A day in the life of Alex Chantecaille, launching Chantecaille’s new Cougar Collection

Alex Chantecaille knows a thing or two about Chantecaille’s brand values of respect, quality, and a focus on nature and its beauty. For starters, it’s in her name.

Growing up in the French family full of beauty industry pioneers and conservation activists, Alex spent her days playing dress up with her mother’s vintage Yves Saint Laurent and Armani couture, and setting a full face of makeup with her mother’s Lauder and Prescriptives beauty samples she’d bring home from work. On spring breaks, Alex would tag along with her mother to cosmetics labs in Milan, where Sylvie worked on new collections and formulas. Not only was Alex able to develop an eye for colour and an appreciation for makeup at a young age, but witnessing her trailblazing mother showed Alex firsthand what it was like to work as a woman – juggling being a mother, a philanthropist and a top Cosmetics executive.

Sylvie Chantecaille – who launched the natural beauty brand Chantecaille in 1998 along with her daughter Olivia – paved the way for female entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. She established Chantecaille’s founding principles: a thirst for quality ingredients and a desire to help save the wild spaces that inspire the brand’s sophisticated formulas. Chantecaille’s commitment to conservation started as a passion project for the family, but has since become ingrained in the fabric of the brand’s DNA. With the launch of Chantecaille’s Cougar Collection, Alex is following in her mother’s footsteps by continuing Chantecaille’s legacy of environmental philanthropy.

Before becoming Chantecaille’s Chief Commercial Officer, Alex climbed the ladder from her early days at Elle Magazine’s beauty department while studying at Barnard College, to shoe company Sigerson Morrison in New York City. Her early work as an account executive at Chantecaille nearly 18 years ago not only gave Alex the skills of operating within the retail aspect of business, but taught her how to support, motivate, and respect the people who play a crucial role in keeping everyday business running.

But it wasn’t just all work and no play for Alex. Her lifelong dedication to the environment has allowed Alex to translate her knowledge of wild species – and their importance within our ecosystem – from the depths of the wild to Chantecaille’s office in Downtown New York City.

Alex’s action-packed days are full of virtual and IRL meetings, conferring with buyers from top accounts, field team touchbases, marketing meetings, and of course an impeccable morning and nighttime skincare routine. The Independent sat down with Alex to discuss launching Chantecaille’s Cougar Collection, the brand’s passion for maintaining wild spaces, and how she manages to find time to unwind at the end of her busy day.

Rise and shine at 7am

“I love a generous spritz of Orange Blossom Water or Pure Rosewater to awaken my face first thing in the morning,” she said. “Then, a swipe of removes any impurities and lightly exfoliates my face so that it can best absorb the Bio Lifting Serum+ and then the Rose de Mai Cream – the best face cream ever, in my opinion. If I’m a bit tired or need to ramp it up for a big meeting, I will use Gold Energising Eye Recovery Masks. I’ll even go out for my a.m. oat milk latte around the corner with them on — they’re translucent.”

Alex also shared a secret beauty tip to waking up feeling refreshed: try storing the Pure Rosewater in the fridge. “I can see it depuff and open my eyes instantly,” she said, but don’t just take her word for it. “It’s my boyfriend’s go-to in the morning as well.”

Practising some mindfulness techniques in the morning also helps Alex feel balanced before a day at the office. “I do like to workout in the morning so I’ve had some time to myself,” she said. “When I do, I feel more energised and focused, especially if I worked late the night prior. It gives me a needed break and energy boost to get back to work.”

But for busy working women like Alex, she might not always have time in the morning to run through a multi-step routine. If you’re on the go, Alex suggests using Chantecaille’s new Anti-Aging Face Tint in Bronze or the Sheer Glow Rose Face Tint for a plump-looking skin, and it also doubles as a lightweight foundation. For a quick pop of colour to the eyes, Alex says apply some Mermaid Eye Colour in Hematite (deep plum) or Triton (metallic grey), topped with Luminescent Eye Shades in Zebra (soft pearly pink) or Rhino (iridescent soft grey with green undertones), respectively. And for a sculpted brow look, go for the Clear Brow Perfecting Gel to tame the brows and help them grow. “Often whatever Brilliant Gloss or Lip Chic is in my bag will quickly be swiped on my lips as I’m grabbing the elevator,” Alex added. “If I’m lucky it’s Lip Chic in Tea Rose and Brilliant Gloss in Love that I find— those are my two favourites.”

Workin’ 9 to 5…depending on the day

After leading anywhere from four to six meetings a day, Alex will make sure Chantecaille’s store design, ongoing marketing initiatives, and online orders are running smoothly before she leaves Chantecaille’s Soho office, sometimes as late as 9pm.

Parts of her days are also spent training and inspiring Chantecaille’s sales team, influencers, and editors alike on the conservation pieces behind many of their charitable collections. From sharing scientists’ information on the animals and their habitats, to educating them on the cultural importance of conservation, Chantecaille’s team isn’t just committed to selling beauty products, but recognising the power of products with purpose.

