French women are known for many things—effortlessly coiffed hair, chic style, and a certain je nais se quoi women the world over try to emulate. But, perhaps what French girls are best known for is their unbelievable skin. With time-honored skin care routines passed down from their mothers and grandmothers before them, a French girl is set up to have great skin from a young age—often looking like she’s still in her 20s when she’s about to turn 45! This is why Stateside, we can’t help but eat up all things French skin care—from micellar waters to mineralizing thermal sprays—in hopes that we, too, can be let in on the secret of French beauty. Well, thankfully, these French skin care secrets aren’t going to stay secrets for long. We chatted with an actual French beauty to get an inside look at her daily skin care routine, the products she can’t live without, and more! Want to know how an actual French girl cares for her skin? We chatted with Julie Drean, a 29-year-old French native who recently moved from Paris to NYC, to get all the details!
Like all French women, Drean has a daily routine that she follows religiously, not only for great skin today, but for great skin in the future. This is indicative of a French skin care routine. The steps aren’t based on finding quick-fixes for skin care concerns, they are based on long term care to prevent concerns from happening in the first place. Drean’s routine, much like every French girl’s has to be, is as she puts it, “fast and uncomplicated, but done very carefully every day.”
Much like you’d expect, the first product Drean lists as a must-have in her routine is a micellar water formulated with mineralizing thermal water, like Vichy’s Purete Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Micellar Solution . “I wash my face every day with a thermal micellar water for sensitive skin,” she says, remarking that many French women use it in their skin care routines because it is fast, easy to use, and multi-purpose. Case in point? Vichy’s micellar solution which is formulated with cornflower extract, pro-vitamin B5, and mineralizing thermal water from the French volcanoes, to help remove makeup, cleanse skin, and soothe sensitivity in one simple step! “It is perfect for removing the cosmetics we wear and to refresh, clean, and moisturize the skin at the same time. Moreover, micellar water works for every type of skin!” When she’s not cleansing with micellar water, Drean reaches for a foaming gel cleanser, like Purete Thermale Fresh Cleansing Gel . This rich, lathering gel helps to remove makeup and pollution from the skin’s surface while neutralizing the dryness and tight-feeling associated with hard water.
After cleansing each morning Drean focuses on moisture. “During the day I use an eye contour smoothing gel, a hydrating serum to plump the look of my skin, and a sunscreen that mattifies and refines skin texture while protecting my skin. I finish with a touch of nourishing lip balm” she shares. To incorporate these hydrating steps into your daily skin care routine we recommend:
Aqualia Eye Balm – a refreshing lightweight eye gel that hydrates and refreshes the appearance of the eyes.
Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Power Serum – a light-yet-powerful hydrating serum that provides lasting moisture and can plump the look of dehydration lines.
Ideal Capital Soleil SPF 50 – a lightweight, mattifying sunscreen lotion formulated with antioxidants that can be worn under makeup.
At night, Drean reaches for that same micellar water to refresh and clean her skin and follows up with a toner. “I apply a toner to moisturize, bring clarity, and to remove the last mark of makeup or pollution. I do it few times, until my cotton round is clean,” she says. Vichy’s Purete Thermale Toner is a great alcohol-free option that removes any impurities lingering on the skin’s surface after cleansing, for a clean, soft, and hydrated complexion. After cleansing and toning, Drean reaches for products that help to improve the look of her skin while she sleeps, like Idealia Skin Sleep. This night recovery gel-balm helps to mimic the skin’s key repair activity during deep sleep, leaving it looking smoother, radiant, and well-rested.
When Drean travels back and forth between the United States and France she keeps her routine consistent, but during holidays she simplifies some of the steps and focuses on hydration and protection. “When I travel in a city where the weather is hot and wet, I just use a light serum for day and night [after cleansing],” she says. “Before going out, I will use a sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 50, but I always choose one that mattifies because I hate the oily and sticky sensation on my face.” Knowing how dehydrating air travel can be to the skin, Drean starts every trip by treating her skin to a rich mask for a deep dose of moisture and then will again use the mask while she’s in the air. “I also drink a lot of water to avoid the dryness and patches that can occur,” she shares.
Just like French girls change their skin care routines when traveling, they also know the importance of changing things for the seasons. “I use a different day cream depending on the time of year,” Drean explains. “I use a rich and comforting cream during the winter and I also add a thermal spray to my routine—after the shower and before the creams—to calm my sensitive and reactive skin.” We recommend:
Vichy’s Mineralizing Thermal Water – a soothing and strengthening thermal mist. The water is sourced directly from French volcanoes and is formulated with 15 rare minerals that help to fortify the skin against environmental aggressors while it soothes.
Like most French girls, Drean’s French skin care routine started young, with sage advice passed down by her mother. “My mother is not a beauty addict, she believes in natural products and has always been very careful with the composition of the products. So I became the same,” she shares. With Vichy’s collection of French skin care products—everything from micellar water to moisturizers to anti-aging serums—you can be rest-assured that the products you are using are gentle and paraben-free…making them excellent options for even the most sensitive skin! “The other piece of advice my mother taught me is to protect my face from the sun and to always use an SPF 50 sunscreen,” Drean says. “But I have to say, I don’t follow this very well because I love enjoying the sun in the South of France… I need to work on that and think about my future!”
While she learned so much from her mother, Drean has developed her own approach to French beauty and skin care over the years. Her best advice to those who want to start a French skin care routine? “Clean your skin every single day before bedtime and moisturize!” Moisture is a key component to French skin care. As we age, moisture loss can set in causing everything from deep wrinkles to fine lines that can make us appear to be much older than we are. All of Vichy’s skin care products feature its exclusive moisture-rich and skin fortifying mineralizing thermal water from the French volcanoes, so no matter which product you incorporate into your routine you know your skin will feel hydrated.
Her final piece of French skin care advice? Learn to accept the skin you’re in! “Even if you have imperfections, embrace them. It is about confidence!”