THE FRENCH TOUCH

BY M.S. LAWRENCE

Women in France, it is said, invest in facials and other beauty treatments more often than women in the United States. They believe that taking care of their skin is a small but important luxury, so they regularly get facials, says Jean Baudrand, a Frenchman who is bringing the French skin care industry expert Guinot Institut Paris to the Charleston area. Now local women will have the opportunity to similarly indulge.

Founded 50 years ago in Paris, Guinot Institut is widely known in France for its signature facials, body treatments and collection of skin care products. And while fans of the brand’s products can find Guinot in more than 10,000 salons in 70 countries, including the United States, the Guinot Institut in Mount Pleasant is the first branded beauty center in the country.

“This is a medically inspired, aesthetician-centric skin care experience,” says Baudrand, who is the owner and general manager of the new center in the Market at Oakland shopping center in Mount Pleasant. “Guinot uses science and technology, including proprietary patented equipment that electrically stimulates face muscles and oxygenates the inner as well as outer layer of the skin.”

Curious about these patented tools, I try the signature “hydradermie” facial. A highlight of the Guinot brand are services and products with an antiaging focus, so I’m intrigued when beauty therapist Vanessa says she is customizing the treatment for me by adding antiaging products to rejuvenate and plump.

The beauty of the Guinot brand is that you “can get all the antiaging, rejuvenating results without being invasive, and it’s very noticeable, very quickly,” says Baudrand. He credits the brand’s success to its licensed aestheticians, which the company calls beauty therapists, who provide personalized client consultations and treatment prescriptions. “Properly applied in the right condition, our skin care treatments deliver spectacular results,” says Baudrand.

I have a firsthand experience when Vanessa uses several steps, many products and signature tools, including a patented ionization tool to increase circulation and renew my skin. My face was smoother and glowing.

Skin Care Industry News, a trade magazine, reports that Americans spend over $43 billion per year on topical creams, spa treatments and cosmetic enhancements, such as Botox. Baudrand, who has a background in international retail and franchise experience with brands including TGI Fridays, Quiznos and Burger King, is banking on the industry’s continued growth combined with his franchise know-how and affinity for French culture.

“Women in France love to take care of their skin and bodies,” says Manon Jarret, a Guinot training specialist. “This is very important for women in my country.” In particular, she points to the effectiveness of the Guinot “technispa” machine, a signature tool for reducing fat, and firming and toning skin on the body. “Results in just one session are amazing,” she says.

Guinot’s products are all-natural, organic and certified to be of the highest quality. The beauty center offers services that focus on the face, eyes and neck, including antiaging, firming, lifting and relaxation treatments. Services range from $45 to $125.

Body treatments include slimming, anti-cellulite, body contouring, skin renewing and thermo-relax firming, and range from $45 to $85. Hair removal, including full-body waxing, is another of the center’s specialties; prices are $15 to $150. “Waxing is another service that is very popular and available in France,” says Baudrand.

Baudrand, along with his wife, Pam, who is from Charleston originally, plan to open additional Guinot locations in Summerville and West Ashley, as well as a second location in Mount Pleasant. You need never travel across the Atlantic in search of la bonne vie: A little bit of France is now available right here in the Charleston area.

M.S. Lawrence, a writer and journalist, lives in Charleston.