France is the home of many fashion houses and french women are famous for their style and couture. But did you know that French women are also known for their youthful appearance? A study by online beauty retailer Escentual.com, found that on average, French women look 3.4 years younger than British women by the time they reach their 40s. It’s hardly any wonder then that French beauty and skincare is popular around the world, with brands like Payot, Guinot, La Roche Posay and By Terry continuing to produce bestsellers in luxury makeup and skincare.
There are some common factors with all of these skincare brands - they invest in pharmaceutical research to continually provide the absolute highest standard and innovations in skincare, with scientists working to discover the best formulations to care for skin at every age. The proof is in the results - french women have a youthful appearance. We decided to take a closer look into what makes French skincare stand out. We wanted to know: what do the french do to their skin that we don’t?
We made 8 key discoveries when it comes to French skin and the ageing skin process.
1. Be yourself and accept your ageing skin
French women very much believe that beauty and wellness are about accepting who you are and making the most of what you have. They have a phrase, joie de vivre which means enjoy life. Rather than try to reverse the ageing process, French women embrace their ageing skin, preferring to focus on skincare for skin health.
When it comes to ageing skin, French author Clemence von Mueffling in her book Ageless Beauty, explains:
“Understanding what happens as you get older is the first step toward devising a skincare plan that will be the most effective for your own unique needs.”
She goes on to explain that French women aren’t interested in Botox or injections because they aren’t a preventative treatment and they don’t last. There is a focus instead on a skincare regime that will protect and treat ageing skin for radiance. Often we forget that skin radiance is not just linked to youthful skin, it is a sign of healthy skin.
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My Payot Concentre Eclat, Vitamin C Serum,a healthy glow serum, is an example of a French skincare product formulated for ageing skin to restore radiance and a healthy glow. Its highly concentrated and vitamin enriched formula revives skin radiance and helps to protect it against external aggression, whilst its ultra-fresh texture delivers an instant healthy glow.
The results are entirely based in scientific research. It contains:
Five forms of alpha hydroxy acids - AHAs are chemical exfoliants, with molecules small enough to penetrate deep into the skin. AHAs work to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells for effective exfoliation and cell renewal.
Vitamins A, C, E and K - this serum has four boosting vitamins for ageing skin health. Vitamin A (often known as retinol) works to restore skin to its radiant health.Vitamin A can work to make fine lines and wrinkles appear less visible, stimulating collagen and elastin production for plump and tight skin. Vitamin C works to brighten and smooth the skin. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, fighting against sun damage and the production of free radicals. Vitamin K can reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars.
2. Routine and discipline - make life easier
French women love to build routines, in every area of their life. This includes building a regular skincare routine. There is a joy to be found in taking time daily to complete a skincare routine. As Terry de Gunzburg puts it “Think of your cleansing ritual as a bit of a calming meditation, as something that will not only feel good and smell even better but leave your skin soft, dewy and glowing. Find products you love, with scents that transport you into these special moments of total relaxation. It is very easy to make those few moments when you remove your makeup and then wash up deeply pleasurable.”
At the same time, there is a realisation that life can be hectic and that sometimes we miss out certain steps when it comes to skin health. Taking the pressure away and enjoying the moments of using skincare products can help to focus on building a regular routine.
3. Double cleanse for skin hygiene
3. Double cleanse for skin hygiene
Skin hygiene is very important for French women. They understand that cleaning your skin thoroughly can have a huge impact on skin health, radiance and even how your skin ages. This is because cleansing, especially in the evening, ensures that you are getting rid of all of the day’s residue, dust, and pollution.
What does double cleansing involve?
The first cleanse focuses on getting rid of surface dirt, excess makeup, oil and sweat. The second cleanse is able to focus on cleaning deep into the pores for thoroughly clean skin. Skin at every age can benefit from the double cleanse and the earlier in life you can develop this habit, the better for your long term skin health.
French women often use micellar water for the first cleanse. This comes from a tradition of Parisian water being too harsh on the skin. Payot Eau Micellaire Expressis a really hydrating micellar water that doesn’t require water to cleanse. You simply apply to cotton pads and cleanse your skin of makeup, dirt and pollutants.
Its hydrating properties come from hydrogenated castor oil, which is an emollient and sodium hyaluronate, a type of hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000 times own weight in water.
