Here is my ultimate guide to the French summer skincare routine! In this post, you’ll learn about how French girls transition their skincare routine to summer and their particular beauty approach to summer.
The French summer skincare routine is not that much different from the everyday French skincare routine. But, because several days in the sun, sea, and sand can leave the skin very dry, it’s very important to use specific skincare products to protect, hydrate, and moisturize the skin during summer. In addition, UV rays can accelerate some common signs of skin aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin. As temperatures rise during summer months in Paris (or any other cities) the skin can get oily, shiny and a dull skin tone can set in. All of these reasons are precisely why you’ll want to adjust your skincare routine during the summer months.
Not quite sure how to transition your skincare routine to summer? Here, I’m sharing the best French summer skincare routine. Keep reading to learn about the perfect summer beauty regimen of an actual French girl and the best low-maintenance beauty products you need this summer.
7 Best Summer Skincare Tips From A French Girl
1. Protect Your Skin With Sunscreen
One of the staples of the French skincare routine for summer is a good sunscreen with the highest SPF you can find. The French are obsessed with sunscreen since they know that the sun is making them age prematurely. Be sure to always protect your skin with enough sunscreen, and make it the most important summer habit whenever you leave the house for a long period of time. If you’re going on holiday, make sure to reapply it every two hours, limit your amount of time in the sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), seek shade, and cover up exposed areas. So no matter if you’re going to spend your days outside touring the city or sitting by the beach you should always protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Usually, French girls have different sunscreens for different situations and use. When I’m going to be at the beach or will be in full sun, I use a full-strength sunscreen of at least 50 like the La Mer The SPF50 UV Protecting Fluid for face and the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 for the body. Personally, I don’t like to lay down in extremely harsh sunshine for hours and hours. I’m used to sitting in the shade and to apply an SPF 50 every hour. Day-to-day when I’m running around in Paris, I use a moisturizer with SPF30+ or a tinted moisturizer with a decent amount of SPF in it like the Laura Mercie Tinted Moisturizer SPF30. Here is a list of French girls’ favorite sunscreens for face and body to add in your summer skincare routine.
French Girls’ Best SPF Picks For Summer
- La Mer The SPF50 UV Protecting Fluid
- SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sunscreen Spray Lotion SPF60
- Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector
- Vichy Capital Soleil SPF60 Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion
2. Add After-Sun Cares To Your Beauty Routine
If sunscreens are one of the staple products of the French summer skincare routine, there is a huge focus on after-sun cares as well. Indeed, spending a day at the beach can suck all the moisture out of the skin, some fine lines and dehydration wrinkles can appear. That is why after a day of sun and swimming, French girls love to use specially formulated shampoos, hair masks, and after-sun moisturizers to re-hydrate, soothe and plump their skin and hair. Personally, I love using after-sun cares and especially after a day at the beach. Sun formulas always smell really summery and are super hydrating. Instead of using different products, I prefer to use a multi-purpose dry oil to hydrate my face, body, and my hair. One of the cult French after-sun products that I’m using is the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil.
French Girls’ Favorites After-Sun Cares
- Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil
- La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
- Embryolisse Lait-Creme Fluide
- Avène After-Sun Repair Creamy Gel
- Bioderma Photoderm After-Sun
3. Refresh Your Skin With A Cooling Spray
During my summer holiday, I always pack a cooling spray to refresh my skin when I’m at the beach or on a flight. Warmer weather can leave the skin feeling tight and dehydrated, that is why French girls love using a face mist to refresh and hydrate their skin. Plus, you can keep them in the fridge during the summer months so that they are super cooling and refreshing when applied onto the skin.
Ideal for all skin types, those hydrating and cooling mists are all infused with superfruit extracts, antioxidants, and even hyaluronic acid to re-plump, hydrate, and soothe the skin throughout the day. Leaves the skin soft and feeling refreshed.
