12.13.2010

The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris- #6 The Art of Skin Care


French women are not only known for taking great care of their skin, but also for being comfortable in their skin (or bien dans sa peau).

Skin care is the most important aspect of French beauty. Good skin is like a status symbol and thanks to the copious options available in France (be it facials, specialty creams or massages) most anyone can achieve it. Good skin is not only a luxury in Paris but a necessity. Madame Chic had it. So did Madame Bohemienne. But French skincare goes way beyond a pot of expensive face cream. French women drink lots of water (a tall glass in the morning and one right before bed, plus several throughout the day), take brisk walks every day (good for circulation), try not to stress out too much (it’s hard to be passionate and stressed at the same time… the French much prefer to be passionate), and they don’t wear too much pore clogging makeup (see le no makeup look) Also, a healthy love life doesn’t hurt either!

After having my baby my skin went through a few unfortunate transitions- and I can personally attest that having bad skin is one of the worst blows to self confidence a person can have. I can definitely see why a French woman views good skin as her best accessory. I’ve had to rethink my skincare routine and change a few things but I have finally gotten my skin back on track. Much like when I have indulged in too many fattening foods, I adjust my exercise regime, I did the same with my skincare routine. I was dealing primarily with breakouts (so unfortunate)- so I booked a facial as soon as I could. At home, I followed up by doing my normally once weekly mask 2 or 3 times a week (I use Epicuren’s Volcanic Clay Mask- LOVE), made sure I exfoliated and moisturized well and even changed my daytime face cream (Philosophy Hope in a Jar Oil Free SPF 30- I switched to ‘oil-free’ to accommodate my situation). And I booked a few reflexology massages to deal with my stress. It took some time but my skin is finally back on track… and with it, my confidence.

Some very French things to remember when it comes to your skin:

Consult professionals regularly: dermatologists, and estheticians (for facials or any other treatments you might get). It is worth the expense, your skin will look beautiful for much longer. It is also quite handy to have a professional recommendation for the types of products your skin needs. You will save money in the long run by not experimenting with products that aren't right for your skin.

Never underestimate the power of massage. Regular massage works wonders for the skin. It gets the toxins out and helps to keep stress levels down-vital for radiant skin.

Drink lots of water. If you enjoy several different beverages throughout the day, such as coffee, tea, diet coke and cocktails (for example), try trading two or more of those for water. I try to mainly drink water and only give myself one or two non-water drinks a day- an afternoon coffee, for example, might be the only thing I have other than water all day. (If you find yourself hankering for something hot and non-caffinated, a hot water with lemon can be quite nice...)

Invest in the best products you can afford. The French spend about $2.2 billion a year on skin care. Here they do not skimp- they will buy the best creams, serums and cleansers they can afford. And while I tend to agree that you get what you pay for with regards to skincare products, you can also find affordable drugstore alternatives as well.

Don't forget eye cream. It is never too soon to start using it...

And while this tip isn’t particularly French… Acquaint yourself with the Clarisonic. My favorite skincare tool… ever. It is amazing, and yes, worth the investment.

Don’t forget your spf!


And most importantly… smile, emote, and really live (passionately) in your skin. Be comfortable and confident with who you are. Ignore the haters (if you have any- most people do). And just take comfort in being yourself. Nothing could be more attractive.

Won’t you stay tuned for #5?

The above picture is of a group of students in the Jardin du Luxembourg on the first hot Spring day in Paris. Normally accustomed to year round warm California weather, these students stopped everything they were doing and immediately went to sunbathe with the rest of the Parisians amongst the flora and fauna... Can you spot me?

My book, Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris will be published by Simon & Schuster and re-released in the fall of 2012.

12 comments:

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Such great points here...
we can all benefit from this advice.

I agree about the connection with great looking skin and one's self esteem...they do go hand in hand.

Lisa D. said...

This post is so informative. I've definitely benefited from your skincare advice -- I also am still loving that Epicuren mask. I've been stressed lately, and it's definitely taking a toll on my skin. I'm going to make a sincere effort tomorrow to drink LOTS of water, and maybe take some time for myself and indulge in a pedicure at lunch to de-stress a a bit. And I'll definitely stay tuned for #5. :)

Trish said...

I had my first facial in high school-in Europe. I wish they were more available/affordable where I live. But-my Clairsonic arrives tomorrow-so I'm hoping this will help with skin self care. My biggest challenge has been finding a good sunblock that isn't too greasy/irritating. It's getting expensive trying them out! I live in a northern state, so summer sun isn't the issue-it's the daily incidental exposure. I do drink lots of water which helps.

