French Skincare Trends

  • By Megan Simpson

  • June 23, 2020

French Skincare Trends

Humans can get philosophical over just about anything: from religion to game-day rituals. Our family systems tend to inform many of our life-long philosophies, but many aspects of our daily routines rely on our surroundings—the zeitgeist, if you will. Culture can drastically alter our routines from one human to another; the flavors common in Japan are far different than the favorites in Germany. This principle is true across the board—even in the world of beauty. Skincare regimens change from person to person, but beauty experts have noted patterns and trends inside every country. Today, YRH shines a spotlight on French skincare trends; what do they consist of? What beauty differences exist between the US and France? You get the idea.

Bring a little culture into your morning (and evening) skin-cleansing with a little help from les Français.

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Une Histoire Éclectique

An Eclectic History. If we were to take a poll, I’d be willing to bet that most Americans view current French beauty trends as “effortless” and “minimalistic.” While this notion is partly true today, it could not have been farther from the case in pre-Victorian France. Have you ever seen old portraits of heavily done-up men and women *caked* with ultra-white makeup? That style wasn’t exclusive to England. As is the case with many European countries at the time, the lighter the skin, the higher the class—upper-class white people didn’t spend much time outside, which would have tanned their skin. Many social-climbers used heavy makeup—also a sign of aristocracy during the 17th and 18th century—to lighten their appearance. Additionally, you may have heard of the funny little “fake beauty mark” trend: this was all the rage in France. These press-on moles (if you will) came in various shapes to add personality to one’s look—however, their main purpose? Covering up blemishes, smallpox, and syphilis scars. Go figure!

Le Tout Avec Modération

All in Moderation. Today, the key-word for living your best French life is *balance.* This simple word is a philosophy in and of itself, and no one does it better than the French. A little wine with dinner, taking a few days off to enjoy nice weather, making room in each day to be alone—all of these things that Americans tend to think of as “indulgences” are more than expected in France. When it comes to skincare, the message doesn’t change; show some love to your skin, but don’t coddle it.

Unlike in the US, the pharmacies in France’s big cities take skincare *very* seriously; in fact, their chalk-full of skin experts and dermatologist-level products that the French know they can count on. Putting their faith in the efficacy of the products, it’s uncommon for French people to have comprehensive, spend-an-hour-in-front-of-the-bathroom-mirror routines. In France, it’s more common to splash some cleanser and some moisturizer and head out the door than to perform an elaborate parade of scrubs, serums, and sprays on alternating days. However, major skin issues are often treated with professional-grade products, just like Americans, but they’re typically recommended by pharmacists instead of dermatologists. Additionally, bright and sunny weather beckons the French outside—the excitement has a tendency to leave sun-screen routines lacking, resulting in a fair amount of sun damage.

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Beauté Sans Effort?

Effortless Beauty? In speaking with a French culture expert, it’s clear that mastering the art of “effortless beauty” often takes… a fair amount of effort: even for the French! The “devil may care” attitude, for which the French are famous, doesn’t come from a lack of care, but from *different priorities.* The French don’t place the same level of importance on beauty, partly because “beauty” doesn’t mean the same thing in France. For many in the US, “beauty” incorporates a full face of makeup, depending on your style, and feelin’ über-cute in your new outfit. In France, the definition of “beauty” expands beyond personal appearance. Yes, it means “beautiful inside,” but it also means to look for beauty outside the self. In other words, it’s far cooler to care about the gorgeous sunset and the flower growing through the crack in the sidewalk than it is to fret over your appearance.

Of course, this isn’t to say the French have zero interest in conventionally “looking good.” For example, a chic, workable haircut is more important than daily styling; hair will always “fall” in a pleasing way without looking overly done-up. Skincare routines are more important than daily beauty regimens, as skin will always look fresh and clean (the French are quite particular about cleanliness!) no matter how much time they have in the morning. The French have honed their skills—putting in more effort behind-the-scenes in order to make *less* of an effort each day. I mean… it’s such a simple, and yet genius, philosophy.

Les Bonnes Odeurs Sont Importantes

Good Smells are Important. Lastly, the French *adore* a sweet scent. Many of these heavy-duty skincare products come in lavender and rose, making the application a mini trip to the spa. As I touched on before, the French are far better at taking moments to themselves (stopping and smelling the roses, if you will). When there’s time, many French people use their skincare routines as a chance to self-massage, working in their face cream with finesse. Be like the French; the next time *you* grab a sweet-smelling moisturizer from the store, take a few extra minutes in your routine to give your face (and your nose) a little TLC. Without a doubt: *this) is our favorite of the French skincare trends!

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Do you have any *favorite* French skincare trends you follow yourself? How do you feel about updating your regimen with some of these philosophies?