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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 diverseInstagram photo by @itstiffaniedavis

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

Jeanne Damas in jeans and blazer 

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 

Vivienne Sabo model holding the Matte Constance lipstick 

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 

=Young woman with a bottle of perfume in hand 

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

Instagram photo by @scheenadonia


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.

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Upgrade Your Daily Massage with a Face Roller
April 13, 2021
Upgrade Your Daily Massage with a Face Roller

In French beauty, the skin is always the star. French women rarely cover their faces with more than a sheer tinted moisturizer. Instead, they focus on achieving healthy skin with great skincare and an invigorating daily facial massage.   While the hands are the traditional tool of French aestheticians, facial rollers have been a welcomed addition to French women’s daily skin care routines. If you’d like to add a face roller to your beauty routine, as well, keep reading! We’ll help you learn everything you need to know about how to use a face roller for maximum effects.    The benefits of face roller massage  Using a face roller on a regular basis has immense wellness benefits. It goes beyond just the skin — the effects of a facial massage have physical impacts below the epidermis. The rolling motion of a facial roller exerts less pressure on the skin than a traditional face massage, so it yields results quicker and is more gentle. Face rollers are inherently cool, so they have a soothing effect on the skin. You can boost this effect by keeping your face roller in the fridge. They tone the face and eliminate puffiness by moving and draining lymphatic fluid. They give facial muscles a relaxing massage that helps to drive away tension, especially from the jaw and temples.  The massage improves blood circulation to the skin, which gives a youthful glow and may have long-term anti-sagging effects. The gentle massage helps skincare products penetrate into the skin more quickly and deeply.   How to choose the best face roller When selecting the best face roller for you, consider what kind of features you’re especially interested in. Some stones do a better job of staying cold, while others have a smoother surface that’s more gentle on the skin.  In general, we recommend purchasing a double-sided roller, with a large side for rolling over the face and a smaller one for around the eyes.  Jade rollers are the classic choice, as they were the first facial rollers available on the market, and they’re quite affordable. They’re lightweight compared to other stones, but they’re also a hint quicker to lose their smoothness.  Rose quartz facial rollers have become more popular in recent years. They’re a little heavier than jade rollers so they can exert more pressure on the skin, but they also stay cold for longer and are generally more durable. Amethyst rollers are the new thing in the facial roller scene. They’re structurally similar to rose quartz, but they’re quite expensive. The companies producing them often put more effort into manufacturing, so they’re usually smoother and less likely to make noise. Finally, there are ice rollers. They have a liquid core that turns to ice if you put them in the freezer. Using one is like getting an ice facial that rapidly cools the skin. They soothe irritation and reduce puffiness, but the cold shock can be too intense for daily use.  How to use a face roller   When not in use, keep your facial roller in the fridge, especially in the summer when the cold can be very refreshing. Always start with clean skin. The face roller will glide more easily if it’s also covered in a thin layer of moisturizer or face oil. If you’re a fan of sheet masks, you can use your facial roller on top of the sheet mask to allow the essence to soak in more thoroughly. Once you’re ready to roll over the face, remember this basic principle: Always start in the middle and work outwards and upwards, mirroring your motions on both sides of your face. You can roll along each area as many times as you like. Start at the neck, rolling upwards towards the jawline. Next, starting at the point of your chin, roll outwards following the curve of your jawline.  Bring the roller up a bit, and roll in the same way over the chin and above the curve of the jawline. Then, roll along the cheeks, starting near the nose and going outwards. Roll over the forehead in upward lines, from above the brows up to the hairline. Flip your roller over to use the smaller side above the upper lip, along the sides, and up the bridge of the nose. To roll around the eyes, start below the eye’s inner corner and move outwards in a circular motion following the orbital bone.  How to take care of your face roller As with anything that comes in contact with your skin, you should thoroughly clean your face roller after each use. Since it’s a non-invasive tool, you can simply wash it in warm water with a bit of soap or detergent. Then, towel-dry gently or place it somewhere safe to air-dry.  How often should you use a facial roller?  A massage with a face roller is a safe daily habit that’s incredibly gentle on the skin. Some women swear by using their jade roller twice a day, but once a day or week will also give you satisfying results. Even if you don’t have the time to use it every day, keep it around for the days when you feel like your skin needs that extra cooling, firming touch.  Savoring the ritual  French beauty practices are steeped in history, but we love updating them with new tools. A jade roller’s relaxing touch is the perfect upgrade, boosting your skin care practice and soothing the skin. That daily French ritual of facial massage becomes quicker and easier, and amidst your long, busy days, what more could we want?  

