Thursday Notes

An ode to Marie

Dara's Oil

If I could, I’d live on bread, cheese, wine, and chocolate. There have been periods of time when I have, essentially: those days were glorious.

But now, due to some autoimmune issues, I run on a dramatically different diet. Well, not so dramatically, perhaps; there’s still a lot of chocolate. A lot. And there’s some wine, too. But it is different enough that, when I’m invited to someone’s house for dinner and asked about dietary restrictions, I cringe at the wrench I’m about to throw into their menu plan. And I wonder at which point a small part of them will secretly wish they could un-invite me: is it when I mention my second allergy? Or my fourth?

My skin is similarly fussy. It reacts to all kinds of things, including an ingredient that is ubiquitous in healthy formulas, where it’s typically used as a preservative: tocopherol, a form of Vitamin E. Dr. Macrene Alexiades is the person I credit with figuring this out (of course she did; what can’t she figure out?).

When I told Marie-Veronique Nadeau how sorry I was that I couldn’t use her face oils due to my allergy, instead of responding, “Oh, that’s too bad”— as most would — she immediately asked what I used instead, then scanned the ingredient listing. Then she nodded and said, “Let me make you something better.”

Mind blown, I politely started to protest ("I can still use some of your other products!"), but she insisted. “It’s a challenge!” she declared. And what she developed — Dara’s Oil — is spectacular, with an earthy ease that matter-of-factly says, “Don’t worry, dear fussy skin; I’ve got you.”

I still kind of can’t believe this happened. Marie’s offer, and her subsequent development of Dara’s Oil, are among the kindest things anyone has done for me. It was as though I’d arrived on someone’s doorstep and said, “I wish I could eat this incredible meal that you’ve so lovingly prepared for everyone, but I can’t, and I'm completely fine just eating the garnishes,” followed by a response akin to, “Well, let me make you something entirely different. It will be so much fun to figure this out! Yay!” Except that it takes a lot more effort to create a formula, and organize production runs, than it does to create and cook a meal. A lot. A LOT.

And it takes a heart of gold — along with the brilliant brain and devoted team required to make it all happen. I am endlessly grateful to Marie and her team, not just for developing this amazing oil, but also for embracing my complicated skin. Just as they do all manner of skin types and conditions with the rest of their best-selling-for-a-reason product line.

If you haven’t yet checked out Dara’s Oil, please do. It’s a gem; I use it daily, and you can select a sample of it at checkout with any order. If you’re partial to the Barrier Lipid Complex, hot tip: Dara’s Oil is similar in many ways, but it’s lighter — so it might be just what you need for spring and summer.

And please know that we’re always here to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter how fussy you may think it is. We will never secretly wish we could un-invite you over your skin fussiness. As Marie would say (and does say, in this interview about sunscreen), “Au contraire.”



PS By the way, from a cursory flip through articles about the longest-lived people these days, I’ve noticed that they either enjoy a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate every day. Bread and cheese, however: not mentioned. We may be on to something here.

PPS I don't write my Thursday notes in any specific cadence (and certainly not every week). They just sort of pop in my head, and then I write them down. But I can tell you that the best way to get them in your Inbox is to sign up for our Sunday newsletter and read it — and you'll magically get on the list to receive these.

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