The French Secret To Youthful Skin

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According to a survey by online retailer Escentual.com, on average a French woman looks 1.35 years younger than British women for every decade (The Telegraph). Somehow, the French manage to get away with wearing little or no makeup and their complexion still looks flawless. Yes, it’s a broad generalization -- but what is the secret of French skincare that makes them look so youthful?

Our skin is something of a giveaway when it comes to aging. It’s our largest and most-external organ, so it’s one of the first to express or otherwise manifest our age. No matter where you are in the odd process we called “life”, your skin is something which may give your age away. Lines, blemishes, spots, etc., are a natural part of aging, though not everyone is interested in showing their age. Some would rather keep the others guessing, and here are a few ways to do exactly that!

The ‘No Makeup’ Makeup Look

Woman with hair in towel holding bottle of skin toner to face.

“Less is more” is not just a cliche.

Some mascara, a little blush and a smudge of red lipstick is the French trademark. Instead of piling on the makeup to cover imperfections and create the appearance of flawless skin, French women invest in moisturizers and serums to treat their skin so that it is naturally flawless. You’ll probably find French women investing more in preventive skin care than in makeup itself.

The skin is our largest organ, and it’s not just a blank canvas for makeup or body art. It’s the first line of defense when it comes to keeping intruders out, and its vitality matters a great deal. Putting thought and energy into your skincare is not some frivolous act of self-indulgence. Sure, it may be treated as such by certain people, but the evidence shows otherwise. Those who take care of their skin on a regular basis help the body’s immunity, reduce exposure to harmful elements, and also keep their skin looking and feeling young in the process.

Daily Skin Care Routine

The French are known to invest time and money in their skin care. Instead of adopting skincare regimes in desperation when breakouts or lines appear, the French like to take preemptive measures. They take care of their skin from a young age, viewing daily skin regimens as a necessity to maintain a clear, dewy complexion. The time and money spent on skincare is not needless pampering but rather important steps to taking care of skin properly and preserving healthy, youthful skin.

Daily SPF

Woman laughing with moisturizing lotion lines on face.

Woman applying moisturizer.

Okay, so this isn’t only practiced by the French. Wearing sunscreen is known worldwide to protect skin from sun damage and premature skin aging.  But in France, you might find more people applying sunscreen from a younger age. Protecting skin from dangerous UV rays pays off in the end. The idea of running interference and going for prevention -- rather than reactive treatment -- is a very smart move. It allows the individual to be more aware and in control.

The sun and the environment are beneficial, but at times also harmful. Knowing when to stay out of the sun is just as important as knowing when to enjoy it. Sun rays are great for us, when we’re not too exposed to them. The body uses the sun’s light to produce Vitamin D, which benefits its bones, blood, and immunity. French skincare doesn’t eliminate the sun, but rather gives it its proper time and place.

Age With Grace

The French know how to age with grace. In France, turning forty doesn’t herald calls for a range of age-defying plastic surgeries and skin treatments. They realize that toning down with the makeup as you grow older can look better than piling on the makeup and drawing attention to creases and wrinkles. Growing older doesn’t warrant covering the natural signs of aging and a life well-lived. 

Enjoy Life

This does not mean that the French succumbs to every immediate impulse for self-gratification, but they do believe it’s okay to indulge now and then. The French know how to stay thin while eating a croissant for breakfast, and while including a variety of foods in their diet. In France, it’s perfectly normal to pamper yourself with routine massage and spa treatments, which are seen as necessary rituals to take care of your health and beauty.

And that is exactly right. Our mind and body are linked, and when we are in a good mood and have more positive emotions, this directly affects the way we look and our overall health. Just like they laughing is healthy for you, the same goes for treating yourself kindly and with care.

Eat In Moderation

Woman eating pasta at table.

Woman enjoying a healthy meal.

The French enjoy a variety of foods, but they won’t eat too much of anything in one sitting. They know that moderation is key to staying a healthy weight. And if the weight on the scale climbs a little, they might do whatever necessary to bring down the numbers. Eat whatever you want – in moderation!

Those who adopt a strict and borderline-tyrannical diet regime may stray off the path completely. It is way too demanding for most people to execute long-term. But when you can eat what you want when you want it, you’ll often find it easier to maintain. Don’t be a tyrant, but do use smaller portions. Allow yourself to eat with relish and pleasure, and try to avoid the familiar remorse and self-flagellation, which are completely counterproductive.

Conclusion

Studies and polls can be swayed in either direction, and not all French are flawless. Obviously, we can’t speak or vouch for every French person out there. Nonetheless, it’s still nice to get inspired by other cultures. Adopting some of these health and beauty hacks might keep us looking youthful, too. It’s not the French alone which have developed skincare solutions, but theirs are ones which can be implemented here and now, and that means a lot.

The French have had an ongoing romance with beauty for centuries. In the 18th century, makeup was worn by both sexes, and with great enthusiasm. At some point in the past, the French and British even used the very same makeup. France still leads the world in various industries, beauty and fashion not the least. French skincare is not some cure-all, but as a preventive measure, it can work wonders.

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