It's no secret that here at Byrdie HQ we're pretty obsessed with French beauty. In fact, we love hearing about the beauty trends, traits and tastes of women the world over, which is why each month, with a little help from our friends at Pinterest, we'll be talking to a different influencer and Pinterest tastemaker from across the globe to find out the beauty secrets from their county.
It made sense to start this series close to home, as when it comes to beauty, our obsession with all things French is pretty strong. Monique Vatin is a beauty blogger and co-founder of the online lifestyle magazine Double M. We asked Vatin everything we ever wanted to know about French beauty and how they nail that effortless, chic look so, well, effortlessly! And luckily for us, she let us in on all their secrets.
Keep scrolling for Vatin's enlightening guide to French beauty.
On The Current French Beauty Trends
"I think French women have been going for a healthy, glowing skin approach for the past few years, and 2017 will be no different with a focus on facial masks," Vatin tells Byrdie UK.
"Balayage and ombré hair is bigger than ever, with styles like braided buns that bring out those colours beautifully. DIY skincare is very popular, and some brands even sell kits to make your own lotions at home. Also, the ever-present French red lip is a darker shade this year, like a fine Bordeaux wine."
on effortless french hair
"I like to leave my hair down, and [I] never blow-dry it completely, so that it can take on its own, natural movement. When the weather is warmer, I’ll do a half-bun or a topknot. Very low-maintenance styles!" reveals Vatin. "Just between us, the French secret is just that they don't style their hair when getting ready. They let it air dry to get that natural wavy effect, and they are careful about choosing products and a stylist that will give them the right texture. Shampoo, masks and a quality cut are key.
"As for products, I've noticed that my hair reacts much better to no-silicone, no-paraben shampoos and conditioners. I'll apply some organic virgin coconut oil the day before a shampoo to keep my hair looking smooth and silky. If I want a messier look for my buns or I want to keep some strands in place, I'll spray the slightest bit of natural salt spray. Curls are definitely taking front and centre stage right now; the idea is to accept them and treat them with the right products," she adds.
on french hair colour trends
"French women, while they do colour their hair, would rather keep it subtle, like they've never seen a colourist in their life. So they'll ask for a glossy brown or a warm blonde, with a slight balayage effect (in fact, the balayage technique is completely French; Jacques Dessange invented it in the '80s). I went from completely dark brunette to blonde, and in order to do that, my colourist worked hard to blend the brown into the blonde seamlessly using a different amount of product on each strand. His name is Romain Lion, and he is simply amazing."
on her skincare routines
"In the morning, I love to clear up my skin with Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution (£15). It gives me the perfect fresh, clear base for a good moisturiser like Sanoflore Rosa Angelica. I always pat some eye cream on, and right now I'm trying the Natura Siberica Ginseng Eye Cream-Gel (£8)," reveals Vatin.
"At night, I'll start by washing my face carefully with Absolution Le Nettoyant Purete Gel Cleanser (£26); then I'll spread a few drops of Dr. Hauschka Night Serum (£39) before using a heavy moisturiser like La Fare's Creme Nuit Intense, made with organic edelweiss, sesame, hibiscus and macadamia = heaven!
"Honestly, I switch up my products all the time, depending on my mood and the season. I'm not sure this is typically French, but what does characterise us is that we don't layer a lot of products in our routine."
On popular French Makeup Trends
"French women, as much as they love trends, have stuck to a tried-and-true look that is here to stay: a swipe of matte red lipstick before heading out for any occasion, be it to grab a baguette or to go out for drinks. Period."
On why brits and americans love french beauty
"French women look for a better version of themselves when it comes to beauty and style. Which is why they always manage to seem so effortlessly chic. Brits and Americans have a different approach to beauty: It's more transformative to them. They style their hair and do their makeup to achieve a certain look that they really like. As a French/American, I've always noticed this growing up."
On who French women look to for inspiration
"Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin and Natalie Portman because of that effortless, natural look we've been talking about. But I've noticed there has been a certain admiration for Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, a trend towards perfectly groomed brows, bigger eyelashes and glossier lips, something that has been more prevalent with younger generations here in France."
On new beauty products french women are excited about
"L'Oréal is coming out with a new range called Botanicals, which is a much cleaner, healthier hair-care line (no silicones, parabens, coloring agents, etc.) with recyclable packaging. Green Barbès is a small Parisian company that makes natural DIY kits for deodorant and lotions. Maison Meunier is a Paris- and London-based company that makes luxury cruelty-free candles, lotions and a charcoal cleansing bar.
"I'm completely addicted to perfume, and some of my favorites are from Maison Berdoues (an old French parfumeur from Toulouse) and Atelier Cologne (its latest scent, Citron d’Érable, smells gorgeous)."