Unveiling hair secrets from the heart of France: From the cobblestone streets of Paris to the sun-drenched beaches of Saint-Tropez, French women have long been admired for their effortlessly cool hair. Whether their tresses are straight, tousled, curled, or pulled back in a sleek bun, there's a special je ne sais quoi that draws us all in. So, how do they do it? It may not be as elusive as it seems. Today, we reveal five tried-and-trusted French hair secrets that will help you achieve tresses that look sophisticated and elegant and exude an air of nonchalance.  

  1. French Elixir: White Vinegar Rinse

There’s an age-old remedy, one of the cherished hair secrets passed down through French generations: the white vinegar rinse.

French hairstylist Sophie Georgiou, based in New York City, recommends diluting three drops of white vinegar with cold water and applying it after you’ve conditioned your hair.

Furthermore, massage it evenly from your roots to the ends of your hair, let it sit for a few minutes,, and then rinse it thoroughly.

As Sophie asserts, ‘It’s our oldest and best trick.’

Moreover, vinegar helps restore your hair’s natural pH balance, closes hair cuticles, and fills in porous hair (i.e., hair that can’t retain moisture), resulting in smoother, shinier,, and more hydrated locks.

Famed hairstylist Christopher Robin. states, “Vinegar is antibacterial, keeps your scalp clean, closes your hair cuticle, and enhances shine.” Additionally, Robin mentions that many French cinema icons, such as Catherine Deneuve, revere this treatment to ensure their locks maintain their luminosity.”

Source: Gaala Paris

2. Sea Salt Spray: Effortless Beach Waves

Master the art of creating enviable beach waves without needing the ocean breeze by unlocking one of the most sought-after hair secrets: sea salt spray.

This essential tool for achieving effortless texture and volume is surprisingly easy to make.

Start by mixing one tablespoon of sea salt with a cup of water.

Then, add a few drops of your favorite hair oil. Next, pour this mixture into a spray bottle.

After that, mist it onto damp hair and actively scrunch your hair to achieve a lived-in, textured look.

Additionally, Jeanne Damas, the creative director of the cult French fashion and beauty label Rouje, shares her love for scrunching her hair and letting it dry with a diffuser.

The result? You get effortlessly tousled waves that instantly transport you to the sun-drenched Côte d’Azur.

Source: Gaala Paris

3. Effortlessly Straight Hair without a hair straightener

French women often avoid hair straighteners, fearing a too-polished, poker-straight appearance.

“French women don’t use straightening irons. They love a full and bouncy style — never flat,” says David Mallett, a renowned Parisian hairstylist to celebrities, shares.

However, they do not entirely dismiss straighter hairstyles.

The secret lies in achieving straight hair that’s full of body and oomph – imagine a voluminous, airy, soft, and straight blowout with an effortless vibe.

The key? They prefer a high-quality hot air brush over a straightener, incorporating some expert hair secrets.

  1. Divide your hair into neat sections, working from the bottom up. This organised approach ensures each strand receives proper attention, resulting in sleek, straight locks.
  2. Hold the hot air brush taut as you glide it through your hair. The slight tension helps to smooth out any kinks or waves, leaving you with a flawlessly straight finish.
  3. Place the brush under your hair (e.g. the inner most layer), starting just a few centimetres away from the roots. Wrap portions of your around the hot air brush, gently gliding it downwards. Afterwards, switch to the cool air setting and simply run the brush under the inside layer of your hair, as though you were using a regular brush (don’t wrap your hair around it this time). The cool air helps set the straight hair and adds the final polish.
  4. To give your roots an extra boost of volume, concentrate the hot air from the brush at the roots while lifting your hair gently with your fingers.

How to select a good hot air brush: Selecting a quality hot air brush is crucial. Choose one with a tourmaline or ceramic-coated barrel for enhanced smoothness and shine.

My personal pick is the Silver Bullet Platinum Hot Air Brush (not sponsored, just a great product I trialed and can’t stop raving about).

It helps reduce frizz, imparts a lovely gloss, makes the texture of my hair more manageable, and easily detangles knots.

This tool is particularly perfect for recreating the French girl’s straight hair because it completely smooths the hair without ever leaving it limp.

On a side note, I love that it has 3 heat/speed settings, and even the lowest setting dried my wet hair incredibly fast.

Source: Instagram @livia_auer

4. Iconic French Hair Care Products

French hairstylist Christophe Robin, shares essential hair secrets for achieving chic, tousled hair, highlighting the need for excellent hair condition.

