Dispelling French Beauty Myths
The world is obsessed with French style, and for a good reason. Paris is one of the world’s fashion capitals, where new wardrobe and makeup trends are introduced every year. It’s no surprise that the French girl has become such a powerful image that women all over the world want to emulate.
However, there are also a lot of misconceptions about French beauty standards that lead to confusion and can make some beauty lovers feel excluded.
Today, we’ll bust those myths and share real beauty facts about French style to help you figure out how to make it your own.
French girl beauty is diverse
The first image that comes to mind for many when they hear the phrase “French girl” is a pretty blonde actress, like Brigitte Bardot or Catherine Deneuve, with tousled hair and full lips.
While the tousled hair and full lips are often true to French beauty, being blonde or even white is certainly not a prerequisite for having French style. France is an incredibly diverse country, and Paris itself is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. No matter your skin tone, hair color, or cultural background, you can embody the inherently cool, effortless vibe of French beauty.
You don’t have to be skinny
Much like the misconception about skin tone, there’s also the idea that French women are all impossibly waifish, which is another idea that can be incredibly harmful. The truth is that the streets of Paris are teeming with gorgeous women of all shapes and sizes. Online, models like Clémentine Desseaux and influencers like Gaëlle Prudencio are proving that French style has very little to do with size.
It’s not always ultra-feminine
There’s a bit of duality when it comes to French beauty and gender. On the one hand, there’s this idea of an ultra-feminine woman in a flowy floral dress, while on the other hand there’s the image of Jeanne Damas in a blazer and loose-fitting jeans.
French femininity is, in itself, complex, but having some masculine elements in your look is still seen as beautiful.
In a city like Paris, anything goes, as long as it fits you well. You can shop in the menswear section, stick to totally gender-neutral outfits, rock a hyper-femme outfit, or mix everything into your wardrobe, and your style can still fit into French beauty standards.
Red isn’t the only lipstick color
Red lipstick is not a total myth, but we do think its popularity as part of Parisian style has been slightly blown out of proportion. While almost all French women do own red lipstick, it’s not necessarily a daily staple for everyone.
In fact, most days of the week, French women prefer to wear a natural-looking pink lipstick or even just a sheer layer of nude gloss. Red lipstick, on the other hand, is worn to add a touch of drama just once in a while, sometimes during the week and other times for special events.
No one douses themselves in perfume
You might have heard the term “a French bath” in reference to a person soaking themselves in perfume or cologne in lieu of bathing, but that idea seems to come from the English-speaking world. In reality, no one understands perfume as well as the French, which also means that they know how to apply just the right amount.
The cloud method
There are two approaches to applying perfume. The first is great if you have a stronger perfume: Spray a cloud of the perfume in front of you, and then walk through it. This will cover you (and especially your hair) in a delicate mist of fragrance that won’t be overpowering.
The strategic method
The second method is great for a more gentle perfume or eau de toilette. With this method, you spray the perfume directly on your wrists, and then gently tap them over strategic points, like behind the ears or on your neck’s pulse points. If you’re wearing a skirt, you can add a spritz behind the knees.
This gives a targeted application, so your fragrance will be strongly felt at specific times, like when someone kisses you on the cheek, but the rest of the time it’ll be subtle. If you choose this method, be careful to never rub the perfume, as that will cause it to dissipate more quickly.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money
We often associate French style with expensive brands like Chanel and Givenchy, but following French beauty standards doesn’t have to cost much. Sure, many French women have a few basic essentials from luxury brands, whether it be their signature perfume or a pair of Chanel two-tone slingbacks, but they’re just as likely to buy from affordable but trusted brands.
It’s not unusual to see a French woman carry a Saint Laurent handbag along with a thrifted outfit from one of the vintage stores in Montmartre or Le Marais. The same premise applies to beauty products. For instance, most French women buy their skincare specifically from the pharmacy, where the prices are very reasonable. No matter your budget, you can absolutely find high-quality and affordable products that will help you feel beautiful, like the products here at Vivienne Sabó.
There’s room for creativity
While French beauty can seem a little uniform with its staples, it’s not meant to be restrictive. In fact, a large part of French beauty is not caring about what others think, and just doing your own thing.
There are some beauty staples, sure, but creativity is still encouraged, especially if you’re aiming for Parisian style. Paris is a big city, so it has its artists and fashion lovers who love to break rules, especially during Fashion Week. If you want to wear unusual lipstick, try something new with your hair, or mix prints in your outfit... it might not be classically French, but it can still be chic.
Make French beauty your own
To truly rock French style, it’s important to know the beauty facts from the myths. While French beauty can seem unattainable, the truth is that it’s very inclusive, so every person who likes the aesthetic can make it their own.