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What does Beauty Mean To The French Woman?

French Beauty is a term we see everywhere – thanks to the cult book ‘How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are‘ – but what does it actually mean? To answer this, and learn a little along the way, I invited French-born woman Christine Clais, aka The French Facialist, to share her thoughts on this very subject. Prepare for all the #beautyinspiration…

[ Jeanne Damas, by Harpers Bazaar ]

Christine, I’d love to know – what is the French philosophy to beauty?  French women like to look natural: they do not like to wear heavy make-up as they hate looking ‘artificiel’ (arti- ficial). Rather than hiding or camouflaging their Skin, they much prefer to highlight their best features. This more natural look is achieved with the help of some staple items: a tinted moisturiser or lightweight foundation, a touch of blush, some mascara, some lipstick or lip gloss and voilà! But of course, this look can only be successfully executed over well-maintained skin. This is why French women take the task of looking after their skin very seriously – NEVER, EVER, compromising their skincare rituals!

In France, skincare is taken very seriously and a myriad of high-quality skincare products commonly adorn the shelves and benches of French bathrooms. Indeed, most French women (and increasingly men!) regularly use a cleanser, toner, eye gel or cream, serum, day cream, sunscreen, night cream, exfoliant and mask.  And they usually do not stop there: French women are equally into caring for their bodies and regularly use a body scrub, body moisturiser and even bust-firming and anti-cellulite products!

What skincare techniques do the French women especially love? Using a facial mask once or twice a week is a bit of a tradition among French women (I grew up watching the two generations of women before me applying all sorts of mask concoctions on their skin!). Usually applied onto an exfoliated skin, facial masks can make a noticeable difference to the way your complexion looks, improving it significantly. Depending on their ingredients, masks can achieve a broad variety of effects such as purifying, exfoliating, soothing, hydrating, firming, whitening or nourishing. As a facialist, I cannot stress enough the beneficial effects of home care masks on the skin!

French women also like to brush their body before their morning shower, using a soft bristle brush as a way to control their cellulite (or ‘peau d’orange’ as we say in French – meaning ‘orange skin’). This simple and quick routine also encourages exfoliation, making your skin feel softer and look glowing. It will also provide you with extra energy due to the increase in blood and lymphatic circulation that it creates.

[ Jeanne Dama ]

Which French skincare products / brands do you especially love? I would define myself as a brand agnostic but here are some of my current French favourites:

– Embryolisse Eau de Beauté Rosamélis. Recommended for all skin types including sensitive, this hydrating toner is infused with a soothing blend of rose cornflower and orange flowers all adding to the softness of this formulation and to its beautiful natural scent.

– Institut Esthederm Hydra System Aqua Diffusion Care Cream. This moisturiser can be used on all skin types. It has a well-rounded texture that makes it both light and creamy. It leaves the skin looking super plump and moisturised without being too heavy, which makes it a good base for a long-lasting make-eup finish.

– La Roche-Posay sunscreens. These offer an excellent broad spectrum UV protection (approved by dermatologists) and they come in different textures to suit all skin types including oilier complexions.

– Phytomer Vegetal Exfoliant with Natural Enzymes. This product does act like a real skin treatment since it gives your skin an enzymatic exfoliation (from papain) and a hydrating boost (from laminaria digitata seaweed). All in one, it is definitely the kind of skincare product that every time poor woman should have (and use!).

– Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. While I would not recommend this cream to someone with combination or oily skin, it works extremely well on dry or very dehydrated skin. If you are someone who likes simplicity and who is not into using a lot of skincare products, this would be the ideal product for you since you can also use this moisturiser as a primer, a facial mask, and even as an emergency make-up remover! A very handy product that is much loved by make-up artists around the world.

[ For all your French beauty products in Australia, you must visit tanner + teague, a Melbourne designed and made fashion house/wine bar/boutique hotel.

tanner + teague  stock brands such as LUBIN, which is a traditional French parfum house. Pierre-Francois Lubin was the apprentice for the perfumer to Queen Marie-Antoinette, and tanner + teague stock the exact fragrance she wore – Black Jade, along with 7 others scents for men and women.

Also stocking Diane Pernet, Helmut Lang, and Floris, and Mark Buxton, who has designed iconic scents for Comme Des Garçons, Gaultier and many others, along with hair products by David Mallet. David has an extremely chic salon in Paris catering to A list only. His range of hair products from serum’s, to masks and shampoo and conditioners is absolutely stunning! ]

Okay Christine, I have to ask; fake tanning – in or out? I would say out! Why not embrace your natural skin colour! It’s very French!

What is the French woman’s approach to hair and hair services like colouring, bleaching, straightening etc? French women like their hair to look natural too. They usually say ’non’ to obvious hair colouring or bleaching and they don’t waste time on daily hair washing, blowdrying or straightening rituals. All they need is a little Klorane Dry Shampoo or Elnett Hair Spray and voilà!

Where is one place that we all must visit when travelling to France? You MUST go and visit the Mont St Michel and its bay, located in the Normandy region. Featuring on the UNESCO world heritage list, this place will simply take your breath away!

Christine Clais, aka The French Facialist is the author of ‘French Complexion, the secrets to beautiful skin at any age’. To find out more about Christine, visit

What is your experience with French beauty products, and have you visited the city of LOVE? I’d love to know, so share with us in the comments!

This post first appeared on WHY HELLO BEAUTY - Inspiration For A Beauty-full L, please read the originial post: here

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What does Beauty Mean To The French Woman?


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