There seems to be a huge trend going on as of late where blogs and websites can inform you of all the ways in which you can be like a Parisian or French woman in beauty, style, and every sense of the word, but I notice that so many people who are writing these posts are, many times, not even French. I found that kind of confusing and it made me a bit suspicious about the validity of their tips and so-called advice. Not only that, but a lot of it a seems so ridiculously out of the realm of reality that I have to assume it’s fake advice or a very unique case of a few French women who maybe once did these things. They just seem kind of random and ludicrous to me so I wanted to find a more down-to-earth approach to life that is attainable for women who are francophiles or maybe just admire the French perspective and way of life.
Although I do love French culture and took 3 semesters of French in college, I would never consider myself an expert and, personally, I’m happy and proud to be an American (yeah I said it). That being said, I’m happy to help anyone who seeks to live a more French lifestyle in their quest. Since I am neither French nor an expert in cultural studies, I sought out the help of my very good blogger friend and gorgeous French woman – Hélène from HealthyFrenchie blog. I’ve known Hélène exclusively online for a few years now and, though she is a French transplant in Canada, I really think she is a great example of what real French women are like, fashionistas and high maintenance Parisians aside. She’s real, beautiful, intelligent, and someone I really admire for her honesty.
Read on to see what she says about her beauty routine, style, and ideals in life!
How to Live More Like A Real-Life French Woman
First off, I wanted to ask what your beauty routine looks like: do you wear makeup every day or just lipstick?
I wear make up most days. I sometimes skip it at the week-end though. Looking natural is what I try to achieve . Usually I will either have a bit of black eyeliner and mascara with maybe a little gloss or a strong lipstick and mascara. Also a hint of blush. On a bad day I will apply some BB cream to even my skin tone. Most French women I know also aim for a simple / natural looking makeup.
Is there one beauty product you can never go without (like lipstick or perfume)?
I can never go without perfume (I’ve had the same for years “Midnight poison” by Dior, my best childhood friend got it for me on my 18th I think) and mascara.
Do you have a dedicated skincare routine and what’s the details on that?
I keep my skin care routine pretty simple even though turning 30 soon is making me think I should make more of an effort. I’ve recently starting using some pure oils on my skin. In the Canadian winter, a bit of grape seed oil at night keeps my skin moisturized and protected. One thing I miss living in a bit of a remote location is having access to a lot of choices… I always make sure to wash my skin every night, usually in the shower so I don’t use wipes. I also exfoliate gently once a week. I read that argan oil is great for around the eyes, so I’m planning on trying that, too.
How do you feel about aging/getting old?
I was freaking out a bit about turning 30, but now that I have, I feel pretty good about it. To me age, brings you confidence and charisma and it can be very sexy. I know some great looking and very successful French women who are around 50, both in my personnal life and our public figures. To me, aging naturally and staying natural is really important. So is staying elegant and maintaining my figure and sense of style as I age. Carole Bouquet, for instance, is one of those French actresses who aged so wonderfully. The same can be said about Juliette Binoche, Francoise Hardy or Sophie Marceau.
For your style, what do you think is most important – looking trendy, classic, or comfortable?
I think the most important things is to mix up classic and trendy. To me, having a classic personal style and then adding some trends by touches is much more stylish than to follow every new thing that comes out (Unless you’re 18, of course haha). As for comfort, it has become more important since I moved to Canada and fashion has become a bit more casual, but I believe in staying stylish while being comfy!
Do you prefer heels, flats or boots?
I love heels! Give me a pair of stilettos any day! For work anyways. I also love a pair of flat leather boots. I know trainers / sneakers are making a come back, but much as I like them on others, I don’t think it’s for me.
What is your favorite outfit – dress, skirt, pants or?
My favourite thing to wear is dresses! I love feeling feminine and dresses are so easy. You don’t have to think about a top / bottom and they can easily either be casual or dressed up. In the summer, I love a dress by itself. In the fall / spring, a dress with a blazer, and in the winter, a dress with tights and a cozy jumper 🙂 I do also love a pair of skinny pants with a flowy top or a pencil skirt.
How do you approach health and wellness?
My approach to health and wellness has changed with time. I suffered from bulimia for years and getting over my eating disorder took time. I also used to hate working out! Contrary to a French cliché, I never smoked, but I do like to indulge in a glass of wine. To me, eating healthy, high quality foods is important. I know that the definition of healthy food varies from person to person. I just mean that I love eating a lot of fruits and veggies as well as whole grains and lean proteins. But I also love good bread, good cheese, and cooking my own pizza or cake. One thing I was brought up with is that food should be tasty and of good quality. None of the processed stuff. When it comes to exercise, I go through phases. I’m always active, but I’ll box for a few months, then swim, then run or do yoga. I love being active, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a gym rat. Another thing that is really important to me is overall wellness. Taking care of myself if I’m sick, seeing an acupuncturist, having a massage when I can.
Also, what’s your philosophy in life and living?
I don’t know that I have a defined philosophy on life and living. But one thing I know is that it’s very important to prioritize your family / friends / life outside of work. Quality of life and making time for yourself are essential. Don’t get me wrong, I am ambitious and hard working. But I guess, to French people, vacations and days off are sacred.
At the end of the day, we only live once and we should make sure that we do our best to enjoy life. I also try to be kind and help others. And I will always keep up the fight for tolerance and equality. Also, never stop learning.
And finally, what’s a quote that you like or even a French expression that you think personifies the modern French woman’s way of life?
It’s so hard to choose one quote or expression! I do love this quote from Marguerite Yourcenar – “A touch of madness is, I think, almost always necessary for constructing a destiny.” and as well as this one from Colette – “It’s wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I had realized it sooner.”
Thanks again, to Hélène, for helping me with this post and offering up her perspective. I definitely couldn’t have done the post without her! Please take a moment and check out her blog at HealthyFrenchie ♥
My Personal Tips for How to Be More Like the French:
- Be invested and passionate about politics, religion, human rights, the environment, and the arts.
- Be prepared and happy to argue, debate and discuss those topics on the daily.
- Enjoy a mostly healthy diet, but be willing to give up good food so you can enjoy more chocolate and wine.
- Read Albert Camus’ The Stranger (L’étranger, if you want to be authentic), watch classic French films, and educate yourself on French literature, music and art.
- Take time off, but do something active like paragliding, skiing, and the like.
- Find a job where you can go to a café or go home for lunch because eating and eating well is one of the most important things in French life (from what I’ve been told by French people, that is).
My Favorite French Films: Jeux D’enfants (AKA Love Me If You Dare), Les Intouchables (Untouchables), Amélie, La Haine (The Hate or Hate), La Cité Des Enfants Perdu (AKA The City of Lost Children), Angel-A, Monsieur Ibrahim, and Le vieil homme et l’enfant (The Two of Us).
My Favorite French Songs: Diam’s “Ma France a Moi,” Florent Pagny “Je Trace” and “Le Mur,” and more recently, I really am loving “Papatouai” by Stromae.