I’ve been on a French kick recently, what with reading How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are and Garance Dore’s Love Style Life and all. Thanks to these reads, I’ve developed a fascination in all things French, and the differences between us as a culture and our habits, especially as women. So naturally, next up on my #WOMBookClub list was The French Beauty Solution by Caudalie founder Mathilde Thomas.
I went into The French Beauty Solution prepared to learn (no, I literally had a pen and a highlighter with me). I was eager to understand how to take better care of my own skin. We have all heard (and seen) that French women are effortlessly beautiful. They never hide behind makeup, and they always take care of their skin first and foremost. Growing up in her parents’ Bordeaux vineyard, along with her 20+ years of scientific research with Caudalie, Mathilde knows her stuff. Her philosophy about beauty throughout the entire book is inspiring (and I’m not just saying that…I really got excited about the thought of taking care of my skin). She walks readers through how to eat like the French for a gorgeous glow from the inside out, clarification on how your skin ages, information on skincare ingredients (the good and the bad), and shares easy, affordable DIY recipes for at-home treatments and more.
For brevity’s sake, I can’t share EVERYTHING from the book, but I did want to share how I’ve taken some notes from the French beauty routine. But be forewarned, you’ll read the book and probably want to run and order a dozen new skincare products, a lot from Caudalie (which, naturally, can add up FAST). But as Mathilde points out, the best skincare isn’t always the most expensive. She encourages readers to find what works best for them and their skin, and ultimately enjoy the pleasure of it all. Cheers, Kat
For the French, their beauty routine is based on prevention and upkeep, and is regarded as an essential, ongoing investment.
They see it as a ritual, and a pleasurable ritual at that. French women live by “The Pleasure Principle,” meaning: your beauty routine should make you feel good at the same time it makes you look good.
Never, ever go to bed without taking all of your makeup off.
Avoid eye makeup remover with any kind of mineral oil; it can be very irritating and pore-clogging. Eye makeup remover should never sting or feel uncomfortable to use. I currently use organic coconut oil and it works perfectly (even when I’ve had too many glasses of wine and/or feeling lazy before bed).
A good toner will not strip the skin of its natural oils, but instead perfect how you cleanse your skin.
Toner adds moisture to your skin and prepares it for your serum or moisturizer. It also just makes your skin feel so good! I use this all-natural, incredibly affordable toner that has amazing reviews (and the rose petal version is a #1 best-seller on Amazon).
Exfoliate at least once a week.
If you don’t slough off the dead skin cells, they start to accumulate, causing your complexion to look dull and your pores to look larger. I now exfoliate my face with a gentle exfoliant scrub and charcoal sponge.
Different moisturizers work better than others, depending on your age.
In your twenties, use an antioxidant moisturizer. In your thirties, use an antioxidant, anti-wrinkle moisturizer. In your forties, look for one that’s an antioxidant, anti-wrinkle and firming. In your fifties and beyond, use an all-in-one moisturizer containing antioxidants, is anti-wrinkle and firming, as well as brightens and evens skin tone. I currently use this moisturizing cream, which as insanely wonderful reviews wherever I look (as you can see here and here), it smells amazing and has done wonders for my skin’s texture in a very short time.
Don’t forget the eye cream.
The skin around your eyes is four times thinner than the rest of the skin on your face. By gently applying it in a full circle around your eye (not just the eyelids), you’re able to hydrate the skin, loading it up with antioxidants and other nutrients. And good news, this stuff lasts forever.
Apply products in order to be the most effective.
It matters what order you apply all of your beauty products (who knew?). But I guess it makes sense when you start to have more than a handful to use! In the morning, start with cleansing, then user a toner, apply a serum, moisturize, apply eye cream and protect your skin with an SPF (shoot for 20-50).
It’s the most important to buy a terrific antioxidant moisturizer and serum.
If you’re trying to strategize which products will really get you the most bang for your buck, these two products will provide the most long-lasting benefits for your skin. It was definitely a splurge for me to buy this moisturizing cream (I think it’s the most I’ve ever spent on a beauty product, ever), but after reading so many rave reviews, and reading about how important a rich moisturizer can be for my skin, I was sold.
As for serums, I haven’t tried this serum yet, but I’ve seen countless people post about how amazing it is…so it’s on my wish-list. But I currently use (and love) this brightening serum and this caffeinated firming serum in the morning.
There is no such thing as a “healthy” tan.
With each change in skin tone, you’re damaging your skin’s collagen and elastin levels, as well as your cellular DNA. And as we age, tan lines don’t fade as easily because your skin’s not as elastic as it used to be. As a response to this, it’s a good rule of thumb to wear an SPF 20 every day under your foundation, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck and decolette. Lastly, always look for an SPF that’s labeled as “broad spectrum” to help protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. I’m currently using this anti-wrinkle SPF 20 every day now.
Makeup should never be applied to bare skin.
First, apply either a hydrating SPF or a moisturizer. It will serve as a proper base for foundation or concealer, and also act as a barrier between the makeup and the surface of your skin.