There’s no contesting that French girls are the true experts when it comes to nailing au naturale beauty. Despite the fact that France is a nation built on cheese, baguettes, croissants and cigarettes, its female inhabitants tend to have criminally flawless skin. All’s fair in love and genetics, after all. 

We’ve never not had a big crush on French women — from the OG queen of style and grace, Coco Chanel, to the endlessly cool Lou Doillon — and that’s mostly in part to their effortless steez ‘n’ skin. So it’s très lucky for us (and you) then that we managed to nab some time with Sophie Lejarre, the asia pacific brand manager of chicest Parisian beauty brand, Guinot

We chatted to Sophie about everything from the typical french girl skincare routine and their (almost annoying) knack for ageing gracefully. Get acquainted below.

Why does skincare always need to come first for French women?
French women have always taken care of their skin — it’s very important here, and is a huge part of the French culture. At home, at a young age, girls start discussing their skin with their mother and grandmother, who reveal to them their beauty rituals and secrets for a natural and radiant skin.

What are the skincare steps for the average french woman?
It depends on skin type and age, but here in France we love preparing our skin with a soft cleansing product — something that is not going to be too abrasive on the skin, followed by a serum and tinted moisturizing cream. Masks are used religiously in France — you will see one in every woman’s beauty cabinet. Again, its something that is instilled in us from our mothers and grandmothers. To go the extra step to take care of your skin will pay off in the long run.

Why do you think French women prefer that paired back look when it comes to make-up?
French girls love an understated look when it comes to fashion, and the same could be said for their face. It’s like treating the skin, complexion and makeup as an extension of fashion — an accessory if you like. French girls want to look as natural as possible and they don’t appreciate a heavily-applied makeup look. Think Ines de La Fressange and Catherine Deneuve. The French motto is ‘effortless beauty’. 

French women age so gracefully. What are the beauty treatments French women get to help them slow down the ageing process?
French woman believe in products and treatments combined to get the best results for their skin. Like we eat healthily and exercise to get the best results for our physique, and we adopt the same approach to looking after our skin. We see facials as being workouts for the skin — working with the skin’s natural functions to slow down ageing as much as we can. We believe that prevention is better than a cure, so maintaining consistent treatments achieves this. French girls prefer a ‘gentler’ approach to ageing, favouring non-invasive beauty.

Introduction, Madeleine Woon.
Interview, Carlie Fowler.