Meet Sarah Navarro, the exquisite French beauty and brand manager behind the soothing skincare range Eau Thermale Avène.
Being a French national has worked in Sarah Navarro's favour as the brand manager for Avène here in New Zealand. Editor Trudi Brewer discovers she is more than a beauty buff, her passion for style has seen her create a line of custom made leather accessories from her Auckland home. We talk to Navarro about her passion for quality skincare, her love of New Zealand and her hobby creating gorgeous leather jewellery Sarah Navarro Jewels.
Here's a slice of her stylish life.
What’s a typical working day for you?
The beauty of this job is that there is no typical day. Each day brings challenges and new things to deal with. Each product launch, promotion or range relaunch, there are always surprises. A lot of people say New Zealand is a small market, yes it is a small market but really dynamic and exciting, with lots of opportunities and so much to do.
What do you love about working in the beauty industry?
It’s not that I love working in the beauty industry, it’s more that I love working with this brand. I am convinced that to be a good marketer you have to love the product you are selling, so it helps that I love this brand. I have actually been using the products since I was 11 (I had terrible acne as a child). I fell in love with the value of this brand the first time I went to the Avène Hydrotherapy Centre in 2010. There, you get to meet patients with terrible skin conditions and you also meet people working at the centre who are so passionate and with one goal – to improve the lives of their patients. I came back to NZ a different person after my trip to the centre.
What are your favourite beauty trends right now?
The Asian aqua gel formulations that are coming through in skincare. They are so hydrating, yet so light on the skin. I also love using serums but that is probably not a trend anymore, just a must have for me.
What do you love about Avène skincare?
It is a brand that will take care of your skin. It can sound cliché but what I love about working for this brand is I am promoting extraordinary products, that are efficacious and offer real results. The products are all created using water from a natural spring in the south of France making them truly remarkable.
Is sensitive skin on the rise, why do you think that is?
It’s a really good question and it’s hard to answer. Pollution, excessive use of products, and some ingredients can add to skin sensitivities. Also the weather and temperatures extremes all contribute. More and more brands are developing sensitive ranges so there is definitely a market and a growing need.
Makeup and skincare, Deadly Ponies handbag and a collection of Navarro's accessories.
What has your role taught you about how women like to shop for beauty?
Every woman is different. What I can say is that the amount of women’s skincare regimes are increasing considerably.
How does your French heritage influence your role at Avène?
I am not sure if my French heritage influences my role but what definitely helps seeing as the brand is also French. In the South of France, Avène and more generally Pierre Fabre Laboratories is a company that people are very proud of, with a strong company vision and values, that company culture is a privilege to have in my heritage for sure. I worked at the headquarters before coming to New Zealand and I got the chance to visit the Hydrotherapy Centre a few times. It helps me understand the big picture.
How do you stay competitive in such a cluttered skincare market?
Even though the skincare market is cluttered, we do not really have to be competitive for now as the positioning of Avène is unique in New Zealand. We are the only dermo-cosmetic brand in the market. Our positioning, communication, pricing is very different to the other brands on offer. Avène is the perfect blend of three skincare categories in pharmacy. Natural skincare thanks to the natural Avène Thermal Spring Water, medicated skincare thanks to all our clinical data, and premium skincare, as this brand is beautiful, feminine and elegant.
Navarro hard at work on her bespoke eponymously named leather jewellery brand.
What has been your career high to date?
I am lucky to work for a product I really believe in and that has a real impact in peoples lives. In 2016 I had the honour to sponsor a seven year-old girl named Mia to go with her family to the Avène Hydrotherapy centre in South of France to receive three weeks of treatment to help treat her severe case of atopic dermatitis. She has been three times and it has completely transformed her skin. She is a completely different child – seeing that transformation has honestly been the highlight of my career.
How would you describe your fashion style?
A little bit ethnic, a little gypsy and simple. I love finding unique pieces in different countries - handmade shoes from Mexico, a wallet from India or a scarf from Argentina. There is so much beauty in this world, but overall, I like to keep my style simple and dress is up with beautiful accessorises. I am obsessed with accessories – mainly jewellery and bags. This passion saw me create my own line of leather jewellery a few years ago.
What fashion pieces are your favourites?
My set of feline jewellery from French designer, Nach. My Deadly Ponies bags, and the leather earrings (which may sound pretentious but I do really love them. And since April 8th, the most beautiful piece I own is my engagement ring from Zoe and Morgan.
What handbag will you carry this winter?
There are lots of beautiful designer handbags to buy in France, but when I arrived in New Zealand three years ago, I fell in love with Deadly Ponies. The deer leather they use is just the most beautiful texture on earth, and the quality of the bags and detailing is amazing. I want them all.
What is always on your bedside table?
A lot of curated mess, I have to admit I love the mess. First there is always my red heart that says “I love you” my fiancé gave it to me for Valentine’s day. I am a true romantic. I also have some polaroid pictures of my family in France – they are sort of hidden in between books and my notebooks and there is always an Ecoya candle.
What’s your best-kept beauty secret?
What the one beauty product you are never without?
Channel Matte Compact Foundation, I use it in the morning as a foundation but also during the day to keep my skin looking matte.
Navarro's collection of leather she uses to make her earrings and her collectables.