12 French Fashion Statements Parisians Love
April 06, 2021
12 French Fashion Statements Parisians Love

Do you love Parisian style and want to know how to create the perfect French fashion statement?  French women are known for their impeccable, timeless style. Paris street style is effortless, chic, classic, and subtly sexy. The French have mastered the balance between looking dressed up while remaining laid back. Basics are mixed with one statement piece, so nobody ends up looking overdressed. Fashion in France is about clean lines and simplicity.    Want to know the best thing about Parisian style? It values comfort.   We don’t mean heading out the door in sweatpants and sneakers, but French women will never wear something that isn’t comfortable. For example, ballet flats are still chic and look great — comfort and quality are just as important as a piece’s aesthetics.  Don’t you love that? Ditch those heels you can’t walk in and those jeans that are so tight you feel like your circulation is cut off. It’s time to do what the French women do and get comfortable while perfecting the Paris look.    Here are twelve French fashion statements that Parisians love. 1. Sophisticated sunglasses No Paris look is complete without the addition of a sophisticated pair of sunglasses. Parisians favor big, bold style frames over slim ones.  It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining or it’s the middle of winter — sunglasses are a must. They add cool points and help you channel the strut that Paris fashion week is renowned for. When in Paris, always wear sunglasses. Forget about what others may think; after all, French women never worry about such thoughts. 2. Mindful minimalism Nobody knows Parisian style quite like Coco Chanel does. When it comes to any outfit, minimalism is key. Less is always more.  That means build most of your outfit up with simple basics: a plain white t-shirt, a tailored pair of black trousers, a white button-down shirt, a strappy camisole top, a classic trench coat or blazer.  “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” - Coco Chanel If you want to wear a statement piece, then stick to one, like an amazing scarf, handbag, or a pair of shoes. This will help streamline your look and keep it refined and elegant.  When it comes to jewelry, the rule is to keep it simple and don’t wear more than three delicate pieces.  Minimalism is the secret to everyday Paris street style. 3. Casual glam Paris outfits are renowned for being sophisticated with a hint of imperfection. And the secret to this is mixing casual pieces with more glamorous evening pieces.  A pair of jeans can be mixed with a silky, lace camisole top or a pair of jewel-encrusted sandals. A lovely printed dress might be paired with some old biker boots. A pencil skirt paired with ballet flats instead of traditional heels. Fashion in France isn’t about perfection, whether it’s your outfit or your hair and makeup. So when in doubt, mix things up.    4. The I-woke-up-like-this look When it comes to makeup, French women are all about highlighting their natural beauty. A good face cream, some SPF, a touch of brow gel, a coat of mascara, a pinch of blusher, some tinted lip balm, and you’re Paris ready.  Remember to keep things relaxed. Go for simple eyeliner looks. Instead of perfectly straightening your hair, try for a natural wave and add a little texture. Classic colors are preferred over anything “in-your-face.” And opt for dewy, matte textures instead of shiny ones. 5. Hardly-there handbags No Parisian wardrobe is complete without a good quality leather handbag. This can be a quality faux leather too. French women strive to look chic rather than rich, which means avoiding big, recognizable logos. It’s okay to keep it subtle. Work with your budget, and invest in something that is small enough it can be hand-held but not too small that you can’t fit anything in it!   6. Have your cake and eat it: style & comfort French-style clothing prioritizes comfort but doesn’t compromise on style. It’s the best of both worlds.  So, if you can’t walk in heels all day without hurting your feet, leave them at home! Most Parisian women prefer classic loafers and ballet shoes as their footwear of choice, or a low block heel.   Cardigans are another French wardrobe staple, in a neutral color and high-quality fabric like wool, cashmere, or angora. Pair over a basic t-shirt or silk cami — you’ll feel oh-so toasty and comfy.   A plain t-shirt in white or light gray is also a must-have item. Pair with a blazer or some high-rise straight jeans for an effortlessly chic look. Be sure to choose t-shirts made from 100% cotton (organic is best) — it will feel soft against your skin, and the quality will show. 7. The modern vintage look View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sabina Socol (@sabinasocol)   If you don’t yet have a classic tailored blazer, you’ll want to add one to your wardrobe to perfect the Paris look. The great thing about a blazer is it goes with just about everything. Wear it with a basic t-shirt, a pair of jeans or tailored trousers, and even a mini dress. French women prefer an oversized blazer that looks like it came out of a man’s closet. Better yet, raid your partner’s wardrobe and see if there’s one you can borrow!  8. Laidback silhouettes Leave your skinny jeans and body-con dresses at home, ladies. Parisian style is centered on a more relaxed silhouette. Think A-line dresses, straight leg jeans, and oversized outerwear.  If you opt for a tight pencil skirt, then pair it with a loose-fitting top to balance your look out. French women express femininity with masculine-inspired silhouettes and laid back shapes. Nothing should ever be too tight or fitted.   9. Timeless outerwear Always inspired by the philosophy that less is more, Parisians splash their cash wisely. They’ll save up and make investments in key pieces that can be worn over and over again. One of the most important pieces for any Parisian wardrobe is timeless outerwear: trench coats, biker jackets, bombers, and blazers.  If there’s one item you must own, it’s a chic long beige trench coat. And given the unpredictable weather in Paris, you’ll certainly make the most out of it. Before making any purchase, ask yourself if this will be something you wear for the next few years. If the answer is yes, you’re thinking like a Parisian.  10. From day to night: the little black dress The little black dress is a classic piece for any woman’s wardrobe worldwide. But Parisians love wearing that LBD day or night. In the day, they’ll pair it with sneakers or some ballet flats with a loose blazer on top, and at night they swipe on some bold red lipstick and some voluminous mascara for a sexier look.  When it comes to the shape, stick to what is most flattering for your figure and something you feel comfortable in. It can be short or long, and with or without sleeves or straps.  11. Head to toe neutral tones When it comes to color, neutral tones are your friend. Head to toe monochrome looks are part of everyday Paris street style — it’s all about discretion.  Neutral tones include white, black, beige, camel, navy blue, gray, and khaki. The great thing about neutral colors is they can easily be mixed and matched with other pieces in your wardrobe.  As a general rule, no French outfit will have more than three colors.   12. It’s not what you wear; it’s how you wear it There’s a reason why Parisian style is so simple yet chic. It’s less about the actual clothing you wear and much more about how you wear it. French style is all about how you mix and layer pieces together, the way you carry your handbag, your posture, and the way you smile.   So the secret to French beauty isn’t about being a slave to the latest trends, but more about finding your unique style and wearing pieces that flatter your figure.  And the most important thing to remember about making a French fashion statement? Have fun with it!

