16 Lifestyle Tips French Women Swear By

If you've ever set foot in the land that spawned baguettes and Breton stripes, you would've noticed the effortless, elusive je ne sais quoi French women exude. Even if you've only seen the fantasy version of Paris in Netflix's Emily in Paris, you'll be well aware of the no f***s given mindset Parisians seem to approach life with. 

So, in a quest for some of that joie de vivrelet us throw to our Parisian playbook. Here are 16 lifestyle tips French women swear by for all your self-care concerns. 

1. It starts with skincare

While many of us turn to the pros for tips, French women learn the importance of skincare from their mothers and grandmothers. According to Mathilde Thomas, founder of skincare house Caudalie, the learnings start early. 

“French women are taught that we should always apply a good SPF, cleanse at night, and if we have the money, invest in a serum. It’s all about prevention, treatment and maintenance, and it’s never too early to start.” 

2. Hydration is key

How else do they get that glow? The French understand the importance of hydration, and not just in the form of the grape. 

3. Use a face mist

You may have noticed a trend with these wellness tips so far; which is why the French incorporate a fact mist into their morning routine. According to Tish Jett, author of Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance, French women “use thermal waters for added freshness, hydration and glow.” 

4. Book a regular facial

Skincare expert Renee Rouleau thinks regular facials play a big part in a French woman’s overall skin health. “They especially love a facial massage and microcurrent lifting treatments,” she says. 

“As for exfoliation, they love a good gommage treatment to rub away dry skin cells. They also enjoy a gentle enzyme or light exfoliator to prep the skin.” 

5. Take SPF application seriously

While lazing around the sun seems like it’s doing you favours, it’s really not. French author Mireille Guiliano says that the French know how to navigate the benefits and risks of the soleil.

“Apart from the Riviera-bronze fixation in the 1960s and 1970s, French women are not sun-worshipping lizards. Today, they are more likely to apply their tan from a tube, than a month at St Tropez. They are careful to wear sunscreen and look for appropriate SPF in their beauty emollients. And while they like to sit in the shade to protect their skin, they are equally likely to be out and about in the sun, enjoying its light and benefits, by walking or doing some light sports or movement as part of their weekly routine.” 

6. They swear by (French) pharmacy products 

While we’ve explored the benefits of skin first, Mathilde Thomas says, interestingly, that less is more when it comes to price. “In France, we’re about great-looking skin, so we can have a no-makeup makeup look, and it works. [Elsewhere] I find women looking for quick fixes that leave skin dry, peeling and damaged, so they buy more makeup, and the French secret is about simplicity.” 

7. Take care of your lashes

According to French makeup artist, Patrick de Fontbrune, “[French women] never go without adding a good curl to the lashes,” he says. “And, French women always use a lash conditioner.” 

8. Don’t wash your hair as much

Great news for those of us that dread this seemingly non-negotiable part of our beauty routine. Skip a wash (or two) if you want to do as the French do. According to Ingrid Jackel, French CEO of Yes To, it’s best to wash your hair less to avoid damage. “Our hands-off approach comes also from our general taste for a natural look,” Ingrid says. “I wash my hair once or twice a week, use a shampoo and mask and let my hair dry naturally.” 

9. Invest in good haircut over expensive products 

Violette also told Vogue that French women prefer a flattering cut over an expensive haircare regime.

The secret to the effortless, tousled locks is to embrace a style that will flatter your hair texture and length.” She also advises that when styling, keep products to a minimum, as well as brushing, as it can weaken your hair. 

10. Sleep on your back

While sleeping on your side or tummy might be comfortable, Dr Julia Tzu says sleeping on your back could reduce the probably of “developing lines around your neck and eye areas.” In an interview with Marie Claire she also says, that French women have adopted the technique as a preventative measure. 

11. Take a walk

You won’t find the French hailing down cabs–they’re more likely to pound the pavement or ride a bike. After a recent trip to France, Dr. Bindiya Ghandi claims that the “French walk everywhere.”

“They walk to work, to the markets, to run errand –and it’s part of their daily routine. They’re not doing anything excessive, so if they don’t do high-intensity exercise, it’s because they’re already active.”  

12. Don’t deprive yourself

This is where the wine, cheese and bread come into it. While we typically eat lunch on the run, French women take the time to eat. According to Dr Jean-Michel Cohen, author of the book The Parisian Diet, rushing through mealtime is a classic mistake that can lead to weight gain.

“It’s the sights, smells and flavour you need to enjoy,” he says. “It takes us a full 10 minutes to even realise we’re full, so if we don’t pause between bites, we tend to overeat.” 

13. Invest in quality food 

While indulgence is a key to life, you won’t find cheap, processed foods in a French woman’s diet. According to Jocelyn Steiber, owner of Jost Media, “Parisians value quality over quantity, which is why supermarkets are outnumbered by speciality stores. Most Parisians shop daily for fresh, local ingredients. You go to the boulangerie for bread, the fromagerie for cheese, the patisserie for dessert pastries. These goods don’t contain preservatives, so Parisians avoid heavily processed food which is a major cause of health issues.” 

14. Eat tomatoes

According to French beauty expert Laurence Mono, the secret to Parisian beauty starts at the local market.

Tomatoes are essential, because of their skincare benefits alone: they are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene, a beta-carotene which has anti-ageing properties and protects the skin from sun damage.” 

15. Take a cold shower 

Swap your steamy hot shower, for something a little cooler. According to Mathilde, French women never got into the habit. “It’s more common to take warm showers and finish with a jolt of cold water to tone and firm by enhancing circulation,” she says. 

16. Invest in self-care

Self-care it the most important part of French woman’s daily routine, which why they ensure they’re doing something for themselves, regularly. “Feeling good is important,” French wellness expert, Rebecca Plantier says. "Long baths, facials, massages, any type of treatment for the body are luxuries, they are essentials... no matter how busy your life is.”

Loved this? If you've just moved in, this is the ultimate guide to decorating your home like a French girl.

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