Unwind and unplug

Alex closes out her evening by walking her dog Ella through Washington Square Park, or biking along the Hudson River. Plus, reading a book while sipping a glass of wine – “ideally a French Chablis or a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir” – allows Alex to disconnect. Of course, Alex also makes sure that she’s taking advantage of everything New York City has to offer. “I go see theatre, live music or ballet a few times a month for sure,” she said. “That’s what’s thrilling about living in NYC – the access to excellent culture and art!”

Although, completely unplugging from her role as Chief Commercial Officer seems to be a bit of a hurdle for Alex. “What challenges me is never feeling like I am truly done for the day,” she said. “The ideas of how to drive the business and execute exciting ways for customers to engage with the brand and our conservation partners – that’s my passion. Sometimes I need to literally change settings to get my mind out of work.”

That’s where nature comes into play for Alex, and why she feels so personally connected to the launch of Chantecaille’s Cougar Collection: “Getting into the countryside where I live with my boyfriend is very important to me as I recharge and feel ultimately fulfilled and inspired. I love to garden, cook, hike, be on the water, and play with the dogs.”

Yellowstone Forever

Perhaps Chantecaille’s most exciting ongoing project is the brand’s latest collaboration with Yellowstone National Park. Just 150 years ago, the world’s first national park was founded as a refuge for people to reconnect with nature and learn from all its beauty. Since 1872, the conservation of Yellowstone’s wildlife has not been without its challenges, as an increasingly changing climate threatens its ecosystem. That is why luxury botanical beauty brand Chantecaille is extending its commitment to environmental philanthropy to the Yellowstone Cougar Project with the launch of the Chantecaille Cougar Collection.

The Limited Edition Cougar Eye Quartet

While Chantecaille’s natural skincare and makeup products are built on pure ingredients and smart science, it’s the women-founded company’s dedication to charities which protect wild species that sits at the heart of its newest limited edition products: the Cougar Eye Quartet and the Cougar Lip Chic. To honour the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, Chantecaille will provide much needed funding to the Yellowstone Cougar Project, as it continues its important work of studying the cougar’s behaviour and understanding the feline’s interconnectedness to the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Cougar Eye Quartet

“We wanted to find a way to support Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary and for us that is always through finding an animal that represents a key role within the habitat,” Alex Chantecaille told The Independent. “Animals and nature are interwoven so by highlighting a charismatic animal we are able to focus the story on maintaining and preserving the habitat.”

The limited edition collection, which launched yesterday, features a Cougar Eye Quartet eyeshadow palette, with four neutral eye shades inspired by the sandy ombré tones of the cougar’s coat and eyes. The Lip Chics – a hydrating lipstick/lip gloss hybrid infused with hyaluronic acid – compliment the eyeshadow palette with its peachy nude and mocha tones.

Cougar Eye Quartet Shades

“We took inspiration from each element of the Big Cat – from the multi-layered beige, caramel and bronze mix of its fur for both matte and iridescent shades to the grey of its cat-like nose,” Alex explained. “The Lip Chics have warm undertones that complement the eye quad colour palette and are named after flowers found within the natural landscape of Yellowstone – Yarrow and Prairie Smoke.”

While the popular collection is already flying off the shelves with tons of preorders, US-based Chantecaille is more excited to support a home-turf conservation initiative like Yellowstone Forever, led by fellow female president and CEO Lisa Diekmann. “It was clear in our due diligence that philanthropy and conservation is embedded in everything Chantecaille is doing,” Diekmann recalled to The Independent. “From how they design and source their products to giving a voice to the causes they support through creative and elegant storytelling, we felt honoured to be included in their vast portfolio of philanthropy partnerships.”

The Limited Edition Cougar Lip Chic in Prairie Smoke

Apart from the funding Chantecaille will bring to the Yellowstone Cougar Project, Diekmann believes the natural beauty brand will provide a platform and a unique audience for Yellowstone Forever that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to interact with. “We find our customers love to learn from us, often asking, ‘What’s the next animal?’ It’s thrilling to see how often they’ll donate and learn more about the cause on their own, too. I mean, you tell a woman and she tells her best friend, her sister, her children, her partner. It’s very effective marketing,” Alex said with a smile.

Sleep tight

Before heading off to bed, Alex tends to put on a face mask while answering emails, listening to a podcast or scrolling through Instagram. Her favourite options include the Bio Lifting Mask+ for when she (literally) needs a lift, the Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask for much-needed hydration and post sunburn or windburn SOS, and the Hibiscus Smoothing Mask to remove uneven texture and to brighten the face. “The Detox Clay Mask is excellent for skin that is clogged and needs a deep clean,” she added.

Much like Yellowstone Forever’s commitment to conserving the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife, Chantecaille is equally as dedicated to creating sustainable beauty products built from natural ingredients. Chantecaille’s passion for supporting conservation is embedded within the brand, and even within the Chantecaille family. But don’t just take our word for it.

“Clients and friends alike are equally enthused by the quality of the formulas, as well as the conservation component and joining together to give back to animals,” Alex said. “We are so proud to be Beauty that Gives Back and to be able to share the stories of wild places and animals and the people who protect them directly.”

Alex Chantecaille shares her family’s passion for environmental causes and animal rights

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