What French Women Know That We Don’t

French women seem to live charmed lives of effortless grace and style.

How do they do it?

How we age has a lot to do with genetics, exposure to the sun (Vitamin D aside, don’t do it, never the face!!!), our diet, not smoking, not drinking in excess, blah, blah, blah, but what else do French women do that we don’t???

There were some nuggets in an article in the NY Times online.

Number 1, don’t gain weight. However, the only acceptable form of exercise is to walk. Why exercise when you can take a pill, use lotion, a machine or get a treatment to take off the pounds?

Also recommended, facials, massages and spa cures to combat aging and saggy everything- and if you are clever enough, you can get your doctor to prescribe some of these treatments and have the government foot the bill to keep you looking young.

Hmmmm, I’m not that resourceful. Moving on….

Apparently Frenchwomen of all ages subscribe to the less is more philosophy of makeup with the goal to look as natural as possible. Shouldn’t that always be the case? Makes sense to me.

Perhaps the key to looking great at any age is great skin. Frenchwomen spend $2.2 billion a year on facial skin care- I wonder what that works out per person? Cosmetic procedures are not out of the question- Frenchwoman just prefer the onlooker to assume they are very well rested not pulled, spackled and injected within every inch of their life.

Apparently it can cost as little as 18 euros for a cut, shampoo and blow-dry so it is relatively inexpensive to make frequent visits  to the salon- unlike my once every three years routine. Does it count that I cut my own hair now? Somehow I think not.

Of course we generalize. There are many examples where this theory does not hold (I’m talking about you Brigitte Bardot- what happened???) but a second article boils it down to 10 (because we all love lists) must do’s to age as well as French women:

  1. Take care of yourself. (Check.)
  2. Keep it natural- heavy makeup ages. (Check.)
  3. Don’t use soap, it dries. Use lotions and hydrating lotions with a cosmetics sponge to be gentler on the skin. (Okay, check.)
  4. Cold-water rinses- improves circulation, bringing oxygen to the skin cells (does it really?) (Do it already, not sure if it makes a difference but check.)
  5. Diet- maintain your weight by eating carefully, fresh, never processed food, emphasis on fruit and vegetables, small portions. (Damnit, okay. Check.)
  6. Go to a spa- don’t bother with exercise. (Can’t I do both? Sort of check.)
  7. Make your dermatologist your friend- it helps that these visits are covered in France (how progressive). (Doctors scare me a little. I’ll sleep on it. Maybe check later.)
  8. Make your surgeon your friend- look like yourself, not like your 20-year old self. Think Demi Moore, not Lara Flynn Boyle. (I have better things to spend my money on but I never want to say never. Ask me in 25 years.)
  9. Presentation- accessories are your friend but don’t dress like a teenager. (Oops. Will try harder. Check.)

But the most important is your attitude, think sexy. A confident, self-assured woman is sexy. (Yeah, maybe after a couple glasses of sangria. Will work on this too. Check.)

So, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Much of it has to do with self-esteem and giving a damn in the first place. Put yourself first (because no one else will), moderation is your friend and don’t feel guilty about indulging- just do it at the spa and not the ice cream bar.

Simple, non?


~ by angryegg on August 4, 2010.

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