Best Cooling And Hydrating Mists For Summer
- Avène Spring Thermal Water Spray
- Caudalie Grape Water
- Bioderma Hydrabio Mist
- La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
4. Swap Ultra-Rich Moisturizers for Lightweight Moisturizers
As soon as summer comes along, it’s time to switch up your skincare regime to suit the new season. So, store those rich, heavy creams and moisturizers right along with your winter coats. Instead, make the switch to lightweight gel moisturizers, hydrating serum, face mists, and post-sun hydration-boosters. And if during summer a good after sun care can help to re-hydrate and plump your skin, you still need a good lightweight gel moisturizer to soothe, calm, and seal the moisture all in. Here is my selection of the best moisturizers for summer weather to add to your beauty cabinet.
French Girls’ Favorite Hydrating Gel Moisturizers
- Embryolisse Hydra-Cream Light
- Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet
- Dior Hydra Life Intense Sorbet Creme
- La Mer The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream
- La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light Facial Moisturizer
5. Prefer Tinted Moisturizers To Heavy Foundations
During summer, French girls usually don’t wear any foundation but instead, they prefer using a tinted moisturizer, a BB or CC cream. Rather than reaching for a host of heavy foundations, concealers, and powders, French girls spend time layering moisturizers, primers, and tinted moisturizers to give a truly healthy radiance to their complexion. I think it’s a great tip as we go into summer because swapping your foundation for a tinted moisturizer will let your skin breathe, while still providing an even-toned and glowing complexion but with the added bonus of sun protection. Here are below my selection of the best tinted moisturizers to try this summer.
Best Tinted Moisturizers With Serious SPF For Summer
- La Mer The Reparative SkinTint SPF30
- Erborian BB Cream Tinted Moisturizer SPF20
- Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF30
- Caudalie Mineral Tinted Moisturizer
- Dior Capture Dreamskin Cushion SPF50
6. Double Cleanse Your Skin
During summer skin sebum and sweat production increase by 20% and the skin also produce more dead skin cells to protect itself from UV rays. So, incorporating a double cleanse in your summer skincare routine could be the best thing you can do for your skin. Indeed, double cleansing allows you to successfully remove makeup, sunscreen, unclog pores, prevent acne, reduce wrinkles, and promote healthier skin. Double cleansing involves the use of two cleansers: one that is oil-based to breakdown all the makeup, sunblock and dirt, and a second one that’s water-based.
You can use micellar water like the Bioderma Sensibio H2O or the Caudalie Micellar Water to remove makeup and sunscreen. Usually, a micellar oil-infused cleanser is great if you’re trying to get rid of light, everyday makeup. But if you wear foundation or concealer on a daily basis, a cleansing oil will help break down all of it easily. Finally, use a water-based cleanser to break down all of the makeup, sunscreen, sebum, and dirt trapped in the pores. Here are below my selection of the best face cleansers to try this summer.
French Girl’s Favorite Face Cleansers For Summer
- Bioderma Sensibio H2O
- Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water
- Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser
- Avène Cleansing Foam
- La Roche Posay Effaclar Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream
7. Limit Exfoliation And Avoid Retinol
During summer there are several beauty products to stop using such as chemical exfoliants (with glycolic, salicylic acids and AHA, BHA) and retinol-based products. Chemical exfoliants remove the superficial layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother and brighter. However, during summer, those dead skin cells help protect your skin against the sun. And if you remove it, you’ll make your skin even more sensitive to UV rays which can lead to skin damage. Instead, during summer French girls are using a gentle face scrub every two weeks and/or a clay mask.
If retinol-based products are part of your everyday skincare routine, I’ll recommend stopping using them two weeks before exposing your skin to the sun. Do not use them again until two weeks after the end of your summer holiday. Retinoids can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight and UV rays and can cause serious skin damage if you’re overexposing your skin to the sun (even if you wear SPF 30-50).
French Girls’s Favorite Gentle Face Scrubs For Summer
- La Mer The Replenishing Oil Exfoliator
- Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator
- SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque
- Caudalie Instant Detox Mask
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Bonjour! I’m Leonce, I’m French and I’m a Parisian expat currently living in the city center of Amsterdam (I previously lived in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, on the Ile-Saint-Louis). I created Leonce Chenal back in 2018 when I was living in London and missing my home country way too much. Because I truly believe you don’t have to be French or to live in France to experience the French art de vivre, Leonce Chenal is a French digital magazine to help you live your French life, wherever you are. Enjoy <3