Talk about your beauty routine the way French girls do to make it feel so. much. better.


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Photo: Getty Images/mapodile; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

If your essential beauty products had job titles, retinol would be the cell-turnover specialist, hyaluronic acid the SVP of hydration, and vitamin C the brightening executive. It might well feel natural to value skin-care staples in terms of the results they give your complexion, but at Well+Good’s most recent TALK in New York City, New York Times beauty columnist and author of Skin Deep Bee Shapiro suggested viewing your skin-care routine through an à la Française lens. Meaning, rather than putting all the emphasis on the effects of your lotions and potions (très American), consider how they make you feel in the process of using them.

“I have this French girlfriend who’s so into beauty,” Shapiro tells the audience. “When we talk about products, her descriptions are always like, ‘Oh, it feels so good. It makes me feel relaxed. I use it like a massage before I go to sleep.'”

Meanwhile in the US—where we all basically have “achieve! achieve! achieve!” tattooed onto our brains—many of us tend to equate a product’s worth with what it can accomplish. But why not enjoy the actual lathering, slathering process instead?

“We’re so result-driven that even during self care, we’re like, ‘Oh! Gotta achieve something.’ Maybe you just like that oil because it feels really good.” —Bee Shapiro, New York Times beauty columnist and author of Skin Deep

“We’re so result-driven that even during self care, we’re like, ‘Oh! Gotta achieve something,'” Shapiro adds. “Maybe you just like that oil because it feels really good.” Since the theme of the night was all about making one small change to kick-start 2019, everyone (myself  included) was all ears. Because, seriously: Is there an easier adjustment to make than simply tuning into your senses as you treat your skin to an indulgent face mask or two? As the French would say, non.

The French know even more live-well intel. Here are the nine items they always have in their closets and how they date

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