Mireille Guiliano rocked our monde when she published French Women Don’t Get Fat, a primer on how the French stay thin despite a (how-is-that-healthy?!) diet of Brie and baguettes.
Now, she’s inspiring women of all ages to say “mais, non” to the knife or fear-based (or just fanatical) anti-aging practices in her latest book, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude. If we relax and “age with attitude,” Guiliano says, the rest—like a youthful face and state of mind—will follow.
“All youth cultures face the same situation, fear of aging, and celebrities who make women think they can stay eternally young by fixing our faces and bodies. Words like ‘forever, perfect, or gracefully’ are big lies setting unrealistic expectations. Then comes the obsession and the continuous steps to try to wipe every little wrinkle that surfaces. It’s similar to yoyo diets,” she writes.
According to Guiliano, the French way of aging can be achieved through “KLM” (“Know yourself, love yourself, and move!”), a motto that translates into every language. She maintains that “if you have the K and L part, you will take care of your own body and nourish it in a healthy way.”
“Nutrition and movement are 80 percent of aging well and healthy,” she says. Guiliano swears by green veggies, fruit, yogurt, soups, and buckets of water, as well as a combo platter of healthy skin protectants and nourishers—argan oil, daily moisturizer, sunscreen, and a weekly honey face mask.
But when she says move more, she doesn’t mean SoulCycle. Rather, the French prefer the idea of “invisible exercise”—like walking and taking the stairs—activities that you might discount as base-line on your Fuelband.
There are also some some oh-so-French tips: oysters can prevent dark circles under-eye circles (warning: the cocktails you wash them down with can do the opposite) and a stylish haircut disguises your age. Also, sex doesn’t hurt either, bien sur.
“We believe in not torturing ourselves so les petits riens (little changes) and peu a peu (little by little) are part of the French lifestyle. Slow is good,” she says.
Seems to have worked for Juliette Binoche, as well as for the trim, youthful-looking, 67-year-old author herself. Though her common-sense advice might be similar to what your grandmother told you, doesn’t everything sound better in French? —Amanda Benchley
For more information, check out French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude