Beauty Insider: Susana Chaves

Photograph by Carlos Ramos 
Photograph by Carlos Ramos 

She’s the keeper of many a beauty secret, the purveyor of many a beauty product that we don’t even know about, and the holder of Eternal Youth. Really, Susana does not age like normal folk, probably with a lot of help of the fantastic potions she has to try out, but surely also due to her half of her mother’s Swedish genes. I’m so proud of Susana, she was my fashion assistant in my first real job some years back, and we had some great times! Now, as the Beauty Editor at Portuguese Vogue since its inception, I tapped her for a little slice of her glamorous life. 

– Did you start out being a beauty journalist?

I started as a fashion assistant at Cosmopolitan while I was still in college and from there I moved to Activa magazine to be a Beauty Editor. I knew little about the job but I fell totally in love with Beauty! Apart from 4 or 5 years writing and editing other themes, Beauty has become my career in journalism. Since almost 4 years ago, my work as a Beauty Editor has been enhanced by my blog Beauty Airlines where I take my readers to the backstage of my “life” as a Vogue editor and Beauty journalist. This gives me great pleasure, to share a few inside tips and tricks of the trade that, for one reason or the other, don’t end up in the magazine.

Personal note from the talented Bobbi Brown
Personal note from the talented Bobbi Brown

– What do love about your job?
It’s not something you’d imagine but the Beauty industry is so much more than creams, lipsticks and perfumes. The scientists, perfumers, creatives and masterminds behind the scenes are the most brilliant people I’ve met, the labs, offices, houses and venues I’ve visited are unique. Many are closed to the public, so every day I feel special to have the chance not only to try all the products I get but also to have access to and meet these extraordinary people and places. I love being upfront where it all happens, where trends are born, and to have an influence on what women will be trying or using tomorrow.

Interviewing Natacha Poly and shooting a story. 

– What have been your worst beauty mistakes?
I’m very careful when it comes to experimenting with beauty. Only recently I became a bit more daring regarding some hair colour or testing some more stronger products. I recall a catastrophic haircut around age 14, a terrible sunburn at around 16, a disastrous self-tanner at about 24 (before they where fool proof), not testing a particular make-up for a wedding and ending up all smudged. But nothing tragic! 
– What are your 5 can’t-live-without beauty products?
I cannot live without brow tamers and gels, mascaras, BB or CC creams, sunscreen and perfume. 

An Ali Baba’s cave of beauty stuff…so envious!

– What products are on your bedside table?
Now that you ask, I see that I’m all about oils these days, let’s see: 
Bio Oil: if I get to bed and still feel that my face, some body area or hair needing a bit of a last minute care, I dab on a bit of this wonder. 
Carita, fluide de Beauté. One of the first wonder oils, ever. I love the smell so much, sometimes I just apply it for the comfort of smelling it between my hand or around my chest and shoulders. 
Eau de Beauté, Caudalie: it’s a mix of a refreshing water with essential oils, it’s a feel good splash, I tend to use it in the warmer days or summer or on my legs after workout or if they’re feeling heavy after a long day. 
This Works, Deep Sleep spray: I prefer a natural approach to sleeping better, but when It’s hard to fall asleep, I spray this on my pillow. 
La Mer, Hand Cream: non – sticky and just the pure pleasure of a La Mer moment before going to sleep. 
– Perfume: I have the habit spraying the air and the sheets lightly with one of my favorite scents. Not all of my faves are “sleeping friendly” but I take as much care choosing my “go-to-bed-perfume” as I do to my day perfume. Nº5 by Chanel is a regular pick (sometimes I’ll go with the big powder compact) but so is Iris from Prada, Asian Green Tea by Creed among others. 
– I currently am trying Sachajuan Overnight Hair Repair. 
the stock in my bedside table varies. I usually have some lip balms too. 
– Did your mother pass down any beauty tips? Do you have any commandments for your daughter?
When I was around 5, I remember my mom putting on her perfume (Charlie!), Pink lotion on her face and tanning water she brought from sweden. She was always, and still is, well groomed and smelling beautifully. She never told me to do anything specific (although she did say, still does to this day, “Don’t touch your eyebrows!! ” which I almost don’t). To my daughter, who’s only 7, I try to get her to appreciate fragrances, she already has a few of her own. She loves lip balms, lipsticks and nail polishes and I do let her experiment with make up and those wash-off hair colors. It’s so much fun and we do it as a home fun-day or moment. She loves immersion baths with all the bubbles, aromatic salts, bath “Bombs”, etc. I do make her use sunscreen. 

 – Your all time favourite beauty interview was with? and why?
Hard to pick, I’ve been so fortunate to meet the most amazing people in the industry. Jane Fonda recently in Cannes is one of them, Jacques Polge, the Chanel nez whom I’ve interviewed a dozen times is someone I cherish very much as is Sam McKnight, the hairstylist. Natalie Portman was special, she’s so pretty, witty and nice… Perhaps If I choose one it will be Mrs Gamila, the soap-maker from Galilee, Israel. She’s as down to earth as it gets and her passion for her handmade unique Gamila soaps are beyond any marketing plans and as pure as Beauty itself should be.  

– In the beauty world, what has yet to be invented that you’d like to see?
They’re doing a good job in inventing pretty much anything, these days. From smart creams to inteligent formulas, the science behind some cosmetic products is more advanced even than some medical products (budgets are imense in the cosmetic industry). Of course we all dream of the “one-for-everything” product or gadget but for that matter I can safely say that one well known brand is coming out with something very special in 2016, a response for head to toe care. I can’t wait to put my hands, feet and face on that one. Cannot say more, sorry!!

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