When it comes to beauty, there is much to learn from French women. They’re known for their consistent and covetable “au naturel” look and their routines embody elegance, simplicity and timelessness. While we can pore over their photos for hours on Pinterest, studying every detail of their makeup and style, we’re left wondering what exactly are the products and techniques they use to achieve that gorgeous yet effortless beauty look. We turned to a couple French natives to get the secrets straight from the source.
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Celine Kaplan, a French publicist in New York, grew up using Darphin. “My mother used it—it’s classic three-step routine adapts to your skin needs after years; my favorite products are the Intral Serum (starts at $88) and the Hydraskin Light Gel Cream ($62),” she says. She also swears by the Darphin SPF 30 sun care, which is not even available in the U.S.
According to Kaplan, Christophe Robin beauty products, particularly the ones available at his new salon, are seriously trending in France right now. “I wash my hair with the salt scrub by Christophe ($52) for years,” and she finishes with his Instant Volumizing Mist with Rose Water ($39) for an added bounce. She even turns to Christophe Robin for body treatments—her go-to is the Christophe Robin Regenerating Balm ($38), which she uses especially on her feet. “I apply it before going running,” she says.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the French department store Printemps Haussman, Kurkdjian created this lovely sweet and floral scent. “I am addicted to it,” says Kaplan. “I also spray my clothes inside my luggage before closing it so it smells divine when I open it again.”
“French women love baths, this is a ritual that no one has given up,” says Marie-Laure Fournier, a New York beauty publicist who grew up in France. Every time she visits her native country, Fournier stocks up on Durance bath salts. “Linden and Verbena are also two must-haves in our bathrooms.”
Marseille has been a major producer of soap for hundreds of years, but in 1668, a French edict was passed that established the rules for manufacturing what could be declared true savon de Marseille. Although centuries have since passed, Le Petit Savon Marseillais continues to adhere to this old-time method for producing such a luxurious product. “So many people have tried to copy it, but no one does it like the original,” says Fournier. “This soap is truly a staple in any French home.”
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse ($29)
This cult dry oil repairs and softens skin and hair, and according to Fournier, this is the one product you see in everyone’s bathrooms today. “I remembered the gold one, everyone was using it on the Riviera. It not only smells delicious, but also feels delicious. You have to remember, French women like sensual products when it comes to their beauty routine, so it needs to feel good, smell good and have long-term results.”
Votre Vu Eyeliner ($23)
As Fournier emphasizes, French women are experts when it comes to their eye makeup. “We love our Brigitte Bardot look at night; eye liner is a milestone in a French woman’s life. I got grounded by my mother when I was stealing hers.” When she was younger, Fournier used Bourjois, but now Votre Vu is her eyeliner top choice.