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Year after year, trends come and go—leaving us with questionable photographs and a lot of What was I thinking? retrospection. For me, examples include an overdose of '80s pink blush (which is back, by the way), disastrous eyeliner, and rainbow hair dye. Through it all, though, one thing has stayed constant: the timelessness of French beauty. It's simple, classic, effortless and edgy all at the exact same time. It's Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve followed by modern-day ingénues like Louise Follain and Jeanne Damas. It's last night's eyeliner turned into today's smudged eye and lived-in hair.
For an update on all things je ne sais quoi, I reached out to two well-known French stylists, hoping that by the end of it I'd be well on my way to looking more Parisian. They schooled me on trends that French women wouldn't wear anymore and popular hairstyles that are so over for the coming year.
"Anything pink is completely over," asserts David Mallett, an Aussie-born hairstylist who's been working in Paris for almost 20 years. Mallett says French women are still wearing pink on their nails and lips but have moved on in terms of hair colour.
"The French prefer everything very subdued and muted, with no excessive highlighting," Mallett told The Cut. "Everything is an understated, sexy, undone look. It's never like they tried too hard. When it comes to hairstyling, the perfect recipe is self-control and not overdoing it. It's natural but better."
Julien Farel, hairstylist and owner of a namesake salon and spa, agrees. "Ombré hair in pinks and purples had its day. Now, it's a return to sun-kissed highlights and a more natural look once again."
Instead, we're calling it—"nude hair" is set to be the hair colour of 2018.
A semi-permanent gloss, mix it with Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask (£15) or your favourite hair mask and apply to rehydrate frazzled strands as well as knock back any colour that's gone a bit brassy.
While I'm still quite partial to the Cher-inspired look, Mallett says, "Any style of American reality TV stars has really fallen out in Paris." He continues, "Natural beauty rules. Parisian women love things to be beautiful and natural, all the way from the roots to the ends." While clip-in extensions are still as popular as ever in the UK and US (I wore them for nine years), Mallett makes a case for a simpler style. "When your lover runs their hands through your hair, the last thing you want them to feel is a track of extensions."
Farel agrees, noting, "Hair that long looks fake. It drags you down. The length of your hair should complement your height in order to be most flattering."
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Last year, you couldn't make it few steps without seeing someone with rainbow hair. The trend felt nostalgic yet fresh and equally edgy. Now, though, it seems this trend has been put to rest. "Tie-dye is out," Mallett says. "[French women] mostly stay away from anything with a visible demarcation in the colour."
Instead, try tigereye, a technique similar to balayage in that it's super natural-looking and doesn't often need touch-ups.
After all the bleaching and highlighting rainbow hair entails, treat your overworked strands to a weekly Olaplex treatment to rebuild the protein in your hair.
Now, with that cleared up, what will be your next hair move?