As the former family owner of the iconic American skincare brand Kiehl’s, I am often asked about the French inspiration behind Retrouvé. My connection to Paris goes back generations: My Russian grandmother, who believed that France was the epicenter of art and beauty, moved to Paris to attend the Sorbonne. My father, Aaron Morse, paid respect to the influence of his mother throughout his life and career by honoring and revering the cultural arts and the country responsible for so much inspiration – France. As a result, I had a French nanny and was enrolled in French classes throughout the trajectory of my education; we often spoke French at home.
As a little girl, when my father would return from trips to Paris, Grasse, and other French regions to source ingredients for perfumes and other cosmetics for Kiehl’s, I always begged him to bring me back a Cacharel dress! My dad – and later, Klaus and I – infused Kiehl’s with the French influences that we had all come to love and admire.
For decades, we had our soaps hand-milled in France; Kiehl’s French Rosewater and French Rosewater Toner were indeed made with French roses that were sourced in Grasse; French names were given to preparations that remain some of Kiehl’s most-beloved products today – Crème de Corps body lotion, Crème d’Elegance Reparateur face cream.
I had originally formulated the preparations that eventually became the Retrouvé collection solely for my personal use. Once we decided to bring the products to market, the selection of the name “Retrouvé” was natural. The French dictionary defines the meaning of retrouvé as “to find again.” I have always believed that it is never too early nor too late in life to take care of one’s skin in earnest in order to try to maintain or to regain the hallmarks of healthy, youthful skin: clarity, radiance, vitality, and firmness. After all, it is always an evolving process as one discovers how to look and feel one’s best at any age!
Whether it be applying sunscreen, opting for organic food, going to the gym to work out, or using a high-quality skincare product, the sooner you do it, the better you look and feel! It may be impossible to turn back time, but with preventive efforts, one can definitely slow its effects. I find joy in taking a moment to reconnect with and to “find again” what we most love, value, and appreciate within ourselves. With Retrouvé, I endeavor to encourage an enjoyable and mindful approach to rediscovering the age-old ritual of applying moisturizers and caring for one’s skin, as pampering oneself is actually a positive undertaking for one’s overall well-being.