May 26, 2024

9 French Beauty Rules, According to French Women

There’s something about the French-girl aesthetic — le sigh — that effortless beauty that is so dreamy, yet simple. A crisp red lip, glowing skin, the undone, tousled hair, the smudgy, edgy eyeliner. And, despite the less-is-more mentality, they always look so undeniably cool and collected.

The bottom line: French gals do it right. So, take a cue from two French women who are the epitome of très chic: Violette, Estée Lauder’s Global Beauty Director and Mathilde Thomas, founder of French beauty brand, Caudalie. Here, how they achieve the ultimate level of je ne sais quoi:

Rule 1: Skin first, makeup second

“Good skin care is far better than hiding behind a mask of makeup,” says Thomas. Her routine is so much more than topical treatments: “Before you start to change your products and routines, you have to take a good look at how you treat your body, and it’s indelibly reflected in the quality of your skin.” Consider habits that can have an effect on your skin like diet, travel, and environmental factors first, and then apply your French pharmacy favorites.

Rule 2: Enhance your features

Be yourself! “In France we learn how to take care of what we have, what Mother Nature gave us,” says Violette. “We don’t do blow dryers or crazy hair, but we’ll do an incredible conditioner and hair mask,” she says.

When it comes to maintaining that signature glowing complexion, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Violette’s philosophy: “We don’t do tons of treatments and filler, but we will do a wonderful facial every week and eat healthy.”

Rule 3: Less will always be more

Repeat after us: Less. is. more! Stick to one beauty move to avoid overdoing it. “If you’re wearing a red lip, then don’t wear a lot of foundation on your skin. If you’re doing smoky eyes, maybe the hair is going to be messy, so that it looks un-perfect,” says Violette.

Rule 4: Set your own standards

Define beautiful your way: “You are entitled to have a beauty routine that makes you look and feel beautiful— at the same time,” says Thomas. There is more to beauty than what’s trending. As Thomas says, “There is no one way or ‘right’ way to be beautiful, and how you feel about yourself, no matter what your age, is even more important than how you look.”

Rule 5: Self-care is beautiful

Take time for pampering, whether it’s basking in a bubble bath or treating your skin to a face mask. “Beauty is something that gives you pleasure. Because when you feel good, you always look good,” says Thomas.

Rule 6: Find balance, not perfection

Don’t try so hard. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but give it a go. When it comes to hair, “I like when the texture is really beautiful, clean and shiny, but it’s a bit messy,” says Violette. “Skin needs to be super healthy and fresh, but then imperfect, or else it looks fake,” she says.

Rule 7: Use the beauty surrounding you

There is a good chance you have the resources right in your own backyard or perhaps your pantry. Thomas grew up with this mindset, learning from her family: “My grandmother would make a luscious facial mask from the honey in the beehive at the corner of our garden and would always be certain to gently pat some on my cheeks whenever she applied it to her own, because she knew how soothing and clarifying it was.”

Rule 8: Live your best life every day

“In France, I remember seeing these women in t-shirts and messy hair, and yet they had incredible, perfect red lipstick on, and heels. They could be at the grocery store, or at school picking up their kids, and they were wearing this,” says Violette. “I love that no matter where these women are, they’re doing it for themselves,” she says.

Rule 9: Be bold

Two words: red lipstick and glitter! “They are both the best ways to instantly add some drama to your look,” says Violette.

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