[By Tasha Wee]
Our overseas beauty correspondent Mademoiselle Tasha, is currently taking a sabbatical to pursue her interest in digital fashion art &design in Parsons Paris, and nothing makes her happier than being mistaken for a sassy native French girl.
Be it screen legend Catherine Deneuve, Academy award winner Marion Cotillard, ex-supermodel turned First Lady Carla Bruni or the everyday mademoiselle strutting down Left Bank, there is just something about French ladies that sets them apart from other women. And for the lack of a better word, this unique brand of beauty is best described as distinctively ‘French’. If you would like to emulate their style to exude your own air of ‘je ne sais quoi’, here are 5 beauty secrets of French women that’ll promise to transform you from “Les Misérables” to “La Vie En Rose”, if you follow them through and through!
Good skincare is a necessity, not luxury
From a young age, French girls are taught by their mothers who are in turn taught by theirs, to take good care of their skin. Be it her complexion, body shape or hair, the true blue French lady is more interested in ways to set her foundation right to give her a good start, rather than rely on an endless arsenal of tricks and products to hide the flaws .A daily skin care regime, no matter how long it takes or how many products are needed, is a necessary part of her life. Similarly, she is committed to eating small portions of a varied diet to keep her weight and body shape in check, and maintains the condition of her coiffure in tip top condition to give you that achingly chic and effortless tousled mane that’s almost a trademark of theirs. Regular manicures and professional spa treatments are therefore viewed as legitimate pampering as every girl is entitled to have a beauty routine that makes her look and feel beautiful au naturale, inside out.
The ultra-pampering Bardot Hydrafacial exclusive to the SW1 Spa certainly lives up to its namesake to bestow upon thee the allure of a head-turning man-magnet, detoxifying clogged and lackluster skins to technicolor brightness and Cannes-red carpet-worthy perfection. With the help of patented Hydrafacial MD technology and naturally sourced pore purging French magnetite masques with a home use version, OPPOSITE ATTRACTS, dead skin cells that dull your complexion are gently removed to allow healthier and more youthful-looking cells from beneath to show through. Starting on a clean slate for enhanced absorption, skin restoring vitamins and vital antioxidants are infused trans-dermally via Sonophoresis to ensure optimal delivery to the deeper layer of skin. This is chased with a rainbow shot of skin rejuvenating LED photobiomodulation, multi-tasking to correct various complexion-marring issues at one go. From rejuvenation, control of sebum, to improvement of skin healing, this hardworking facial is perfect for the busy urbanite with little time on her hands, and 90mins is all that’s required to make you feel right at home, from the wide boulevard of Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the nooks and crannies of Le Quartier Latin.
Choose quality over quantity
From the haute couture gowns created by Christian Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent to the bespoke line of hand-crafted leather goods from Maison Goyard, every other fashion city in the world is always trying to play catch up with the impeccable workmanship offered by the French artisans. Quality often presides over quantity as far as the French girl is concern. Instead of a wardrobe cramped full of disposable high street fashion, hers is more likely to be filled with well invested choice pieces that are high on quality, style and mileage, thoughtfully curated over the years. Likewise, it pays to consult a professional skincare specialist or aesthetician to have a proper assessment of your dermal needs to put together a beauty routine that serves your individual’s needs, avoiding blind rummages in bargain bins which can add up quickly to cost more in the long run.
When less is often more
Often acknowledged as the world’s most elegant woman, fashion icon Coco Chanel, who’s quint essentially French was said to have advised the following when dressing up with accessories— “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
Less is often more and this mantra holds true when it comes to the use of makeup for French ladies. Most French girls would not dabble in heavy contouring that leaves their faces painted into unrecognizable alter egos. When you think of typical French makeup, you probably conjure an image of artfully smudged eyeliner and maybe a light swipe of red lipstick for that famous “done-but-not-done look”. Her emphasis is more on glowing, great-looking skin that shouldn’t be hidden under layers and layers of urban warpaint.
Rejuvenate, refine and even out your skin tone with the Dazzling Skin Program engaging SmartX Lite, the laser-airbrush-of-choice to transform your skin to the perfect blank canvas for the “no-makeup” makeup look favored by the Mesdames from Marseilles to Paris. Utilizing premier SmartXide DOT® CO2 laser technology at individually tailored settings to harvest its benefits while keeping downtime to near zero. Delivered in a fractionated airbrush microspray set to deliver deep dermal, peau-transforming benefits but without the tell-tale downtime, this lunchtime laser treatment is designed to refresh dull, fatigued complexions. Star qualities include instant stimulation of skin’s natural cell renewal cycle, enhancement of skin texture and elasticity as well as radically correct skin discoloration and textural irregularities while stimulating collagen regeneration concurrently, delighting even the snootiest of all French aristocrats for sure!
Endorse facial idiosyncrasies
In French language, there’s an expression Jolie Laide, which can be loosely translated as “Ugly Beauty”.“L’imperfectionest la beauté, la folieest le genie.”— Imperfection is Beauty, Madness is Genius. In a nation that recognizes and celebrates individuality and uniqueness, unconventional physical traits which some might view as deformities are embraced under the notion of Jolie Laide. Be it her facial features, hair or body type, French girls work with these traits rather than against them to bring out the best of their unique selves.
“Instead of having a drastic overhaul to morph yourself into a standard cookie cutter beauty without a trace of originality, beautification procedures should rightfully serve to enhance your best features to give you a natural transformation into a better looking version of your own self.” Explains Dr. Tan Ying Chien, consultant plastic surgeon with the SW1 Clinic (formerly from The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre @Novena Medical Centre). “In accordance to this line of thought, the desirable end results should therefore come across as a refreshed look and not one that is obviously done.”
Embrace graceful aging
French women that come of age are not going to lose a lot of sleep over an extra wrinkle on her face or that few strands of white hair peeping through. It is also unlikely to find them making a beeline for facelifts and extreme makeovers, adopt makeup and hair trends that come across as “mutton dressed as lamb”. French women are more likely to embrace graceful aging, accepting the passage of youth as part and parcel of life, but still remained well put together to look her best at any given age. Thanks to her conscientious daily skincare routine from a young age, marks left behind by Father Time are less harsh and easier to handle by engaging with gentler options to turn back the clock.
Dream Sculpture is a cutting edge technique of using Sculptra, a biocompatible and biodegradable compound made of Poly-L-lactic acid, to boost your skin’s own collagen reserves to allow it to stay young, supple and lifted for a longer period of time. The concept behind Dream Sculpture is that it is a natural collagen stimulator, working in overdrive after being introduced as a ‘natural fertilizer’ to jump start collagenes is over the next 4 to 6 weeks. Unlike the effects of traditional Natural Facial Fillers composed naturally occurring hyaluronic acid which are reversed once they get metabolized, collagen that is stimulated into production stays for a long time long after the Dream Sculpture introduced is gone. Depending on your age and the number of treatments you have undergone, results can last for 2 to 3 years.
In addition, there’s clearly a resurgence in the popularity of lasers and other modalities which harness one own skin’s own capability to rejuvenate with the appropriate stimuli. The Youth Illuminage Program is specially tailored for those seeking a natural looking ‘perk-me-up’ sans surgery. Combining the FDA approved Ulthera which utilizes ultrasound energy for intense facial lifting with two trusty sidekicks of youth-enhancing Light Lift and Sygma Lift treatments, one can achieve a ‘non-surgical facelift’ with tighter, smoother and more lifted skin without breaking a sweat. Trèsagréable!