If you’ve ever stared longingly at the perfect complexions of French actresses like Marion Cotillard or Juliette Binoche, then you know French skincare is no joke.
If we could afford to, many of us would Botox or wrinkle cream our way back to our twenties – or as close to our twenties as we could get.
Unfortunately, this mindset fuels dissatisfaction, envy, and a negative self-image. How can you love your face if you’re constantly trying to “fix” it?
If you’re ready for a new skin care motto, take a page from the French: cherish what you have – and guard it fiercely.
We combed our favorite fashion and beauty blogs to discover how the French manage to do just that:
1. Study Up on Skin Care
We’re talking about bringing it back to the basics, from what kind of facial cleanser you use to your daily skincare routine.
Instead of trying to correct flaws, the French pamper their skin into submission, says the Huffington Post.
Say goodbye to harsh treatments and cleansers that strip away your natural oils and dry out your skin with this basic French-inspired morning beauty routine:
If you’re not quite ready to invest in the mineral water spritzers making the rounds in fancy fashion magazines, cleanse your skin with our soothing Organic Lavender Tonique for a refreshing start to your morning.
Nothing says glowing, healthy skin better than a moisturizer designed to make you look radiant. Nab our Acai Berry Antioxidant Facial Cream to fuel your new, healthy complexion.
Our Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream is the next best thing to an actual cup of coffee. Filled with antioxidants and anti-aging vitamins, your delicate under-eye skin will feel rejuvenated in no time flat.
Squeaky clean skin, plenty of moisturizer, and revitalizing treatments for under-eye and other facial wrinkles give the French their enviable glow.
By following the routine described above, you’ll be one step closer to French-inspired beauty.
We bet your skin will be healthier and happier, too.
2. Shed Layers of Makeup
It turns out when you focus your efforts on improving your skin from the get-go, your need to use makeup almost evaporates.
“French women are all about skincare, not makeup,” Valérie Grandury, founder of the French-inspired skincare line Odacité, told Refinery29.
Even if you’re not quite ready to give up foundation for good, consider other ways you can minimize your makeup routine. Instead of…
Liquid foundation…try a sheer, mineral-based foundation for coverage that won’t block your pores.
Drama…try highlighting a single feature, like a bold eye or a bold lip – just avoid doing both at once! If you’ve opted for a smoky eye, play your lips down with a neutral or cream shade. A bright, coral lip calls for a neutral eye.
If most of your makeup bag is devoted to color correction and heavy liquid foundation, you’ll never get the crystal clear French-inspired complexion of your dreams.
Take care of your skin first, highlight your features second – and let your skin breathe in between.
3. Never Go to Bed Dirty
What you do when you come home after a night out on the town matters, too.
“I will never, ever go to bed without taking off my makeup,” Violette, the Parisian makeup designer for Dior, told The Coveteur.
“The foundation drives me crazy,” she added. “Honestly, I really put a ton of milk cream on my hands and face and then massage, massage, massage. I rinse off with cool water, and I feel, in two minutes, really fresh.”
In order to avoid a breakout, take the time to cleanse and treat your skin before you hit the hay.
“Sleep is a restorative time for the skin, and if oil glands and pores are blocked by the day’s makeup remains, the results can be disastrous,” Dr. Melanie Palm told the beauty editors at InStyle.
After you take off your makeup, cleanse and moisturize, perhaps even deep treating before you head to bed.
If you use a nighttime facial mask or other strong treatment, be sure to only use the product once or twice a week – anything more and you could be damaging sensitive skin, causing unwanted redness, dryness, or puffiness.
4. All-Age Anti-Wrinkle Treatments
Most American women probably dread looking at anti-wrinkle treatments at the pharmacy – it makes us feel our age. Who knew that the French adopt anti-wrinkle treatment as early as their teens?
“When French girls turn 13, we get a training bra and our first visit to the aesthetician to learn how to take care of our skin,” Laetitia Labassee, the director of education for Darphin – a French skincare company – told Marie Claire.
This includes facials, under eye cream, and yes, plenty of anti-wrinkle treatments. According to the Huffington Post, as many as 62% of French women use some form of anti-wrinkle cream, and girls as young as fifteen will adopt an anti-aging product in their beauty regimen.
Remember, the entire philosophy of French skin care is built around loving the skin you have – which means taking extra good care of it.
If you’re not ready to embrace anti-aging creams just yet, make sure you’re using plenty of sunscreen and moisturizer to counteract the damaging effects of sun and pollution.
According to French beauty tradition, though, there’s nothing wrong with a little anti-wrinkle cream before you put on your makeup – or a little eye cream before you head to bed.
5. Oh-So-Essential Oils
If you struggle with breakouts, we understand that the last thing you’d want to put on your face is more oil – you’ll just have to trust us on this one.
Essential oils – like rosehip, lavender, and grapeseed oils – can help cleanse and moisturize your skin, writes Refinery29 beauty editor Tara Rasmus.
“You get this fresh, healthy complexion that glows even without a touch of makeup almost immediately,” Valérie Grandury, the founder of Odacité, a French-inspired skincare company, told Refinery29 about her own essential oils habit. “I don’t go a day without it.”
Looking for a simple way to incorporate more essential oils into your skin care rotation? Try our Nourishing Face Oil, which provides plenty of anti-aging antioxidants to revitalize your complexion.
6. What You Eat (and How You Exercise) Matters
When you get plenty of exercise strolling along the Seine, you don’t have to worry as much about watching your figure.
In America, more than 80% of adults don’t get enough exercise – plus our dependence on cars means we walk less and sit more.
According to Parisian makeup artist Violette – who designs makeups for brands like Dior – a big part of getting gorgeous healthy skin depends on how much you move – and what you eat during the day.
“What you eat and drink is pretty important, so that you can enhance your skin first, before finding a solution through makeup,” Violette told The Coveteur.
“The idea is to be, as much as you can be, yourself, and not be costumed with so much makeup or hiding behind a mask.”
Take a page out of Violette’s book and stock up on water, eat lots of vegetables, and take plenty of walks throughout the day. If you want to keep your skin looking young and healthy, staying on your feet can help you get there.
Even if you can’t afford a plane ticket to Paris, you can afford to adopt a new attitude about skin care – one passed down from generation to generation of chic French women that results in flawless, glowing skin.
If you follow the three tenets of French skincare – cleanse, moisturize, and treat – you can easily incorporate French-inspired skincare into your daily routine. No matter what your budget might be, it pays in dividends to protect your skin and highlight your best features. Mais oui!
Do you have a favorite skin care routine passed down from your mother or grandmother? Share your stories in the comments below: