This ex-beauty director of Instyle magazine spills on her go-to products and industry secrets


A beauty journalist-turned luxury consultant, Delphine Lamandé-Frearson has tested hundreds of beauty products and treatments over her 18-year career.

Reporting on beauty for InStyle, Elle, Vogue, Tatler and Cosmopolitan among others, the Parisian mother of two spent 20 years living in London and now calls Auckland home. Working out of her seaside home office, Delphine collaborates with beauty and fashion companies around the globe on various projects from product innovation to trend analysis and content creation.

FQ: What’s a normal day like for you?
Delphine: Every day is different. I can be up on a conference call talking about marketing strategies at 5am as I juggle time zones or I can be brainstorming beauty ideas with clients over morning coffee, before spending the rest of the day at my desk trying to make sense of data for a project. On a good day, you can find me running on the beach, going through ideas for content I am creating for clients.

What beauty aesthetic are you inspired by right now?
I have always loved a minimalist kind of beauty, so I’m drawn to the groomed yet pared down looks seen at the latest shows of Lanvin, Chloé and Isabel Marant. I also love the fresh, modern look of some Asian fashionistas such as Fei Fei Sun, who is so incredibly beautiful yet always so low-maintenance; Vanessa Hong, whose flawless skin, signature platinum bob and easy eyeliner flick are a simple but very memorable statement beauty look; and Leaf Greener, whose perfect, thick fringe, luscious dark mane and porcelain skin I envy. I love that beauty is so diverse, cultural and personal too. It is a wonderful vehicle for artistic expression and I get inspired every day.

Describe your relationship with makeup…
Makeup and I have a very casual relationship. I love colours and textures so I am always excited to discover new products and guide women through options. But personally, I am adept at the barely there, yet groomed makeup look. It is very Parisian. I spend more time on skincare than makeup so my daily look is very basic: some tinted moisturiser, a little bronzer, a coat of black lengthening mascara and some tinted lip balm. And some red lipstick on-the-go depending on my mood. It sounds basic but I like to see it as understated chic rather than raw beauty.

What’s the latest trick you’ve learnt that’s changed up your beauty game?
I have picked up a few tricks from the wonderful Lisa Eldridge’s beauty videos. For instance, on a hot night I normally use a creamy eyeshadow as it stays put longer. But humidity is higher here in New Zealand than in Europe so it tends to slip. While watching one of Lisa’s videos, I remembered a good trick from photoshoots: apply primer to your eyelid first to set the creamy texture. Then you can follow with a powder if you want to build up the colour further. It’s been very useful recently. Also Josh from French Revolver Studio has rekindled me with my trusted hair coils — normal hair elastics are just too tough on my hair. The switch has saved me a few split ends and post-workout frizz.

What’s the skincare product you tell everyone about?
There are a few actually:
1. Merino Walk-on Blister Protection. Technically it is not a beauty product but I like to think of it as a beauty accessory if you plan to flash your fancy pedicure wearing your new Alexandre Birman sandals on a night out. I wear heels every day and I am a runner so my feet need a lot of TLC. I was super excited to find this product – the natural merino wool acts like a cushion to avoid rubbing and pressure, plus it lets your skin breathe. I have sent a few packs to fashionista friends trotting from one show to the next and they’re now all converted.
2. This Works Sleep Plus Hair Elixir. I am a huge fan of This Works products. They are smart and effective — probably because the founder was a Vogue beauty director for years and knows what women need. This aromatherapy spray will help you to snooze off faster after a long day and you will wake up with silky, shiny hair. I use it before a long-haul flight so I never have plane hair on landing.
3. Philip B Hairbrush Cleaner. I am obsessed with brush hygiene, so this tool makes me very happy. It removes dirt and keeps your hair brushes clean day-to-day until it’s time for thorough brush shampooing. I mean, imagine never rinsing off your toothbrush before brushing your teeth? You get my point, right? Now you know you need this too!

Beauty products on a desk

Lipgloss, lipstick or lip balm?
Lip balm every day. Lipstick whenever I feel like it and it has to have a creamy feel. Never lipgloss. It’s like slime for the lips. Who wants to kiss slimy lips? I love Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus as it is packed with 100% natural ingredients, which is a good thing when you think of how much product you end up eating throughout the day! I have also been loyal to By Terry Baume de Rose ever since it launched. It is a real lip treatment with ceramides, Vitamin E, rose essential wax and shea butter to nurture your lips throughout the day.  For colour, I always turn to NARS. Right now, I am totally crazy on their new collection with French style icon Charlotte Gainsbourg (Jane Birkin’s daughter). The NARS X Charlotte Gainsbourg Multiple Tint in Jeanette, is the perfect, classic, suits-all red. 

