French Beauty Secrets : The Art of the Effortless




Une cigarette et un café to sustain a svelte silhouette aside, it could be said that the Parisian girl knows a thing or two about beauty. Let’s not forget, she belongs to a history steeped in perfume and a culture of beauty that goes way back. Beauty tips seem to be passed down hand-in-hand with a splash of Guerlain, the perfect rouge à levres and the heirloom Birkin.

Beyond the enigma of how to look effortlessly chic stepping off a scooter, with perfectly tousled helmet-hair, a black biker jacket, and a no-make-up look – what can we really learn from the Parisian girl when it comes to the art of beauty?

The best lessons in French beauty I’ve learned come from my conversations with French girls who have founded beauty concept stores, modernized the old French apothecary, and started their own juice companies. Their beauty secrets are rooted in lifestyle, great skincare routines and minimal make-up. Here are a few of their pearls of beauty wisdom that I’ve adapted in my own Parisian way. 

The Art of the Effortless

The French girl will have you think it’s all so naturel! What goes on behind the beauty scenes will never be revealed…

‘It’s all about attitude. And it’s true, I think French girls make a lot of effort pretending they are not making any effort!’ Isabel Marant, Fashion Designer

‘It’s a lot of back office work to look effortless! French women put a lot of effort into their skincare routine and they know the basics! They don’t put on a lot of make up but I think a lot of work goes into really taking care of their skin and lifestyle. Juliette Levy, Founder of Oh My Cream

Never Too Much

Along with a carefully curated skincare routine, a less is more approach to make up to achieve a minimalist-cool look.

‘I use very few things. I will do a facial or a toner in the morning. I have a floral water, L’Eau Superfine, and then I will maybe put on a pommade. At night it really depends on my mood and what I am feeling like.’ Victoire de Taillac, Founder of Buly. 

‘My beauty routine is pretty minimalist – the most important is to get my Nubio dose everyday and spend time with the one I love’. Claire Nouy, founder of Nubio Juices. 

‘I love glowy natural looks and I don’t like to use a lot of make up.’ Juliette Levy, Oh My Cream

I think once or twice a year you should go to see a facialist. I love Joelle Socco, I think she is a genius. She gave me great advice on my skin. She is very passionate and the results are amazing. Les Petits Soins is also very good place for facials. Victoire de Taillac, founder of Buly

Beauty from the Inside Out 

‘Honestly, I really think the key to good skin is a little bit of everything! Genetics plays a part but I really think lifestyle is key. I try to be as healthy as possible. Bikram yoga has been a revelation! I also try to eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables!’ Juliette Levy, Founder of Oh My Cream

‘Everybody needs to find their own balance. I grew up in a small harbour in Brittany, fed with fresh sea air and veggies from the family’s garden. Healthy home-made food and a lot of raw veggies are essential for me, along with everyday yoga & meditation. I also need to travel, fuel my inspiration with new emotions, tastes and perfumes.’ Claire Nouy, founder of Nubio Juices

‘What you eat is very important. The fashion of no oil or no fat, is very bad on skin and hair. I see it in people around me on the IT diet – you can see it in their skin and hair. Fat is not the problem, it’s processed food. Great butter and great fresh cream it’s essential. Victoire de Taillac, founder of Buly

Abiding by the Principles of Pleasure

The French approach to beauty lies not only in the carefully chosen beauty basics but a mindful approach to lifestyle, healthy eating, a good facial and a daily dose of pleasure.

A real luxury treat is to have someone come to my home to do a mani-pedi. I think it’s also a real pleasure to have time to get dressed up before going out. Victoire de Taillac, founder of Buly

I love French bread and French butter…and my philosophy is : if you’re going to eat bread, or drink coffee, make sure they are the best! Claire Nouy founder of Nubio 

Voilà, the secrets of French beauty? Great bread, great butter, and great coffee!  Add a good facial, move a little and a healthy dose of necessary indulgences!

You might also like to read an interview with French Fashion designer Isabel Marant, founder of the Buly concept store, Victoria de Taillac, creator of Oh My Cream, Juliette Lévy and the girl revolutionising the Paris juice scene, founder of Nubio juices Claire Nouy

Drawing by Merrit for TrésorParisien



  1. Totally agree that it’s all about balance and what I love about the French is that they enjoy the good things – wine, cheese, bread but in small quantities…

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