French stars like Jeanne Damas and Marion Cotillard don't spend hours in front of the mirror perfecting their beauty techniques, yet their skin betrays no late nights, and their hair is always artfully rumpled—never messy.
With that in mind, we pored through every page of Caroline de Maigret's charming book, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are ($15) (penned with Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, and Sophie Mas), with the hope of finding an answer to how French women look so, well, chic all the time. Ahead is a taste of one of our favorite sections about how to style (or rather, un-style) your hair like a true Parisienne. Word to the wise: Perhaps it's time to break up with your blow-dryer.
Meet Our Expert
Caroline de Maigret is a model, music producer, author, and Parisian style icon. She has been photographed in the pages of Elle, Glamour, and Vogue Italia and has walked in several international fashion weeks.
Keep scrolling to find out the secret to French-girl hair, according to a French woman.
"Do not dye your hair, or if you do, only in your original color to highlight it or to hide any gray," says de Maigret, who swears this rule is more or less followed by every woman in France. Respect Mother Nature, and stick to the color chosen for you. (Here's a low-maintenance hair color that lasts at least six months, for you dye fiends.)
As de Maigret says, "Do not dry your hair with a hair dryer (in fact, you might as well throw your hair dryer away), but instead use two much more environmentally friendly resources: fresh air in summer and a towel in the winter." Need some help? Here's how to air-dry your hair like a pro.
"It's not worth washing your hair every day, as it's usually on the following day … that your hair gains a certain weight that in turn gives it the right volume when tied up in a bun," de Maigret advises. French women know that second-day hair is the best kind of hair. And that when all else fails, a messy bun is always the answer.
Hair accessories are making a comeback in the U.S., but de Maigret says, "There's no point in accessorizing your hair." We at Byrdie know the power of a cute bun cuff or claw clip, though, so even though they might not be a thing in France, we say, "Do you."
"Whenever possible, wash your hair in the evening rather in the morning so as not to leave the house with wet hair," says de Maigret. Because, hello, is there anything less chic? Instead, de Maigret promises that falling asleep with damp hair will give it a more interesting shape when you wake up. (And we all know that if you're a true Parisienne, interesting wins over pretty every time.) Here's a guide to sleeping on wet hair without hating your life.
According to de Maigret, "A touch of perfume on your hair, behind your ear, or on the nape of your neck never did anyone any harm." We imagine the particular perfume would be Chanel, no less. Speaking of fragrance, here are five cult French fragrances that are perfect for spring.
While American women tend to lament about the sweat, salt, and humidity of summer, French women embrace it. "Bless that magical time in the summer when your hair, with some seawater and sunshine, becomes simply perfect: a little bit rough, a little bit lighter, and a little bit salty," says de Maigret. No further words necessary. Plus, we're all about embracing the frizz—more proof French women are way ahead of the curve.
Next, click to see the most popular French beauty products on the internet.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.