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8 ways to age like a healthier French woman


Whether you were intrigued or incensed, everyone is talking about the "French women are super pretty" story in the Times. Our take on what French women could learn from us. (Hint: It involves cardio.)

Whether you were intrigued or incensed, everyone is talking about the “French women are super pretty” story in the New York Times this weekend. And yet like déjà vu, haven’t we read this story before?

What really bears repeating is the bewildering beauty reality that French women seem to do less than American women for beauty. Even if they get their split ends trimmed regularly, French women don’t workout, they don’t get extractions in their facials, and they don’t skip carbs. Shouldn’t beauty, agelessness, and a size 6 come as a reward from practicing healthy habits?

One thing American women have is the moral high ground, and the fact that we try really hard. Probably too hard. One thing we could learn from the French is to relax, and something they can learn from us is how to work at healthiness. Hence our expose:

8 Ways to Age Like a Healthier Frenchwoman

1.    Try running. As a lovely 20-something French woman said to me, “Running for exercise isn’t something French women do.” Running for the phone or after a cheating husband, sure.

2.    Quit smoking. Although more French women are willing to do it for sake of their skin than ever before, says an expat friend living in Lyon.

3.    “Going to spas for hydrotherapy treatments is no substitute for eating vegetables and exercise,” wrote an American friend this weekend. That is, unless it is. What if the de-stressing factor of adequate paid vacation (and paid spa visits) does more for our overall well-being than we time-impoverished New Yorkers can know?

4.    Being beautiful or skinny isn’t the same as being healthy. French women might look great, and can ostensibly carry their groceries across the city and up a five-floor walkup like we do, but we know we’d kick their butts in Core Fusion or a vinyasa class.

5.    Use organic beauty products. The food in France may be cleaner, but (with just a few exceptions) beauty products aren’t. And many French brands that call themselves organic, or “Bio” in French, still contain heaps of chemical fragrance, which kind of defeats the purpose.

6.    On the other hand, a green clay called argile is currently popular in France right now, both for use as a skin-care mask every ten days or so and as a nutritional supplement. It sounds like the equivalent of green juice and juicer facials.

7.    Antioxidants. It’s surprising to me that the French habit of drinking their reserveratrol supplements in a Reidel glass isn’t mentioned in the Times article. The health benefits of red wine—and grapeseeds and skins in beauty products—has been widely documented.

8.    Eat breakfast. French women take the elevenses route of having a late-morning coffee and a pastry. And they don’t eat a little something every four hours. —Melisse Gelula

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