Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: French girls have wondrous skin, an air of effortless elegance, and a certain je ne sais quoi. And because those are all things that every woman wants, the French-girl skin-care routine has long been coveted.
To get to the bottom of the flawless skin and perfectly messy updos, I tapped two women who’ve got the French beauty routine down pat. Read on for the beauty regimens of Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie Paris and Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, creator of French Girl Organics—and just like that, you’re one step closer to looking c’est magnifique.
Keep scrolling for all the French-girl inspired beauty tips.
Beauty begins with what’s inside
Thomas credits her glowing skin and shiny hair to her philosophy that beauty starts from the inside. “I try to eat healthy (lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts) and drink a glass of red wine from my family vineyard in Bordeaux in the evening and plenty of water throughout the day,” she says. “I also do a grape detox diet each year for three days to reset my body and clear my complexion.” The grape cleanse is Thomas’ version of the ancient practice of only eating grapes and drinking tea and water for three days, which she credits with helping her skin to glow and her stress levels to stay low.
Griffin-Grimes was raised on the coast of Washington state but says she’s always felt a connection to her French heritage. So it’s no surprise she turned to her roots for inspiration for French Girl Organics, her line of chic, all-natural, chemical-free products. Much like Thomas, Griffin-Grimes believes it’s important to “eat your beauty!”
“I have a deep belief in the power of plants, used both externally and internally.” -Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, French Girl Organics
“My ancestors lived in regions where fresh, seasonal ingredients from land and sea were always available,” she says. “I have a deep belief in the power of plants, used both externally and internally.”
And she stays grounded and in touch with nature for added beauty benefits. “Our family’s yearly trips to the South of France continue to inspire me to adopt a more relaxing pace of life. Those weeks allow me to spend more time in nature and by the sea, absorbing the energy of the elements, which has a direct impact on how I look and feel.”
Ingredients are everything
It’s equally important to be cautious about what you put on your skin as well as what you put into your body, Thomas says. Just as we feed our body with superfoods, she believes in the power of ingredients in skin care, plucking polyphenol-packed ones to star in Caudalie’s new serum. “My top beauty rule is to moisturize with powerful antioxidants, which is why I love my new Premier Cru Serum ($150),” she says. “It intensely revitalizes the skin to correct all signs of aging and boosts the action of your anti-aging face cream.”
“For shiny hair, I blend avocado, egg yolk, rum, and olive oil and apply it directly to my hair as a mask. I leave it on for 20 minutes, rinse and voilà!” -Mathilde Thomas, Caudalie Paris
Thomas also concocts her own recipes in her very own kitchen. “For shiny hair, I blend avocado, egg yolk, rum, and olive oil, and apply it directly to my hair as a mask,” she say. “I leave it on for 20 minutes, rinse and voilà!” This DIY-beauty move must be a French-girl thing because Griffin-Grimes also stirs up her own hair potion at home.
“My favorite fix for dry, dull hair any time of the year is this hot oil treatment,” she says. Here’s her recipe:
- Combine 10 drops of lavender essential oil, 20 drops of rosemary essential oil, and about ½ cup organic olive oil.
- Stir well, warm for about 20 seconds in the microwave. (Not too long! You don’t want to cook your hair.)
- Apply to hair from roots to tips. Make sure the ends of your hair are well coated.
- Secure in a light towel (linen or cotton) wrapped around the head. If your hair is long, braid or place your hair in a topknot before wrapping. This protects your pillowcase from the residue.
- Go to sleep and in the morning wash with mild shampoo. (You will probably need three washes to remove the oil.)
Their French pharmacy must-haves
In a surprising twist, especially for those of us stateside, Griffin-Grimes explains that when it comes to beauty and body products, the selection is much more curated in France. “You don’t see drawers and shelves spilling over with hundreds of items,” she says. “Quality over quantity.” So what does a beauty junkie buy in a Parisian pharmacy? A French micellar water and Klorane dry shampoo.
Thomas’ list of must-have items is also short. Her three buys are different, but equally simplified: a hair mask, a toothpaste, and wax ear plugs. “They help me sleep well even in the noisiest of cities,” she says.
Shop French pharmacy favorites
Find your facial routine, and stick to it
When it comes to a beauty routine, it only works if you’re diligent, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Thomas and Griffin-Grimes.
“Always remove your makeup at night and wash your skin in the morning. A beautiful complexion starts with clean skin,” Thomas says. “Don’t forget to apply eye cream—this is the area where you’ll notice first signs of aging.”
Griffin-Grimes’ routine similarly includes cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. And she follows it with massage and a little self care. “In the evening I love to give myself a facial massage with my jade roller to aid in lymphatic drainage, then I use a washcloth to gently remove everything.” Depending on how much additional moisture she needs, she’ll either apply a Lumière serum or a heavy-duty moisturizer such as the French Girl Organics Crème Lumière.
She tops it all off with a soak and a nighttime ritual that helps her sleep. “I spray more toner on my body and apply a perfume such as jasmine or rose, something that is restorative and relaxing,” she tells me. “It’s so important to me, and I deeply believe that the scents work wholly on our subconscious.”
Infuse these tips into your daily routine and before you know it, maybe you’ll have that envy-worthy je ne sais quoi, too.
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