French women have an unimpeachable reputation when it comes to fashion and beauty. Sure, we wish we could pull off the looks they dare to sport (they could pass off a black bin bag as their ‘little black number’ and we’d be whipping our cards out for it), yet there is one thing in their possession many of us really do we wish we could have and that is radiant skin. French women glow like the polished pearls they wear to emanate sophistication. Their skin is so perfect, so youthful, so…je ne sais quoi. We’re often left wondering if they are genetically at an advantage or if they all harbour some precious secret that the rest of us need to pry from their manicured hands.
Well ladies, I can confidently say the faultless French skin is achievable. When it comes to skincare, the French do it best. Here are some of the things French women do differently to keep their skin looking more than parfait.
1. See a dermatologist: Many of us would only consider seeing a dermatologist when we actually incur a problem with our skin. Even then, it would have to be fairly serious. Not a great number of us would rush to the dermatologist’s office for a mild outbreak of acne, for example. The French make a point of visiting the dermatologist regularly. In fact, they are encouraged to as soon as they hit puberty. It becomes ritual. The same way many of us hold a close relationship with our hair stylists or beauticians, the French keep their dermatologists close and seek their advice on how to take care of their skin. Sure, not many of us can afford a visit to a professional but the French would argue if we can pay to touch up our roots every month, we should try and spend a little money and care on keeping our skin healthy.
2. Favour the natural and simple: Although an innumerable amount of cosmetics are birthed in France, French women are usually careful to select synthetic-free products, opting instead for the products containing fewer and simple ingredients. Think of it this way. If you wouldn’t apply that product on a baby, why would you apply it on your skin? The French look for the products that contain minimal irritants. Learn to recognise the unfriendly ingredients in products (for example parabens) and avoid them like the plague!
3. Thermal spring waters: The French are obsessed with this stuff. They are ace for rejuvenating sensitive or dehydrated skin. The minerals in thermal spring water have been reported to boost the immune system and prevent skin eruptions and blemishes. If this isn’t enough, thermal spring water is pure and gentle, making it safe for those with sensitive skin or with skin-related conditions such as eczema. The brands Avène and La-Roche Posay sell products containing thermal spring water and are highly available in the UK. In fact, these French brands are renowned for their skin-friendly products. Check your local Boots!
4. Listen to Grandma: The French use old traditional recipes in their skin care regime. Does the idea of massaging egg into your hair repulse you? Pfft, they do it all the time. A very simple concoction of honey and lemon can be used as an effective brightening mask for the face (how is that for saving cash?). Google ‘homemade face mask recipes’ and get raiding your cupboards girls! Your pantry is a gold mine.
5. Vitamin Mesotherapy: When it comes to the inevitable problem of ageing, the French don’t really subscribe to Botox. French women never want to appear as if they have had work done and, as we know, always select the more natural option. Vitamin mesotherapy involves a cocktail of beneficial, anti-ageing multivitamins which are injected six millimetres below the epidermis to keep the skin looking young and fresh. There are no questionable drugs involved, just natural supplements. Lionel Bissoon, a NYC mesotherapist, stated “when you deposit vitamins directly into the skin with a needle, you’re giving the tissues exactly what they need, where they need it’.
6. Beauty Sleep: It is reported that the French sleep longer than we do in the UK. Their national average is 8.5 hours while ours is only 6.5. We all know that sleep can mollify those eye bags, so let’s commit to actually getting those hours in for the sake of our skin.
The French have some commendable ideas when it comes to skincare. One thing that is really praiseworthy about the French is their attitude towards ageing and imperfections. They advocate natural ageing and loving yourself. The French idiom, bien dan sa peu, roughly translates as ‘well in one’s own skin.’ Be exactly that. Throw out those detrimental ideals and focus on taking care of yourself and being happy with yourself, as you are, in your own skin.