It’s practically a cliché.
We know what they say about assuming things, but we’re going to go ahead anyway. Think French girl beauty and what pops into your head? We’re guessing curtain bangs, matte red lipstick, bare and glowing skin, full eyebrows… are we on the right track?
But that’s the thing, clichés become clichés because they are true. Australian women like their skin glossy and bronzed, New York women are sleek and polished, and the French look effortlessly elegant. And while some clichés don’t hold up (we’ve never seen a Breton-top-and-beret wearing woman bicycling through Paris with baguettes under her arm), the beauty one certainly does. And it can be boiled down to couple of key points.
Skin is king
French women know that everything begins with good skin. It’s very much a cultural thing, and girls start the process early in life, investing time and money in proper skincare products and treatments (it’s why they can skip the foundation).
Quality, not quantity
The French diet focus is low-sugar, not low-fat, and they consume everything in moderation. So, yes, they will eat croissants for breakfast and drink red wine with dinner, but they remember that what goes inside shows up on the outside.
Makeup is fun
With good skin (see above), makeup becomes an accessory. A red lip is not essential, but it sure looks glamorous with glowing skin. And they love a multitasker: one tint that can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks, is the ideal.
Leave hair alone
The less French women have to worry about their hair, the better. That means air-drying, not blow-drying, hydrating hair masks, and stretching out colourist appointments. They like their fringes slightly grown-out, and messy ballerina buns when they need to get shit done.
Perfection is overrated
Authenticity is the name of the game, so if your smoky eye is less than precise, or your hair is not bending the right way, c’est excellent. And French women are not obsessed with fighting the ageing process or looking younger – they would much rather age gracefully and look good at all stages of life.
Want to inject a little of that French je ne sais quoi into your beauty routine? Here are five ways to start:
Bioderma Sensibo H2O
The product that brought micellar water to the masses, it was first spotted backstage, then name checked by all the big models. It cleans skin without stripping, makes easy work of waterproof makeup, and is gentle enough for sensitive types.
Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentrate
Another fashion week must-have, this cult cream works as a primer, a super-rich moisturiser, makeup remover, or mask. Dermatologists love the plant extract, fatty acid and vitamin-packed formula, while makeup artists love the satin finish.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil
Remember what we said about French girls loving multitaskers? This lightweight, fast-absorbing elixir is made of six plant oils (including macadamia, hazelnut and sweet almond) and can be used on the face, body and hair. All glow, no grease.
David Mallett Mask No 1 L’Hydratation
OK, so this one is a halfie. David Mallett was born in Perth but he lives in Paris, so we’re calling it a cult French beauty buy. The moisturising mask nourishes hair without weighing it down, so it does that cool, French-girl-texture thing all on its own.
Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume
Romano Ricci is the nose behind this niche brand, and he’s well versed in fragrance (his great-grandmother: Nina Ricci). All the scents are heaven, but if we had to pick one, it’s the clean, musky-amber Not A Perfume, a game changing scent composed of a single note, cetalox.
Tell us, what are your favourite French beauty products?