Lacey said...

Thanks for this post! My skin is taking a toll as well because of stress and a bad reaction to a product, so I am trying hard to regulate my skin. I think a trip to the dermatologist and facial is in order!

Fiona said...

I always enjoy your posts on skincare and makeup as it's one of my favourite topics, and you write them well. It's so true that 'skin is a status symbol'. It's often the first thing you notice about someone. When I know my skin is lacklustre or spotty it really affects my confidence.

MyPerfumeLife said...

Great post - the Clarisonic is something that I've been thinking about buying. I just can't quite decide though - largely because it's a lot of money. Maybe Santa will bring me one.

Gina said...

I bought the Clairsonic Mia at Sephora over 18 months ago, and what a great investment! I was moving to a new state without a job, so I justified the expense because I knew that even quarterly facials would be a hit to my budget. This was my on-going facial treatment for myself. I'm so glad I made the investment.

Also, the power of drinking water cannot be stressed enough!

Many drugstores and department stores have good return policies when it comes to cosmetics and skin care. Do not be bashful about returning something that didn't work for you. I managed a cosmetics counter, and I liked nothing more than to find the perfect cream, serum, etc. for a client. I never judged someone for returning -- unless it was clear they'd used 95% of the product and was now looking for a freebie replacement.

parisamour said...

I have been very negligent in this area! I am making an effort to change this. I made sure to take my makeup off tonight and I applied a mask. It felt good to take care of my skin!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hostess- Thank you- and yes, so true about great skin and self esteem. I think this is because you really can't hide your skin. You can hide a bad hair day or body imperfections, but skin is very hard to hide (impossible, really) that is why it is so vital that it is at its best. xx

Lisa- I'm so glad you love the Epicuren mask- isn't it amazing? It just feel like it's sucking all of the impurities out of the skin lol. Hope the drinking lots of water went well for you xx

Trish- let us know how you like the Clairisonic! I wish I'd had my first facial in high school... I think I was 25 before I had my first facial. I never had one in Paris- I was too intimidated (and broke) :)

Lacey- best of luck getting your skin back on track- You will- just have lots of patience and stay stress free as much as possible!

Fiona- Thank you! Hope you're enjoying the holidays xx

My Perfume Life- It is so worth it. I struggled with the price myself- but I am so glad I got it- my skin looks so much better and I have so fewer problems with it. Let me know if you take the plunge and get one!

Gina- Thanks so much for letting me know that! I have always been very shy about returning something that doesn't work for my skin- so I never bother in the end. I always wonder what they would do with the returned product (because they couldn't sell it again) and felt bad. But thanks for clarifying the matter! Glad you are loving your Clairisonic too xx

windycityglow said...

Dear Daily Connoisseur,

Thanks for the great post - I found it today while doing a little research on French women and skin care ( I sell a line of skin care from France).

I just got a Clarisonic for Christmas and can you say L-O-V-E! I waited almost 2 years between when I learned about them and when I finally bought one. I truly can not believe what my skin feels like after using it with my cleansing milk.

Using great skin care can really make you look as young as you feel!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Windy City Glow- Thank you for your comment... I'm so glad you love your Clairisonic- I love mine too and wish I hadn't waited to long to get it. Which French skincare products do you work with?

AJG said...

Good advice. I know this is an older post, but I think this is the type of blog in which people enjoy looking at the archives. So I wanted to add my two cents, as a young adult who has struggled with acne:

YES! See a professional if you have skin issues, such as acne. Now, not later. Even your regular doctor can probably prescribe something very effective for your skin. I spent my entire teen years and the first couple years of my twenties trying *everything* on the market (over-the-counter), before going to my doctor in despair. She prescribed me a topical medication that gave immediate results, and now (a year later) I have 85% less acne. What I do have is small and easily concealed. I really wish someone had urged me to go to the doctor before I got some permanent skin damage (ie enlarged pores), however.

Secondly, yes to water! I think most people don't realize that they don't drink enough. They don't recognize the signs of dehydration, which can range from head rushes when standing up, to general tired/fuzziness for no apparent reason, headaches, and irritability. I did not realize I wasn't drinking enough water in my everyday life until I began a profession that requires me to be "in the field" for part of the year, where dehydration could be more serious. A (somewhat graphic) example of the helpfulness of water in flushing your system is kidney stones, which form from too much water/too much bad other stuff (such as coke).

 
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