What is it with French women? They know how to perfectly throw on eyeliner, do ‘undone hair’ with ease and can make a burlap sack look impossibly chic. And when it comes to skin – they have seriously got it sussed. It’s all about low-maintenance tricks, pharmacy-brands and good old-fashioned moisturising. In a quest to help you gain that perfect je ne sais quoi, here are the beauty six secrets a true Parisienne swears by.
Secret #1: FRENCH DOCTORS PRESCRIBE SKINCARE
If you go to a doctor in Australia and ask them what skincare to use they’ll often point you in the plain old sorbolene and glycerin direction, but in France, doctors actually prescribe specific regimens of derma-cosmetics – all of which are available on their pharmacy shelves. The most famous of those ranges is Bioderma – the brand behind the cult micellar water Bioderma Sensibio and the ultimate moisture-inducing range Hydrabio. While most skincare brands use purified water in their products, Bioderma actually uses water that is so pure it’s scientifically suitable for injecting into the body – meaning it’s the most gentlest choice for super sensitive skins.
Secret #2: A WINE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY
French women have one of the longest life expectancies in the world, a concept that has been called the “French Paradox.” The French can eat lashings of butter, eggs, and cheese and still have a low rate of heart disease, which scientists put down to them drinking a glass of wine a day—specifically red wine. The antioxidants in red wine including resveratrol, have been found to reduce blood clots, boost energy and help with cholesterol issues. That drop of shiraz is also good for the circulatory system, and slows down the body’s aging process.
Secret #3: THEY NEVER GO TO BED WITH THEIR FACE ON
French beauty is – at its core - about being effortless. And a wipe-on cleanser that gets rid of makeup in seconds, is the most effortless secret of all. Bioderma’s cleansing water, Sensibio H20 (originally known as Crealine H20) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. When it launched in France in 1977 it was the first Micellar ever and resulted in a string of copy-cat products, that are still continuing to launch every year. No surprises, really. Being able to soak a cotton pad in a clear, odourless fluid that will remove ALL your makeup in a single swipe is seriously genius. It’s no wonder that one bottle of Sensibio H2O is sold somewhere in the world every three seconds. To amp up the cleansing and softening effects of Sensibio, Bioderma has also brought out two more products in the Sensibio range – a Makeup Removing Milk and a Toning Lotion. Both perfect companions to the Cleansing Water and the ultimate soothing and hydrating pre-bed ritual.
Secret #4: START ‘EM YOUNG WITH SKINCARE
French women begin taking their skin-care regimen seriously from an early age - giving them a huge upper hand when it comes to aging. In fact a Mintel Market Research study found that 33% of French girls between 15 and 19 are already using anti-wrinkle creams. While this may be overkill, they are serious about every step in their skin-care routine from cleanser to serum to SPF and beyond. Instead of waiting for aging to begin and then fighting it with powerful, potentially irritating ingredients, they employ a routine that slows and softens the effects of aging long before they begin.
Secret # 5: THEY KNOW MOISTURE IS KING
Moisturiser is the cornerstone of every French woman’s beauty cabinet. And they don’t scrimp on serum, either, as they know the key to hydration is layering with superpowered ingredients the skin drinks in. Bioderma’s new Hydrabio Serum is case in point – it contains a unique complex that teaches dehydrated skin to rehydrate itself and locks in existing moisture so you don’t lose any more than you have to. This is a key concept behind Bioderma products. Where possibly the use ingredients that doesn’t do the do the work of the skin but instead helps it to do its job better, teaching it to regain its original function and restore its equilibrium. The serum also contains hyaluronic acid, which is the ultimate dermal-drink.
Secret #6: THEY TURN DOWN THE TEMP
An old French beauty trick involves using cold water (rather than warm) for cleansing and chilled compresses to tighten and refresh the skin. This technique, acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning it dilates blood vessels and soothes the skin. We know it can be tempting (particularly in the dead of winter) to gravitate towards steaming hot water – but this can sap the moisture from your skin, leaving your body feeling dried out and lacklustre. Instead, try ending your shower with just 30 seconds of cool water for a therapeutic boost and enjoy your resulting Gaelic glow.
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Story by Sigourney Cantelo and Stephanie Russo. In association with Bioderma.