it, too: one treatment that really works—and works for everyone,” she says. “I smooth three or four drops onto my skin in the morning before giving myself a face massage.”

    She also likes castor oil for treating oily skin. “It’s a source of fatty acids, so it’s balancing, and you need only a few drops to feel hydrated. I sometimes mix it with baobab oil to make the texture a little easier to work with,” she says. “Face oils penetrate better than creams for me. But if you’re extra dry, layer cream over serum, then smooth oil on top of that.”

    No matter what a client’s skin type, protection against the sun is crucial. “Wearing sunscreen—and sunglasses—helps prevent pigmentation and dark areas of skin, like the undereye area, from looking darker. I’m loving my big round sunglasses from Chloé right now,” she says.

    Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

    Vintner’s Daughter
    Active Botanical

    goop, $185


goop Picks

At the mention of sunglasses, we had to ask for more of her style secrets, particularly about her gold-charm necklaces in the video below. “I always wear them,” she says. “They’re from the British brand Alighieri. I have this feeling that they keep me safe when they’re around my neck. Otherwise, I do have something of a uniform: I don’t wear makeup, but I like to be comfortable and casual-chic. There’s this vintage dealer-designer in Paris—Amah Ayivi is his name—and he takes vintage pieces and adds embellishments and little touches, mixing the original piece with African styles. It’s comfortable, and it’s elegant.”

  1. The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Sun Protection Cream SPF 30

    The Organic Pharmacy
    Cellular Sun
    Protection Cream
    SPF 30

    goop, $69


  2. Illesteva sunglasses

    goop, $240


  1. A (43-Second!) Massage for Depuffing and Dark Circles

  2. 1. On clean skin, press a few drops of serum or face oil onto your cheeks, forehead, and chin.

  3. 2. Gently flutter your fingers, as if you’re doing jazz hands, up and down all over your face: from your chin up to your cheekbones, out to your temples, and along your jawbone. This helps drive serum and face oil into the skin and calm puffiness.

  4. 3. To target the eyes, flutter your fingers back and forth along the brow bone, at the corners of your eyes next to your temples, and gently along the undereye area.