Tips! Tricks! Techniques!
How To: look as pretty as a Parisienne
Wed, 29 February 2012 2:48PM
I’m a hopeless Francophile. I love everything French, especially if it hails from my favourite place on Earth: Paris. So, with that city’s Fashion Week A/W ‘12 just beginning, I’m feeling in a particularly ooh-la-la frame of mind. While the coming week is sure to launch beaucoup de new hair and makeup trends, the funny thing about French women – whom j’adore – is that they don’t actually seem to follow trends all that much. Their signature style is a kind of effortless chic (take a bow, Clémence Poésy) which, of course, requires a little effort to perfect. Read on for some of their secrets …
1. Stick to a Skincare Routine. French girls are usually initiated into a skincare regimen by their mamans at a very young age – cleanser, toner (or some kind of skin refresher/water), moisturiser and eye cream. Try to have your basic skincare steps in place by your early twenties at least, and avoid switching brands too regularly. The à la française way is to buy the best quality you can afford, and remain loyal to it until your skin’s needs require a product upgrade, of which the first should be some kind of preventative-ageing serum, like those chez Lancôme, followed by lush creams, such as those found over at Clarins.
2. Buy Big on Base. Just as les françaises splurge on luscious lingerie, so too do they spend up big on high-quality foundation and powder. Chanel and By Terry are two popular base brands. Make sure to get colour-matched and have a how-to lesson for best results – which are, to look like you’re not wearing any base at all. Remember, the French love their au naturel.
3. Go Light on Lid & Lashes. Of course, there are those French coquettes who love to bat bedroom eyes (think Brigitte Bardot and her smoky lids). But regular on-the-rue French girls prefer to keep their eyes minimally made up. A neutral shadow and a flick of black mascara will suffice. Just make sure to change over your mascara every few months, or you’ll risk clumpy, crusty lashes. Quelle horreur.
4. Buy Two Lipsticks. One pale and neutral, one statement-red. Both work perfectly with the Parisian uniforms of a white tee and jeans, a trench coat, or a petite robe noire. Check out Chanel and Guerlain for quintessentially Parisian lipsticks – and one that are pretty enough to live up to your Chloé bag.
5. And Two Fragrances. The French love their fine fragrances (one of the country’s most esteemed industries) and are very much in tune with their sense of smell. That’s why they tend to have two signature scents, one for summer and one for winter. A classic warm-weather French fragrance is Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien, $130; for winter, try a seductive oriental, such as Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, $175.
6. Don’t Forget le Body. French women may not flaunt their skin so much, but they still spend a lot of time tending to their bodycare needs. They invest in all sorts of circulation-boosting mitts and lotions to fight cellulite, and they see spa sessions as a necessity more than an ingulence. And don’t forget the beauty rule we Australians so commonly do: always extend your face care down to your décolletage; it’s about the most ageing-prone part of the body so needs as much product and sunscreen love as you can throw at it.
7. As for Les Cheveux … Marie Antoinette notwithstanding, Parisiennes generally like an easy style of hair – anything from pixie-short to a messy bob to long and tousled. A must-have hair accessory: an Hermès Twilly scarf, or even a cute polka-dot ribbon, which is parfait as a ponytail’s finishing touch.
8. Finalement … French women may not get fat, but they don’t get super-skinny either. They maintain a healthy weight for them by avoiding drastic diets, and by eating a sensible amount of everything. By having some fats in their diets – particularly les fromages, full-fat yoghurts, smoked salmon, and a handful of nuts sprinkled on their salad – they ensure that their skin remains plump and holds up well to the ageing process. Red wine is also a well-shared French beauty secret – it’s one of the best antioxidants around. So don’t feel guilty about a few weekly glasses of vin rouge – think of it as inner skincare!
Posted by: Katrina Lawrence