Eau Micellaire Expressmake up removerSkincare200ml: £6.00
4. Facial massage
The founder of Payot Paris, Nadia Payot, once met a famous ballerina and noticed that whilst her body was well exercised, her skin was not. This meant that it looked like the ageing process had already started to take its toll. This got Nadia Payot thinking - if she could create special facial massage techniques to exercise the face, the skin would look younger. So she developed 42 facial exercises to use with her skincare products.
Here is an example of a facial workout from Payot:
Payot also offer specific advice when applying skincare products to combine facial massage with the activation of ingredients.
Payot Hydra 24+ Gel-Creme Sorbetis a non-greasy, lightweight face cream that works to restore skin health, leaving it plump, bright and protected against pollutants and sun damage. It has:
Hydro Defense Complex - fig, watermelon, red algae extract and h20 patch have been specially formulated for a hydrating and protective complex, to help restore and maintain your skin’s natural hydration
Urea - found in the very best moisturisers, urea is already present in your skin’s natural moisturisers, it decreases naturally with age and so this boosts your skin’s hydration and moisture.
Creatine - which consists of three amino acids - this active ingredient gives your cells the power to regenerate, which is great news for collagen production.
Payot suggest this massaging technique when using Hydra 24+ Gel-Creme Sorbet:
5. Skincare over makeup
French women are firm believers that skincare is more important than makeup - if they get their skincare right, they won’t have to use makeup. French women also recognise that thick foundation can actually make the skin look older, highlighting lines and wrinkles, as it clings to them. French women tend to go for a simple makeup choice - favouring mascara and lipstick with just a little high quality concealer or powder if needed. Whilst there is a subtlety to the eye area, there is often a strong choice on lipstick. This can be dressed down with tousled hair for a more relaxed look.
If the idea of not reaching for your foundation to mask fine lines and dark circles around the eye area fills you with dread, it’s also worth noting that french women use specific treatment for the eye area. The skin in this area is thinner and more delicate and understanding the need for specific skincare products to treat the effects of ageing around the eyes is key to restoring skin health in this area.
Payot Hydra 24+ Regard Glaconhas the Payot Hydro Defense Complex as well as urea which we have already discovered is found in the skin’s natural moisturisers, sea salt to soothe any irritation around the eyes and sodium hyaluronate to penetrate deep into the skin and lock in moisture.
6. Skincare doesn’t stop with the face
When it comes to applying skincare products, a common issue we find with Jersey Beauty customers is overlooking the area below the face. French women never forget to use the same skincare on their decollete, neck and chest as well as the face. Using a moisturiser like My Payot Jour and continuing onto the neck and chest is a good way to deal with deepening lines and wrinkles in these areas.
It is also important to remember that the skin all over your body starts to age as well as your face. Finding the right body creams, scrubs and treatments.
My Payot Jourdaily moisturiserSkincare50ml: £24.00
7. Eat well
Whilst french women are careful in their diet, they still enjoy freshly baked bread, cheese and drink coffee! However there is an awareness of the impact too many sweet drinks, or too much dairy or gluten can have on your skin. French women enjoy a full and varied diet that is mindful of what they eat and drink affecting their skin.
8. Sleep well
French women are educated about skincare and how the skin works. When it comes to sleep, this helps with skin repair - as you sleep your skin renews itself. Getting enough sleep can have a positive impact on working against premature ageing. Equally choosing a face cream that you can apply before bed with essential nutrients and specific ingredients to treat your skin concerns can also help with this skin restoring process.
In the words of French author Clemence von Mueffling, in her book Ageless Beauty:
“Beauty and wellness are about accepting who you are, making the most of what you have and… being happy with the small changes you make to improve your daily routine, because real change is hard.”
There is a respect for skincare in French culture that is taught to women when they are young. It is never too late, however, to start adopting some of the French attitudes towards skincare to see a change in your own skin health.
That is why, at Jersey Beauty, we have just added Payot Paris skincare products to our site.
Nadia Payot established this institute almost a century ago, one of the first female doctors in France and a leading voice in women’s rights in the country. Payot established the first Beauty School in France in 1949. The legacy she leaves is of a skincare company that is dedicated to providing high quality products, developed using scientific and pharmaceutical research.
As a introduction to Payot, we have an amazing offer. Spend £35 on Payot and get 3 free minis. Shop now: