6 Beauty Secrets Only French Girls Know

woman in a black hat holding two croissants


Paris Fashion Week is, no doubt, one of the most highly-anticipated fashion events of the year. From backstage, to the runway, to those undeniably romantique cobblestone streets, the gorgeousness of the event is awe-inspiring to say the least. But let's be honest, do we really need an actual occasion to celebrate French beauty? Truth be told, most of us aspire to that impossibly effortless aesthetic, or shall we say je ne sais quoi, all year long. (Wine, rumpled locks, and next-day eyeliner: French girls just do it right). With these thoughts in mind, we found it only fitting to recap our very favorite French beauty tips of all time, straight from natives who know it best.

From the world’s easiest diet secrets, to a Parisian model’s must-know skincare routine, your ultimate road map to French girl beauty starts here.

Go Au Naturale

Rouje founder Jeanne Damas


Getting a French-girl mane is really about what not to do. To get that highly-coveted, bedhead look, brush as little as possible and allow your hair to air dry naturally after you shampoo. Despite this lax approach to haircare, French women do note that laziness and healthy hair are not mutually exclusive. The real trick is finding the perfect leave-in treatment that will allow you to embrace your lived-in texture. (Christophe Robin’s Moisturizing Hair Oil With Lavender, $47, is très bien.)

Ditch The Facial Cleanser

woman washing her face
 stevecoleimages / Getty Images

Carefree hair isn't the only Parisian secret you'll want to adopt. It turns out that their daily skin routine shares a similar laid-back sentiment. Similar to advice we've received from other countless Parisian women, model Louise Follain suggests that we ditch cleanser first thing in the morning in favor of a micellar solution or just plain water. This step can be followed up with a gentle toner if you want to remove excess dirt and oil.

Follain shares, "In the morning, I clean my face with fresh water and use a toner. Afterward, I use YSL Top Secrets Instant Moisture Glow ($40)."

Get Focused

Lips with red lipstick

Choose one feature that you'd like to highlight and make that the focus. It could be a red lip (try MAC's best-selling Ruby Woo, $19) or kohl-lined eyes, but just as previously mentioned with skin and haircare, less is more when it comes to French beauty.

“Be a makeup minimalist. Choose one feature to emphasize, and keep the rest of your makeup to a minimum. For example, highlight your eyes with a sweep of eyeliner and mascara, but keep your skin and lips bare. I also think there’s something very seductive about a woman with bare skin, a hint of mascara, and a bold lip color. It shows that you are comfortable in your own skin,” says Adrienne Coléon Gaskell of Oh So French.

Never Go Without A Fragrance

woman spraying perfume on herself

French women know the power of an alluring scent. Spritz the clothes in your closet, and take a tip from Caudalie co-founder Mathilde Thomas: “Spray a cotton handkerchief with your favorite fragrance and keep it in your handbag,” she tells Allure. “Everything will smell divine each time you open your bag.”

Scout For Drugstore Beauty Buys

Makeup products with palm leaf and makeup bag
Carol Yepes / Getty Images 

France does drugstore beauty better than anyone else. And fortunately, you don’t need a plane ticket to Paris to get your haul. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Solution Micellaire ($15) is great for removing makeup, dirt, and pollution from your skin. Peep other cult-loved French drugstore products you can find online.

Feeling Good Is The Key To Beauty

woman drinking coffee in a cafe

The French approach to dieting and fitness is practical but reasonable: Feeling good (rather than killing yourself on the treadmill) is the priority, and allowing yourself to indulge occasionally is allowed.

Through her work with Caudalie, Thomas has spent tons of time in her homeland and the States, learning about the beauty habits of women in both countries. After 20 years studying health, wellness, and beauty, Thomas ultimately concluded in her book "The French Beauty Solution" that making choices based on "the erroneous notion of no pain/no gain" was the biggest difference between the American and French approaches to beauty solutions. She explains that when speaking to American women, "They'd tell me about crash diets that left them light-headed and skincare products that irritate their skin—because they felt they had to suffer to be beautiful." She impresses that that the French notion of beauty is "quite the opposite" and shares that "the notion of beauty should be, well, beautiful and pleasing to you above all."

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