For decades, everyone has been in awe of how French women, with their diet of butter, bread, cheese and wine, manage to still remain slim and beautiful. They also have one of the longest life expectancies in the world - but what is their secret?
They adopt a standard of beauty which is so effortlessly chic that despite minimal effort, they still appear radiant wherever they go. French actress, Mona Walravens, told Harper's Bazaar magazine, "We accept imperfections and manage to emphasize the unique aspect of beauty instead of trying to modify and change it and move towards a standard of beauty, like having full lips and a small nose. Some of today's most successful models are what we call atypical beauties."
Of course there isn't a woman in the world who doesn't want to appear naturally beautiful. But how can it be done? Luckily for you, we have all the secret beauty tips and tricks that French women indulge in. So here's how to look like you can indulge in that bit of extra je ne sais quoi for yourself.
15 Walk For 20-Minutes After Every Meal
Walking for twenty minutes after every meal decreases the natural sugar spike in your system. The other side effects of this positive regime are: burning calories, improving your mood and clearing the mind. Just one twenty minute walk can burn upwards of 80 calories, which will help you remove all guilt about that second helping.
An estimated 79 million Americans have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. A published study in Diabetes Care found that walking after a meal was more beneficial to the daily bloody sugar levels than a morning run. It's not only how the French keep slim, but also one of the reasons they have better overall health.
14 Facials Are Not A Luxury But An Essential
Beauty facials can be viewed as a luxury event that we indulge in once a month. For French women, a facial is considered an essential part of their skin care regime. Facials help to increase the circulation of blood under the skin, this allows for your skin to renew itself and rid itself of any dead skin cells.
There is a reason why French actresses Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche always appear with constantly radiant skin.
13 Keep It Natural
Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of French beauty brand Caudelie, revealed in The French Beauty Secret that often the best secret to staying beautiful is to just keep it as natural as possible. She explains, "In France we’re about glowing, great-looking skin, so we can have this no-makeup makeup look, and it works."
She continued, "In the U.S., I find women looking for quick fixes that leave their skin dry, peeling, or damaged, so they’re buying more makeup, and the difference is that American women find skin care complicated, with many steps, and the French secret is more about simplicity." That's one secret we are going to keep close to our hearts.
12 Stick To A Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet typically consists of plenty of vegetables, fresh fruit, wholegrain cereals, olive oil and nuts, as well as poultry and fish. This diet cuts out lots of red meat, butter and animal fats. The nutritional benefits help skin to appear flawless.
The French have a healthy approach to food, their rules are simply to eat well and enjoy every meal. We are too often in the habit of grabbing quick fix-meals or snacks whilst on the go. Sitting down, enjoying your meal and having plenty of healthy helpings will benefit your waist-line immensely.
11 Embrace Ageing
The French are not big advocates of age-reversing, cosmetic surgery. Mireille Guiliano, bestselling author of French Women Don’t Get Fat explained to the Daily Mail, "French women approach ageing with a different mind-set to women from most cultures. It’s not just grooming or clothing, or nutrition or skincare – it’s the attitude of self-acceptance. In France, a woman in her 40s or 50s is still seen as alluring."
She also suggests eating plenty of spinach, oysters, avocados and bananas, as these are a great source of the antioxidant lutein. Lutein helps increase the natural elasticity of the skin which will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and also help moisturise the skin.
10 Massage Your Face Daily
There is a secret anti-ageing trick and it's right at the tip of your fingers. Massaging your face everyday will increase the blood flow and stop your skin from sagging. Director of education for the Paris-based skincare company Darphin, Laetitia Labassee, told Marie Claire magazine, "Think of it as Pilates for your face."
She then detailed her regime saying, "The key is to take your time when you put on moisturizer. Start by pressing the heels of your hands along your jawline on both sides of your face, moving up toward the ears. Next, use fingertips to smooth on your cream from the apples of cheeks up and back toward the temples, then from the brows up toward the hairline."
9 Make Sleep Your Priority
We all know that the benefits of getting eight hours sleep a night are endless. Director of sleep medicine at St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, Raymonde Jean, told Health.com, "Many things that we take for granted are affected by sleep. If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It’s pretty clear."
