My French beauty routine is pretty straightforward; the focus is on health and well-being, having great skin and great hair, and the rest will naturally follow suit. My approach to beauty is “less is more.” I never wear false nails, lashes, hair extensions, or spray tan. I don’t do Botox or fillers and avoid invasive, harsh treatments. And I don’t worry too much about wrinkles (c’est la vie!) as long as my skin is healthy and hydrated. I don’t need to have perfect skin or be flawless. I completely disagree with the mantra “il faut souffrir pour être belle” (“beauty is pain”). On the contrary, your beauty routine should bring you joy and pleasure and be centered around feeling good in self-acceptance and self-compassion.
As Mathilde Thomas (the founder of the French beauty brand Caudalie) says in her book The French Beauty Solution: “Because when you feel good, you always look good.” French women understand the importance of self-care and view a beauty routine as integral to that process. The purpose of a French beauty routine is not solely to look good, but it’s also a way to pamper ourselves to ensure we feel our best. That’s why, being French, I tend to seek treatments and products that feel luxurious rather than painful. For me, those skincare investments are not considered indulgences but beauty rituals that make my days even more enjoyable.
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Diet & Exercise
I believe beauty (and health) starts from the inside out. I’m convinced that what we put into our bodies is just as important (if not more) as what we apply to our skins. “You are what you eat” is how the saying goes, and this couldn’t be more true than for our skin, hair, and nail health. That’s why I think it’s essential to make wholesome lifestyle choices every day: drinking more water, adding more (organic) fruits and vegetables to your meals, avoiding processed foods, not smoking, reducing alcohol, exercising regularly (by doing long walks, tennis, yoga, or Pilates), and getting enough sleep.
Besides adopting a healthy and balanced diet, I like to add nutrient-rich and probiotic-rich foods to have a more diverse, richer diet. Think green tea, berries, nuts, kefir, kimchi, ginger, turmeric, or kombucha. Also, I love to drink matcha tea in the morning —according to healthline.com, it contains about three times more antioxidants than high-quality regular green tea. I love Aime Matcha Glow (an organic matcha tea powder with marine collagen) and the classic Mariage Frères Matcha powder green tea. Occasionally, I like to add supplements to my beauty routine for healthier, glowing skin and hair. I’m currently taking the Aime Pure Glow, an acne supplement with a calming blend of zinc, turmeric, and probiotics to diminish imperfections and purify the skin.
I always clean my skin in the morning with a gentle, alcohol-free toning lotion with Rose water to refresh, soften, and prep skin. With its antibacterial properties, Rose water is known for helping reduce the appearance of rednesses and is also highly effective in treating oily, acne-prone skin. My two favorite toners are Caudalie Moisturizing Toner with Rose Water and Sisley Botanical Floral Toning Lotion.
Then, I apply an anti-aging serum (I love the iconic Clarins Double Serum) to firm, smooth, and boost the skin’s radiance. I follow with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer. I love the duo Boum-Boum Milk and C’est La Cream by Violette_FR, or Caudalie Vinosource-hydra Moisturizing Sorbet, and the cult-favorite Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. If you want a richer and more nourishing moisturizer, I highly recommend Dieux Instant Angel. In summer, I follow with a sunscreen SPF50 to protect my skin from the appearance of dark spots and the risk of early skin aging. I love the Clarins UV PLUS Anti-Pollution Sunscreen SPF 50.
A lovely fragrance always makes me happier! I always finish my morning beauty routine with a spritz of perfume. I have different scents for each season. But right now, some of my favorite fragrances include Diptyque Ilio (in limited edition), Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, and Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil.
In the evening, after showering, and if my skin feels dry, I apply Diptyque Rich Butter on specific areas of my body (usually on my arms and legs). In summer, I use the cult-favorite Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. I also love using body treatments and contouring creams that target cellulite and smooth the skin texture, like Sisley White Ginger Contouring Oil for Legs. A lovely scent always lifts my mood. In the evening, I use body mists and treatment fragrances (skin perfumes with aromatic essential oils). I have a few favorites: Rituals Amsterdam Collection body mist, Caudalie Fleur de Vigne or Thé des Vignes, or Clarins Eau Dynamisante.
On my face, I always remove makeup with a cleansing oil (I love Clarins Total Cleansing Oil and Caudalie Vinoclean Removing Cleansing Oil), then double cleanse with Vinoclean Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Then, I usually apply the same serum and moisturizer I use in the morning. If my skin feels oily with a few blemishes, I replace my anti-aging serum with Caudalie Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Serum and my usual moisturizer with the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil. Before going to bed, I always apply a layer of lip balm. My favorites are the Sisley Nutritive Lip Balm and Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm. For my hands, I’m using Diptyque Velvet Lotion (I love the scent!).
Weekly Beauty Rituals
Once a week (usually on Sunday), I’m doing a sort of spa session at home. I love using all kinds of scrubs and masks! For my hair, I use the Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, and I follow with the Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil. In summer, when my hair is dehydrated (due to the sun, salt water, and chlorine), I like to use L’Huile de Leonor Greyl as a pre-shampoo treatment.
For the body, I’m using the Diptyque Exfoliating Ointment and the Rituals Amsterdam Collection body scrub (I love the scent); both leave my skin feeling soft and silky. Then, I follow with an exfoliating face cream like the Sisley Gentle Facial Buffing Cream that gently removes dead skin cells and impurities and a face mask (I love the cult-favorite Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask). Then, I like to use eye patches that I leave on for 20 minutes while doing my nails. I love the Violette_FR x Dieux Skin Forever Eye Masks (which are reusable) that I use with C’est La Cream or with my usual eye cream. I don’t tweeze my eyebrows anymore as I like to have very naturally fluffy, boyish brows.
When it comes to my nails, I prefer to wear them short or with a little length, neat, round, and with or without nail polish, depending on my mood. In terms of colors, I love to wear either classic reds (like the Chanel Le Vernis Pirate 151) or a delicate shade of pinks (like the Chanel Le Vernis Ballerina 111 or Diorlisse Abricot) to enhance the color of my natural nails. Besides beauty, I love buying fresh flowers every week that I arrange in a stunning vase. I’ve bought this beautiful Carron Paris Mon Jules footed vase, a handmade ceramic vase crafted in Carron’s French workshop and with milky-white enameled terracotta clay.
Seasonal Beauty Rituals
At the beginning of each new season, I plan a massage or a facial, depending on my mood and what I need the most. I also schedule an appointment with my hairdresser (I have a short French bob) for highlights or a cut. I also like to do a little detox by adding a drainage and detox supplement as a one-month treatment (like the Aime Body Elixir) to my French beauty routine.
Et voilà! I hope my French beauty routine will inspire you. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice. Leonce Chenal is not responsible for any claims, losses, or damages resulting from using or relying on its content.
Leonce is the founder and editor of Leonce Chenal, a lifestyle platform launched in 2018. Originally from France, Leonce offers a fresh perspective that comes from her experience at top tech companies in Paris and London. Having spent several years in Paris and now residing in Amsterdam, she combines her professional expertise with a personal passion for French and Parisian styles. Leonce is committed to guiding her readers through the intricacies of Parisian chic, empowering them to embrace the elegance and sophistication of French style.