Intriguingly, he notes that French women prioritize hair care as much as if not more than, styling, as soft locks create the perfect base for any style.

To keep hair clean yet textured, experts suggest shampooing a maximum of 3 or 4 times a week.

While conditioning hydrates the locks, overuse can weigh hair down, so Robin advises his clients to limit hydrating treatments to once or twice a week.

Notably, some indulge in an intense hair nourishing ritual, applying hair oil overnight with a shower cap and following up with a morning rinse and a brief hair mask.

Then, they often spray protective spray on the hair ends for extra softness.

Robin mentions that this at-home ritual typically happens once a week, usually on weekends, leaving the hair luscious for the week ahead and easing daily hair preparation.

Discover below some iconic French hair care products, known as hair secrets, found in almost every French woman’s bathroom.

  1. Kérastase Elixir Ultime: Renowned for its effective hair care products, Kérastase’s specific line has earned accolades for revitalizing fried tresses. Their mask are popular for reducing frizz, enhancing shine, and strengthening hair, and contain a nourishing blend of camellia, argan, maize, and pracaxi oils. Use it sparingly and avoid applying to the roots.
  2. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt: The cult-favorite Christophe Robin Scrub features favored scrub including sea salt, a natural exfoliant that removes scalp impurities and product buildup. It stimulates circulation for healthier hair growth, while chamomile extract soothes the scalp, reducing inflammation and irritation.
  3. Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme: Celebrated for its restorative properties, this pre-shampoo treatment mixes sesame oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and omega 3s. This combination protects hair from damage and revitalizes dry locks. Apply it for 10 minutes on dry hair before showering to boost your shampoo and conditioner’s effectiveness. This mask is considered a heavy lifter.
  4. Phyto Phytophanère Dietary Supplement: Embracing a holistic beauty routine, these supplements rank among France’s top products for internal hair nourishment. They contain vitamin E, biotin, vitamin B6, fatty acids from fish and borage oil, and antioxidants. These components protect the hair from free radical damage, improve texture, and prevent dryness.
Source: Instagram @livia_auer

5. Achieving romantic, loose curls

According to French hair stylist, David Mallet, French women interestingly express their love for curling irons.

However, they prefer their curls not too tight or perfectly set in place. Instead, Christopher Robin notes that French women adore sexy, messy hair and feel comfortable with it falling into their faces.

To achieve the perfectly imperfect curls that radiate a sultry vibe without looking overdone, here are some tried-and-trusted hair secrets for effortlessly recreating the look.

Pre-Curl Texture: Start by applying texturizing spray or sea salt spray to your hair before curling.

This step enhances grip and creates a tousled effect, resulting in a lived-in, effortless look that French women cherish.

French Twist Technique: Wrap your hair around the curling iron starting midway, not from the ends.

This approach produces soft, natural-looking curls with a relaxed feel.

Crown Volume Hack: For added volume at the crown, curl the hair near the roots upwards.

This subtle technique boosts height and adds a touch of French sophistication to your curls.

S-Curl Movement: Create S-shaped waves by alternating the curl direction. Curl some sections towards and others away from your face, mimicking the natural flow of effortless waves.

Cool Down and Clip: After curling each section, immediately secure it with a small hair clip or pin.

This step helps the curls cool and set for a longer-lasting, bouncy effect. Once cooled, remove the clips and gently tousle the curls with your fingers for a natural finish.

Finally, the secret to soft and loose curls lies not only in the technique but also in the curling iron.

After testing several irons for this article, I found that the Silver Bullet Platinum Curler stands out.

Its ceramic barrel, infused with tourmaline, emits negative ions, reducing frizz and enhancing luminosity, creating long-lasting, smoothly cascading curls.

6. Natural Hair Secrets to Lighten and Add Dimension to Your Hair

France, known for hosting some of the world’s most elite hair colorists, also cherishes some DIY hair secrets like hair-lightening recipes, which surprisingly still hold significant gravitas.

Those seeking to embrace their inner golden goddess will find that many French women interestingly opt for a chamomile tea rinse.

This practice notably highlights blonde and light brown hair naturally, infusing it with warm and luminous tones.

To achieve this effect, you should brew a strong cup of chamomile tea, let it cool, and then use it as a final rinse after shampooing.

This gentle infusion of chamomile subtly imparts a golden glow, effectively adding depth and radiance to your mane.”

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