The French pay a lot of attention to the boudoir. They make sleep a priority and even invest in only the most luxurious bedding and pillows. It has been proven that silk sheets will cause less friction on the face and decrease your chances of wrinkles over time. So it might be worth throwing out your old blanket and treating your bed to a little extra va va voom.
8 Choose Water Over Snacks
A bad habit we are all guilty of is reaching for the snack cupboard if we feel a bit peckish, when instead we should be drinking a big glass of water. When your body needs water, sometimes the brain can mistake this signal for hunger pains. This is why snacks still leave us feeling slightly empty.
French women always drink plenty of water. This not only keeps the skin glowing all day long but also helps trim down the waist line. Next time you feel cravings, give this trick a try and you will find your hunger pains vanish almost instantly.
7 Home Remedies Are The Best
The current market for beauty products is over-flowing with choice and it can be hard to know exactly what is best our skin. The trick is to stick to home remedies, it's cheaper and just as effective. (No wonder beauty brands won't tell you about it!)
Author Mireille Divulges wrote for French Women Don't Get Fat, "My Mother taught me to clean my face every night before going to bed and to apply a mask periodically (her fifteen minute version included cucumber slices over the eyes and a crushed strawberry-honey mix for the face). She taught me to rinse my hair with cold water with an added tablespoon or vinegar or lemon juice for added shine before moisturizing."
6 Keep Out Of The Sun
Despite having the glorious St. Tropez right on their doorstep, the French are not big on sunbathing and prefer a more natural, ivory skinned complexion. They are more likely to apply sun protection cream rather than tanning lotion.
Keeping out of the sun helps skin appear youthful, hair moisturised and lips plumped. Next time you are in the park with friends, remember that the best location is always under a tree in the shade.
5 Concentrate On All Your Skin
Our skin is the largest organ of the body, yet quite often we have a dedicated skin-care regime for our faces only. French women have a good habit of extending their regime to more than just the face.
No matter what skin type you have, you will always need to keep moisturised and should have a regime in place that covers the whole body on a daily basis. Moisturizers lock in water and essential nutrients which help to stop skin from appearing rough or flaky. Just a few days of this full-body routine will help skin appear smoother, softer, and fresher-looking.
4 Choose A Non-Impact Workout
Great news - you can cut running out of your exercise regime and not feel guilty about it. Hitting the pavement hard can have a shock effect on your body and the first place this will start to show is in your face.
Owner of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Paris, Dr. Julius Few, told Marie Claire magazine, "The constant up-and-down force may loosen facial ligaments and cause sagging and drooping in the cheeks, jaw, and jowls." Instead only stick to non-impact exercises which are popular in France, such as yoga or pilates.
3 Take A Cold Shower
The easiest beauty secret that the French indulge in, is to simply enjoy a cold shower every now and again. When you blast your body with cold water, the fat is activated to respond and begins to burn calories on the spot. If you have enjoyed an intense workout, you can always take a cold shower to reduce swelling and soreness.
Many French women enjoy a chilly blast first thing in the morning. The instant hit of the water sends blood rushing to the head, this will instantly make you more alert and ready for the day ahead. Cold water closes the cuticles of the hair, which will lock in the moisture and give you a natural, shiny look.
2 A Glass Of Red Wine Every Day
Great news for everyone - a glass of red wine a day is actually good for you. The French are very aware that wine fights acne, improves the circulatory system, slows down the natural ageing process of the body, prevents coronary disease, reduces ulcer-causing bacteria and decreases tension.
The trick is all about moderation. Many Parisian women drink only one glass of red wine a day with a meal. After the first glass, it is easy to finish off the whole bottle but if you want to look like a goddess and not a red-lipped vampire then practice restraint.
An orgasm a day keeps bad skin away! French women know that enjoying good times in the bedroom will naturally boost your oestrogen levels, which contributes towards more collagen production for healthier skin and hair.
More good news is that the natural chemical oxytocin, which is released during the moment, helps lower cortisol in your system. Cortisol contributes to the extra weight around the belly area, which means just a few months of regular activity can see you lose 5-10 pounds overall.