Foundation: blending with fingers, sponge or brush?
Fingers first, always, then I finish with a brush. That way I get a natural coverage but a flawless complexion. Gucci Westman, one of my favourite makeup artists and another champion of understated beauty, showed me how.  She knows I like simple beauty so she made me use my ring finger to dab in foundation where needed and brush to finish the look.

Makeup artist Gucci Westman and beauty writer Delphine Lamande-Frearson

Delphine with makeup icon Gucci Westman

What’s your guilty beauty splurge?
Fragrance and skincare. I see skincare shopping as an investment in the future.

A lineup of fragrances on a counter

What’s your best ever supermarket beauty find?
I discovered the Only Good range when arriving in New Zealand and I am a big fan. The products are made in NZ, they are great for sensitive skin, have no nasties and look great on the bathroom shelf. I also love Nivea Q10 Plus CC Cream SPF15, which is a tinted moisturiser with added skincare benefits. I like the mineral pigments for a light, everyday coverage.  Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream is a nappy rash cream but it calms down inflammation fast so it is one of my go-to products if my skin breaks out.

What have you learnt about skin that you wish you had known when you were younger?
I grew up in a typical French household so I was taught that skincare is a priority early in my life and that spending more time on caring for my skin than makeup would pay off in the long run. I just wish higher SPF was a must when growing up, as sunburnt skin is never a good look nor legacy.

Who is the most beautiful woman you know?
My close friend Alessandra Steinherr, the beauty director of UK Glamour, has the most beautiful face I have ever seen. Her skin is as flawless today as it was when I first met her at the gym a very long time ago. Her Sunday facials have become quite a hit in the UK as have her live beauty chats. Check out her site for awesome beauty tips – she is a living beauty encyclopedia.

Busy day today – caffeine injection needed @lacolombecoffee 🕊☕️🖤 (makeup breakdown on my insta stories 👀)

A post shared by Alessandra Steinherr (@alexsteinherr) on

As a beauty editor, marketing expert, and now luxury consultant, you have seen all sides of the beauty industry. What is your personal philosophy towards beauty?
Beauty is so much more than making you look pretty. It is about making you feel confident, it gives you the boost you need to go after your goals, it forces you to look after your body so you are strong and healthy and it connects you to others. I love the communities that beauty companies and social media have built around beauty conversations. Bobbi Brown is a great example of this wonderful, ‘look good, feel good, share’ attitude that the beauty industry has championed over the past 10 years. One of our chats inspired me to challenge myself further in my career and move into the business side of beauty. Her drive and kindness has always been a great motivator. Many women are empowered by the connection beauty gives them to others, so I think having an honest and healthy approach to beauty is generous and caring but also relevant and powerful right now.

Your morning skincare routine?
As soon as I get up, I cleanse my skin. It wakes me up. I love Skinceuticals Gentle Cleanser. On a hot day, I prefer using an oil cleanser as it feels lighter yet still indulgent. I use Votary Cleansing Oil, which is lightweight and never feels gloopy. I rinse with a lukewarm cotton flannel — a tip I got from many facialists. It opens the pores and get my skin ready to absorb the goodness of my skincare. I then massage in Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum and let it sink in while I brush my teeth. I follow with face cream or hydrating lotion such as Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50, get dressed and finish with a little makeup or tinted sunscreen if needed. I have discovered Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear Light in NZ and I just love this mineral 3-in-1 moisturiser, coverage and sunscreen. It is lightweight, doesn’t block your pores and comes in two shades.

 Skincare 1

And at night?
As soon as I get home I cleanse my skin using Bioderma Créaline/Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution, which I buy in bulk in Paris or London. Then if I go out at night, I spray some mineral, thermal or coconut water to my face and neck (I love Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray and Herbivore Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist). I follow with Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, which must be on every beauty editor’s hotlist as it is such a classic beautifier. Then I apply a night cream. I change night creams often depending on the climate.  At the moment I love Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream and I also use Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado. It is a great option if you have sensitive eyes.

Once a week, I give my skin a little extra care with a home facial. Usually it starts with thorough cleansing using my Clarisonic brush, then I apply a face mask. I have been a fan of Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial for years. It only takes 5 minutes and can see the difference before and after treatment, my skin literally glows immediately. I finish with a little massage using a nourishing face oil such as Rodin Olio Lusso, which is expensive but I think of it as my beauty jewel.

Follow Delphine at @coffeeandbeauty