It’s no secret that the French have a certain je nais se quoi that keeps all of us intrigued, and while there are no universal tips that can help everyone, the French women definitely have some useful tips and tricks up their sleeves that help them stay charming at any age. Here, to celebrate Bastille Day (July 14), we round up eight beauty tips from French beauty experts and Parisian It girls that would work just as perfectly for us in sunny Singapore.
1. Watch your diet
In her book The French Beauty Solution, beauty brand Caudalie’s co-founder Mathilde Thomas writes that good skincare begins at your every waking moment each morning – with what you eat and drink. According to Mathilde, a balanced and antioxidant-laden diet with only minimal amounts of processed or junk food will give you the healthiest possible skin. Quoting from the book, “The typical French diet follows the guidelines of the Mediterranean-type diet: fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and fish, with some dairy, little meat, and even less processed food. A study called ‘Nutritional Skin Care: Health Effects of Micronutrients and Fatty Acids’, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May 2001, supported the finding that eating a Mediterranean-type diet will make you live longer. What’s most important about this kind of eating is that these wholesome foods are not just powerhouses of nutrition but are loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are needed to keep your cell membranes healthy. And these foods are loaded with antioxidants, too.” Judging by the French women’s beautiful complexion, it seems like the adage “you are what you eat” may be true after all.
2. Use minimal makeup
If you haven’t noticed, 10 layers of foundation and heavy contouring aren’t exactly a thing for French women. In contrast, they place emphasis on nourishing the skin with the right skincare and wear little to no foundation or makeup so that their real skin can shine through. For troubled areas, you can emulate journalist and style influencer Sabina Socol and use only two makeup products every day to cover and neutralise. Simply dot some concealer on red spots and the darkest areas of your face (for Sabina, it’s under the eyes and the corners of her nose) – and even out the application with a concealer brush. Next, Sabina recommends that you set those areas with a powder foundation like the M.A.C Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation to tone down shine and keep the concealer in place to prevent it from creasing.
3. Add a dash of bold colour to your otherwise subtle makeup
Take a leaf out of influencer Jeanne Damas’ book and keep it natural and effortless, even on days when you want some colour on your face. No crazy colours here, just a few slicks of classy red from her favourite lip palette from her label Rouje (approx. $60 (£39) from Rouje.com) in shade Chaleur on her lips, cheeks and also eyelids.
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4. Play with nudes
Just because you have to keep it natural and effortless doesn’t mean you cannot be creative. Estee Lauder Global Beauty Director Violette uses nude eyeshadows in a more creative way – by applying them as an eyeliner, for example. She contends that it adds chicness to a look while retaining that effortlessness that cannot be achieved by a black eyeliner. Simply pick up the eyeshadow with a liner brush and apply dry for a natural finish or wet for a more defined look.
5. Go for glow
If your makeup tends to look a little dull, try this tip from Violette: Apply a tiny drop of Estee Lauder’s iconic Advanced Night Repair serum over your makeup before you go out to add a natural, youthful-looking glow to your complexion. When she’s not heading out, Violette enjoys taking the time to massage the same serum onto clean skin right before she applies her night cream.
6. Get wavy hair without any hair tools
Relaxed elegance is how we’d describe the French women’s styling of hair and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to look effortlessly sophisticated all the time? But no, they do not “wake up like this” and achieving that said relaxed elegance does require some work. Sabina gets her wavy mane without blow-drying and uses only a sculpting cream on freshly washed hair before tying it up into a bun followed by a surf spray to hold the waves. As for haircare, she masks twice weekly to maintain her flawless mane and makes monthly trips to her hairdresser to keep her curtain fringe in tip-top shape. Très chic!
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7. Keep your beauty routine simple when you’re pregnant
For mums-to-be whose skin become sensitive and plagued with rash during pregnancy, new mother Violette suggests using a cleansing milk for daily cleansing. “The brand doesn’t matter, as long as it is safe for pregnant mothers and is a milk formula, as I found that it’s the gentlest of all face cleansers. I just simply wash my face with it and then rinse off completely until there’s no residue left. I follow up with a soothing lotion to calm the rashes and redness,” she explains.
If you’re the type who’s used to using loads of beauty products in your routine, Violette highly advises that you cut it down and keep it simple when you’re expecting. “Less is definitely better, as I think that the skin has less strength to handle all the different formulas when you’re pregnant, because your entire system is preoccupied with nourishing and growing the baby. It’s also not necessary to go down the organic route as most organic products are formulated with essential oils which may not be suitable during pregnancy. Just look for clean products and make sure you moisturise your skin a lot.”
8. Don’t forget about your feet
This little trick that blogger Kenza Sadoun-el Glaoui keeps to may not sound very sexy but works perfectly: She likes to apply an intensive body balm on her feet before putting on a pair of socks and going to bed. “The next morning, you will notice the result on your initially dry and rough feet!”
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