April 7, 2014
It has long been a generally accepted fact that French women don’t get fat. It is now also increasingly accepted that they don’t succumb to spots and wrinkles either.
A glance at the beauty pages of my favourite glossy magazines reveals a veritable fascination with the rules of French skincare. The consensus on what those rules are however is far from clear. There is the minimalist, soap-and-water camp embodied by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who swears by Embryolisse, a simple, French pharmacy classic.
Juliette Lévy (The founder of Oh My Cream !)
That icon of Parisian chic, Ines de la Fressange, espouses an even more minimalistic approach: to eradicate wrinkles, a smile will suffice! On the other side of the fence, we have the French facialist camp. They book their appointments with Parisian skincare gurus months in advance and apply complex sounding creams with scientific precision. Continue Reading »
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November 5, 2012
Having grown up on CVS and Walgreens, the French pharmacy was a revelation to me. Anyone who has ever been lured by the glowing green cross knows that pharmacies in France shill more than medicine and bath staples. They’re cosmetic wonderlands that offer some of the most ingenious—not to mention luxurious—products around.
For a long time, a trip to France meant loading up on these goods and then painstakingly rationing them in between visits, but of late, they’ve begun to invade new markets. In New York, at least, you can now find brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Klorane and Avène right in Duane Reade. Duane Reade! Continue Reading »
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November 7, 2011
Every time I go to Paris, I’m inspired anew. I look at the women with their ruby red lips, their studiously disheveled hair, their outfits that—really, aren’t that exceptional and yet still scream “cool” because of the way they hang on their petite frames or just because of the attitude with which they’re worn—and I think: I can do that!
You see, French women make beauty look so easy. They’re not all made up, hair sprayed and complexion painted to perfection. Their nails don’t match their lips. Their shoes don’t match their bags. They’re not highlighted, bronzed, veneered, acrylic tipped, implanted, injected or perfected. And yet they’re beautiful.
So what do they have that we don’t (okay, at least I don’t)?
It all starts with attitude
My friends who date French women assure me the pretty young things are actually racked with insecurities. But you’d never know it looking at them. French women ooze sex appeal. It’s in the way they walk, the way they talk, and the way they hold their wine glasses. They think, “I’m beautiful,” and it radiates outwards, causing others to look at and admire them which, in turn, makes them feel beautiful—a brilliant cycle if there ever was one. Continue Reading »
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December 17, 2010
The plight of the Francophile is that, more often than not, he or she doesn’t live in France. In fact, it’s quite possible that he or she has never even been to France, or at least, not with any frequency. But because separation makes the heart grow fonder (and sometimes downright obsessive), we must come up with coping mechanisms to keep the French dream alive, no matter where we are.
If I were super-motivated, I’d be hosting regular French film soirées and presiding over a French lit-themed book club, but alas, that all sounds much too Type-A. For now, I will indulge in the little things that help me feel closer to the country where I really belong (and where I would be, if there were any justice in this world).
1. Tarragon Mustard. Maille whips up a delightful version, but I am partial to the Edmond Fallot variety, which I slather on whatever happens to be lying around.
Caudalie / Tarragon Mustard Julien Hausherr
2. Roger & Gallet products. Their Tilleul (Linden Blossom) moisturizing cream changed my life, and I will forever associate its scent with my cozy little studio on rue Mouffetard. Abroad, you can find these products in department stores and boutiques that carry high-end bath products.
3. Fleur de Sel de Guérande. Keeping a container of this fancy sea salt in the kitchen ups the ante of just about any dish, and will inevitably impress your foodie friends. Sassy food blogger David Lebovitz explains why this salt is all it’s cracked up to be.
Continue Reading »
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