The Swiss are certainly no strangers to extreme weather conditions, yet they have a reputation for having year-round immaculate, glowing skin. The secret, says Ronit Raphael, Geneva-based skin expert and founder of A-list-approved brand L.Raphael, lies in their routine.
"Swiss women approach skincare very differently than those in the U.S." she tells MyDomaine. "In Switzerland, it is about graceful enhancements, highlighting natural beauty, and improving skin over time so that it can age well." However, in the U.S., she argues there's a misconception "that you must strip things away because the base is not good—which is not at all true."
Those differences are just the start, though. From their morning routines to the drying ingredients they won't touch in winter, there's a lot we can learn from Swiss women. Ahead, Ronit shares their skincare secrets.
They Constantly Review Their Routine
While the changing seasons act as a good guide to review your regimen, Raphael places a stronger emphasis on gut instinct and staying in touch with your skin's needs. "I think it is less important to put a timeline on your skin but rather listen to what it needs. If you feel dry, slowly introduce hydrating agents. If it feels oily, reduce them," she says. "While you can expect certain things to happen to skin during certain seasons, sometimes it can change and fluctuate because of outside factors such as stress and eating habits."
The one product that is seasonal is body oil—a must in her winter skincare routine. "I use our Beauty Spa oils all over my body morning and night in the winter. Not only does it help me relax, it keeps skin hydrated and smooth," she says.
They Turn to the Professionals
She also points out that Swiss women turn to experts for skincare advice, whereas Americans prefer a DIY approach. "The U.S. is very focused on do-it-yourself assessments of skin, but here in Switzerland, women know the importance of working with a professional to aid in your routine, ensuring you are doing the right thing for you," she says.
It's not just Swiss women who turn to Raphael for skincare advice—her oxygen facial is a celebrity favorite at the famous Hotel Martinez in Cannes before the annual film festival. The treatment is also available at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. "I would highly recommend an Oxygen Facial, as it injects pure oxygen and a customized blend of vitamins and minerals into the skin, helping to energize and balance it," she explains. Scheduling periodic treatments doesn't just give Swiss women a short-term glow—it also means they check in with professionals regularly to ensure their skincare routine is on track.
They Never Strip Their Skin
The biggest mistake people make when trying to combat dull winter skin? "They strip!" exclaims Raphael. "They are constantly washing their face or using drying washes without realizing it." Instead, she says, "balance is key, and you cannot do that when you are pushing your skin to an extreme. Make sure your face wash is formulated for your skin needs with balance in mind."
If you're struggling with lackluster, dehydrated skin, she recommends checking the ingredients in your go-to products. "Be careful if you are using products with silicic or glycolic acid as well as retinol," she says. "That can dry up skin quickly when the weather is cool and dry, so be sure to use them sparingly or adjust based on your skin's reaction."
They Focus on Perfecting the Basics
Ronit's personal skincare regimen is down to a fine art. She focuses less on tedious tools or time-consuming application and more on hardworking, simple products, like a great moisturizer, gentle cleanser, and effective eye cream. "I begin every morning by gently washing my face. Then apply a L.Raphael vitamin C mask followed by a serum and a moisturizer. Finally, I pat on some eye cream—you can never have enough eye cream!" she says.
Her evening routine is similar, minus the vitamin C mask. "I usually use serums and moisturizers that are a bit heavier. I also pay extra attention to washing my face in the evening—gently—to ensure all of my makeup is removed. That is number one!" With an arsenal of products like hers, there's little wonder she has celebrities lining up to learn her secrets.
This story was originally published on January 17, 2018, and has since been updated.