It's true: We've dedicated a sizable chunk of time to the pursuit of uncovering the secrets behind mimicking "French girl" hair. Still, though we've spent countless hours (months?) wondering how Parisians style their strands on a daily basis, we're not satisfied. Maybe that's because, as of yet, no amount of tips have landed us with the artfully disheveled "French" hair we long for. So, what gives? Is Australian tap water our downfall? Is there an under-the-radar product we've yet to discover? According to Paris-based stylist David Mallett, the answer is actually a lot more simple. (And a little bit sneaky, TBH.) "For French women, it's all about pretending they don't care… They're obsessed with their look, they just don't want anyone to know." It turns out that while many French women claim to have low-maintenance hair routines, they're actually visiting the salon on the sly—and a lot more often than you think.
According to Mallett, this is because French women think of visiting the hairdresser as a private experience: "They consider it vulgar and cheap to talk about, because they don't like these things to be noticed," he says. "French elegance is about understatement—going to the hairdresser and visibly spending time there, they think is uncool." It's for this reason many women request their strands be "undone" says Mallett. "I spend a long time doing their hair, because when they leave the salon they don't want to look like they've been," he says. "After we blowdry we mess the hair up with volumising powder and pin it loosely into a bun. When they get home they take it out, and they have a half-done, disheveled look. And they say, 'Oh, it's just my natural hair'." GENIUS.
To fully pull off "French girl hair" Mallett says you'll also need to pay attention to the rest of your beauty routine. "French women have perfect complexions, and perfect nails but messy hair. That's their secret. It's all about balance—appearing both done and undone at the same time." So if you've let your skincare regime slide or are currently sporting a chipped mani, you might want to rethink turning your hand to what we're now thinking of as "pretend low-maintenance" hair. Also? Maybe don't Snapchat from the salon. Or, if you do, at least know your Parisian followers will likely be cringing.