In the world of beauty, Sisley is synonymous with luxury. Founded in 1976 by Hubert d’Ornano, the French cosmetics line is known for the quality of its botanical ingredients and the exclusivity of its brand. Today, D’Ornano and his wife, Isabelle, are still heavily involved in leading the company, which manufactures the majority of its products in Blois, France. LN spoke to national training manager (and makeup artist) Michelle Cook for the details.

LN: What skincare products should a woman have in her daily lineup?

MC: First and foremost, it’s hydration, hydration, hydration, and obviously, that means moisturizer. Also, protection—like an SPF, or something that is shielding the skin, and cleansing. Most women use improper cleansing, and that adds to whatever conditions they have with their skin.

LN: How are people cleansing incorrectly?

MC: A lot of women will either not use a toner at all because they think it’s insignificant, or use an astringent with alcohol in it. But if you have normal to dry skin, that is actually stripping the skin. Eye makeup removers are another thing. People use waterproof mascara because they like it, they want it to stay, but then they have to get very aggressive cleansers.

LN: What should toner do?

MC: A toner is part of your cleansing regimen and it preps your skin for moisturizer. It also restores your pH balance. The pH balance is like an invisible protective layer on top of your skin; throughout the day, these levels become imbalanced.

LN: how do eye and face creams differ?

MC: The skin around our eyes and lips is the thinnest on our entire face and body, and we don’t have any sebaceous glands around our eyes. That’s why it gets so dry so early. You don’t want to have anything that’s going to be too chemically based or too potent around the eye area.

LN: What is the difference between a cream and a serum?

MC: Serums have been around for quite some time, but the industry’s concentration on them has grown over the last three years. Moisturizers, in their basic form, are about hydrating the skin, maintenance, and to some degree protecting the skin. A serum is much more targeted, it usually has a higher concentration of ingredients, and it’s much more potent. Ideally, use serums first, then put your moisturizer on top.

LN: What do you recommend for sensitive eye skin?

MC: The ingredients to look for are gingko biloba, rosewater, vitamin B-5, malachite, wheat protein. These all help calm and smoothe the skin, hydrate and stimulate microcirculation.

LN: What are your tips for great lashes?

MC: I always tell people to coat the top of their lashes first, then go underneath. If you really want to create the illusion of thicker, fuller lashes, you can put a little bit of blue mascara on the ends of the lashes to create an optical illusion.

LN: What are the trends for eyebrows now?

MC: A fuller, more natural looking brow. I still think that filling them in is necessary. That whole overgrown look is totally out.

LN: Is it true you can over-pluck brows?

MC: In general, as we mature and the hair on our head gets thinner, we tend to lose eyebrows and lashes too. No, it’s not because you over-plucked!

LN: How have skincare needs changed since Sisley launched?

MC: In the ’70s, people were just thinking of hydration. The anti-aging market has boomed since then. Everybody always wants to look younger, but our knowledge has increased. People today are more conscientious of the food they eat and what they put into their bodies, and that has translated into caring about what goes on their skin.

LN: What makes Sisley so exclusive?

MC: Our products are not inexpensive, yet we don’t even advertise. People know us either because they’re avid travelers in Europe, or they’ve been with us from the beginning. And it’s a family-owned business. They have the control, sincerity and interest to be really hands-on. The owners are involved in every single aspect of the business. And at the end of the day, Isabelle d’Ornano is a woman who knows what women want and what their needs are.