French beauty standards. Or should we call it the chic, effortless Parisian style aesthetic?
Either way, the term usually sparks images of a bold, red lip girl who wears her hair naturally and holds a wicker basket on one arm and a glass of red wine with the other.
But in Paris, who is this girl exactly?
Or rather, to be this girl — what routines should we have?
Believe it or not, behind this natural-looking aesthetic, the Parisian chic woman adopts a curated step-by-step process, which in this guide we’ll explore in greater detail.
So without further ado, let’s get into the 3 secrets of how to have Parisian style.
1. Parisian Women Swear by Pharmacy Beauty Products
French women take their skin and the pharmacies very seriously. This is not just the place to grab cough syrup and hunt for a chocolate bar.
The French tend to focus on prevention and upkeep. Pharmacies dispense medicine, skincare and beauty advice, and women gravitate towards high-quality products without alcohol, fragrance, and chemicals.
Most women rotate between cult-status brands Avéne, Vichy, Bioderma and La Roche in order to cleanse, tone, moisturize and apply sunscreen to their face and neck.
These series of steps is less thorough than the Korean skincare routine (known for up to 10 steps) because there’s an emphasis on not trying too hard.
Don’t Take it from Us, Take it from Parisian Style Icon Jeanne Damas
Parisian-born model and fashion brand owner, Jeanne Damas, epitomizes today’s regimen of how to dress like a Parisian. She follows in the footsteps of Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Hardy, and Brigitte Bardot, to name a few.
In a series of Vogue videos, Damas confirms some of the ideals that we associate with French beauty – her skincare routine, she stresses, is a typical ‘lazy’ French girl routine that starts with a visit to her local pharmacy.
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From the shelves, she selects French brands for cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreen, stressing the importance of products that are gentle on the skin.
Skincare is taught from a very young age, as is the process of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, using sunscreen and occasionally adding serums to the mix. Extremely similar to Japanese and Korean skincare routines.
Make Friends with Your Derm Doc – 3 Parisian Style Skincare Steps
Many French women are on intimate terms with their dermatologist. Perhaps that’s why Paris is the home to the legendary Parisian dermatologist and a biochemist, Joëlle Ciocco. She’s the woman behind the flawless skin of famous stars like Natalie Portman and Juliette Binoche.
Here are 3 skincare tips from the legendary Ciocco. She encourages all women to include these steps in their daily routine:
- Double cleansing is a must. The first step to use an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and pollutants and the second step is to use a milk cleanser to remove any remaining impurities.
- Protect your skin from the sun and prevent aging by choosing a good SPF50.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Creams won’t work if you’re stressed or have food intolerances. Learn to manage your stress and treat these issues first.
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2. Parisian Style is About Undone Elegance
The real allure of French-ness is in its simplicity. When it comes to beauty, less is always more, and the same goes for the hair on the French girl’s head. Her hair is rarely brushed but is more likely to be teased and ruffled.
French It-girl, Damas, also follows this unspoken tenant. She uses dry shampoo for messy hair days because washing your hair every day would be excessive.
Makeup is minimal, but you use it to draw attention to one feature, such as using a bright lipstick to emphasize your lips, while leaving your eyes clear of any makeup.
Tips for the Parisian Style Elegance
Anyone can get the look when they start with the basics.
Parisian fashion includes tops with basic colours, like white or black and as a blouse, silk camisole, a turtleneck or a cardigan.
Staple pieces for bottoms are always jeans, or trousers or a flattering dress in spring or summer (say no to clothes that don’t flatter your shape like an overly tight t-shirt!).
For outer garments, try a blazer, a trench coat or leather jacket. And last, once you’ve put on a ballet flat, loafer or a block heel – you need to finish the look off with a structured handbag or purse.
3. A Thin, Healthy Figure Compliments Parisian Style
One simple Parisian beauty secret has to do with maintaining a good baseline, from looking after your skin to looking after your body. Having a slim figure is important in French society.
While it’s true that French cuisine is known for its rich sauces, meat dishes and delicious desserts, people don’t eat this food regularly. Moderation is key. And if they do, it’s as an indulgence, so you eat a small amount.
The French culture centers on eating 3 meals a day, with no snacking and eating quality, fresh food. You eat a small portion, but the food is expected to be of high quality.
Regular physical activity, or even just walking and taking public transport in busy cities mean’s the average person keeps on moving.
Most importantly, French men and women eat real food – that means very few processed foods and real whole foods instead.
Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
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Is the Parisian Style for You?
Hopefully, now, none of us are left scratching our heads and wondering how French women, of any age, can pull off that timeless and effortless natural glam, that is, the secret ways of how to dress like a Parisian.
But the question remains, should you adopt a Parisian style?
If you aim to live well, take care of your health with an ‘everything in moderation’ philosophy and enjoy simplicity, then tapping into the Parisian style aesthetic is worth trying.
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