It’s strange, but I have never really felt very connected to France and French culture. I took a European tour when I was in high school, and it was rather terrible. The chaperones got wasted every night, and they whooshed us through so many different cities in one day, I hardly knew where I was on any given morning. I believe I was in Paris for about four hours, and I wasn’t much impressed. And after that, I decided once and for all that I didn’t like France. Silly me. Because the older I get, the more I become convinced that in a past life, I was definitely French! And I’ll tell you why.
First, let me preface this post by saying that I’m mostly going to talk about French beauty. I think it’s safe to say that anyone with a tongue and taste buds can appreciate French food. And anyone with functioning eyeballs can appreciate that France is a beautiful country. So, I won’t really be expanding on those topics, and will be exclusively focusing on beauty. However, I promise, I won’t be plugging any products in this article, or talking about beauty regimens. So, I hope you stick with me and enjoy the ride, oui oui!
In case you are in fact interested in more of my beauty articles, feel free to visit the Health and Beauty section of this blog.
A FEW BASICS ABOUT FRENCH BEAUTY
In general, if you follow any number French beauty influencers, they will all mostly tell you the same thing. They will tell you that French beauty is all about understated beauty. And it’s all very natural (seeming). However, French women will often reveal, if pressed, that they do in fact have tons of beauty secrets. But they don’t really let on that they do. And that is their secret. They would much prefer to let the world think that they just rolled out of bed, gorgeous, fresh, with no make-up, and no effort. So, French beauty in general, is a lot about behind-the-scenes upkeep. And if I had to define French beauty in one word, it would be…
But again, that’s what French women want you to think. And that’s how they want to come across.
Also, something quite refreshing about the French beauty philosophy, is that they deal with age in a MUCH better way than Americans, I believe. French women are all about leaning into those wrinkles (sort of), and letting those silver strands shine. The funky quirks that make up our individual faces, are the things that French women celebrate. And where American women aim to almost look like one another, and desperately fight to iron out all of their “flaws,” French women do the opposite. They celebrate those differences, and honor their own unique qualities. How fantastically goddess-esque of them!
Top left: Emanuelle Alt. Top middle: Scheena Donia Top right: Caroline de Maigret. Bottom: Gaëlle Prudencio
I should also say that all of the research I’ve done, and all of the observations I have been making about French beauty, are all quite specific to Paris. I’m sure there are GORGEOUS women living in other parts of France as well. And I don’t pretend to have any kind of comprehensive knowledge about French beauty. So, please keep all of this in mind as I continue.
YOU DO YOU
I also want to emphatically exclaim that this is just me babbling about what goes on inside my brain. And if none of this rings true for you, then I totally get that. If you do the opposite of all of this, and feel lovely about yourself, then I support that 100%! We all have our own bodies, our own genetics, our own histories, and we have to do what’s right for us. This is just my vibe, and I love sharing about it with you.
IN A PAST LIFE I WAS DEFINITELY FRENCH
So, why do I think in a past life I was French? Because the older I get, the more I realize how much this beauty philosophy of “embracing the flaws,” makes so much sense. And when I look back on my life, and my history with my own beauty, I have truly always tried to embody this ideal.
1. BEAUTY SHOULD NOT BE AN UPHILL BATTLE
Why? Well, for one thing, I think it’s rather humiliating to desperately fight against the reality of things. Even as a young woman, I never wanted to put much effort into forcing what wasn’t there. I have phenomenally small boobs. But, I never felt inspired to get plastic surgery, or even wear push-up bras. Instead, I usually just tried to figure out what kind of tops look fab on flat-chested women.
And as for my hair? Well, I started noticing my silver strands creeping through around my late 20’s. And I dyed my hair for years. Until I had a goddess awakening, French style! And decided to fully embrace my grays. I’m certain my former French self in a past life was beckoning me to make this transition!
Read more about this in my article, “Don’t Deny Your Grays.”
2. COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CAN
So, I realize it’s not very helpful or encouraging to post a ton of gorgeous, supermodel, French women. We come in all shapes and sizes, and supermodels make up that 1% of the gene pool who can truly roll out of bed looking sensational. I know that some of you might get really fucked up and triggered looking at photos of unattainably gorgeous women. However, I’m The Goddess ATTAINABLE, and I’m not striving for unreachable, unrealistic heights. Instead, I always just strive for my best self. So, when it comes to beauty, I can’t change my genes, and I opt out of surgery. But there are some things I can nurture, support, and encourage with regards to my looks. And to me, this makes all the difference!
I try to eat nutritionally while not denying myself pleasurable, decadent indulgences, in moderation.
I’ve never had a ton of money, and I love expressing myself through fashion. So, I have always just tried to have clothes that look good for my body type, that I can mix and match with other things.
3. SPEND LESS TIME IN FRONT OF A MIRROR AND MORE TIME IN FRONT OF A THERAPIST
I’m not kidding about this one. Because what our feelings about our own beauty come down to are simply a reflection of our own self-worth. And it’s true, society can fuck us up royally, and derail our attempts at self-love. And it can be really hard if what Mama Nature gave us doesn’t fit in with society’s standards of beauty. But therapy can help with this as well. And can teach us to say, “Fuck you, society, I’m fucking awesome!” I have been going to therapy for years, and have spent so, so, so much time on my inner self. And I do believe this has done wonders when it comes to my feelings about my own beauty.
I BELIEVE IN MAMA NATURE AND DON’T WANT TO GO AGAINST HER WISDOM
In a past life I was definitely French. Because I believe in Mama Nature, and the way she shapes and warps our bodies with age. When I discovered the French beauty philosophy, I felt so excited to know that there are others like me who prefer to go au naturel. Because living as an American woman in the states, we experience so much pressure to change, change, change our outsides. I’m sure this is true of other countries all over the world as well. And once I understood that French women are actually rather horrified by this “change” ideal, I felt so relieved.
Mama Nature knows what she’s doing. And wrinkles, gray hair, cellulite, and anything else we deem change-worthy, are all natural and normal. At times, I even believe that messing with my body in any kind of extreme way, is a blatant F.U. to Mama Nature. Because I think she works quite hard on her human creations. And for us to think we can do a better job than she, is rather obnoxious. Again, just my opinion.
As I was searching for images to add to this post, I realized quickly that most “French beauty” ideals are tailored to slim, white women. And boy, did I have fun looking for images of diverse, French, goddess beauties. I LOVE seeing all the differences in women. And I love seeing how each woman embraces her own glow.
I can guarantee, Mama Nature loves this as well. So, do her a solid, and try to love your natural self, a bit more than you did yesterday. And fuck anyone who tries to make you feel shitty about yourself!
Top left: Lou Doillon. Top middle: Lina Ose. Top right: Juliette Katz. Bottom: Fatou N’diaye
SO, HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Gosh, I hope this article made you feel good! And please let me know if it did not. I personally love looking at all of the various ways that beauty manifests around the world. And what do you think of the understated French beauty philosophy? Do you align with that? And do others around you as well? What do you do when you have something you don’t like about your looks? Do you lean in, or do you crumple in shame? Either way, I send you so much unfettered love on your beauty journey. I can’t wait to hear from you! xo
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Featured photo by Earth on Unsplash
Scheena Donia image obtained here
Caroline de Maigret image obtained here
Gaëlle Prudencio image obtained here
Emanuelle Alt image obtained here
Charlotte Gainsbourg image obtained here
Fatou N’diaye image obtained here
Juliette Katz image obtained here
Lina Ose image obtained here
Lou Doillon image obtained here