It’s safe to say that one of France’s biggest exports to the world is style & aesthetics. For Americans — at least those who voraciously consume fashion and beauty publications — “French girl style” is the epitome of chic. And French beauty is another arm of that: effortless perfection — mussy hair, a red lip, smudge of mascara. I’ve definitely seen it done here and probably reached as French girl cool as I’m ever going to look recently this week hopping off a moto bike, shaking out my hair and getting on with my evening. See that’s the secret: looking like you’ve just done something wildly exhilarating that you’re going to keep all to yourself.
Mussy hair. Check. Red lip. Check (though, I prefer a berry). Smudge of mascara. Check. The true anchor of this look is the body’s biggest organ. Great skin. Like most cities around the world, the air quality in Paris is not great, but none the less, I pass by hundreds of Parisiennes every day with dewy glowing skin of all hues. So, when coming to France for a few months, I decided to fully culturally immerse and fully embrace my love of French skincare brands. I called upon my few French girlfriends for tips and suggestions as to what products they love. So after scouring the aisles of Monop’ Beauty and CityPharma. Here’s my French “regimen.” I’m actually going to CityPharma today to pick up a few more things as Michael has agreed to take some items home for me!
- Wash. I don’t need a very strong wash as 90% of the time I’m not wearing foundation make up. Really just something to cleanse my skin. My friend Anna recommended Avène which is soothing but doesn’t strip the skin. It seems kind of like a French Neutrogena to me.
- Tone. This Avène lotion micellaire is another recommendation from Anna. It’s actually a 3 in 1: cleanses, removes make up and tones so often I’ll either use this or a Ogee wipe at night and skip the face wash as to not strip my face too much.
- Oil. I was so used to using heavy moisturizers because I thought, “Well, that’s what you do.” Sure, harsh NY winters, my Kiehls Greenland trekking approve moisturizers worked wonders. But I was using it in humid Jamaica, trips to Miami and something just wasn’t right. That’s why it’s helpful to have a French friend. 😉 While chatting in London, my girl Tiphaine mentioned to me how she’s simplified her beauty routine and was primarily using a rose oil found at Whole Foods. Great idea! Her skin was glowing, pores weren’t clogged (that was my biggest problem). I began using my Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate with the 1-2 punch of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Skipping the serums, skipping the heavy mosturizers. Use those as needed, but I always used my oil. Then, I tried Ogee‘s oil. Love. Since being here I use my Caudalie Divine Oil. Years ago, meeting Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of the brand, she massaged this amazing product onto my hand. My skin came alive and I’ve returned to this old favorite.
- Spritz. From waking me up mid-afternoon, to long haul flights, to substituting a full on oil when I’m just running out for a baguette, my Caudalie Eau de Beauté is definitely my skincare all stare of the past few months. On sale at a pharmacy in Bordeaux, I stocked up on several travel size of these having never used them before because I was familiar with the Caudalie brand and usually loved the products. Little did I know Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir is a beauty industry favorite. From a make up primer to after shave for men, it’s definitely a beauty closet staple.
- Mask Therapy. I’ll try to do a beauty mask once a week as a quick therapy and I love discovering new masks, especially Korea masks, but while here, I brought it back to basics with this Avène Soothing Moisture Mask. You’re supposed to apply a thick layer and let it just penetrate. As a sun worshipper, I need anything I can get to ward off UV damage.
I’ve been a Caudalie fan girl for years. On a visit to Bordeaux last summer, I discovered a large part of the grape extracts not used for wine went to the beauty industry in France and companies like Caudalie. Nothing, to me, felt more natural.
Do you have any tips or products you think I’d love? Let me know!