Learn French Phrases: Morning & Evening Beauty Routines
March 25, 2021
Learn French Phrases: Morning & Evening Beauty Routines

Welcome to the first post in our brand new series: Learn French phrases! Each post in this series will be centered around a different theme, so you can walk away a Parisian pro when it comes to French culture and cosmetics. Don’t worry; this isn’t going to be like the French classes you remember from your school days. Forget the boring phrases — we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about French beauty, from la crème solaire to les lingettes démaquillantes.  Next time you’re looking at a product and notice the label or tag is entirely in French, you won’t be phased. You’ll feel right in your comfort zone! This post is all about learning French phrases relating to morning and evening beauty routines.    Are you ready to learn some fabulous French with us? Learn French Phrases: Morning Skincare Routine What you put on your face first thing in the morning matters. The main focus? Protection and preservation. And while some skincare experts swear by 12-step routines, most of us just don’t have time for that.  The good news? Follow these steps, and you can say hello to a flawless face. La crème solaire: Sunscreen La crème solaire is a must, and no French woman leaves home without it. Try and find a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15, but 30 is best. Make sure you apply it to your face, neck, and décolletage.  Un sérum: A lightweight moisturizer  A serum is a thin moisturizer that helps to smooth out imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores. This will protect your face from bacteria, pollution, and your dirty phone screen.  When it comes to un sérum, a little goes a long way.  L’huile: Oil L’huile helps hydrate your skin, replenish it with vital vitamins and nutrients, and leaves your skin glowing and firm.  Just a couple drops of oil will be more than enough. Une crème hydratante: Moisturizer There are so many moisturizers on the market, so your best bet is to pick one that works with your skin type (sensitive, dry, or combination). Moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated all day long. But remember, it’s not a replacement for drinking water! Une crème mains: Hand cream While we’re pampering our skin, let’s not forget our hands — they age as quickly as your face does.  Regularly applying hand cream throughout the day (after washing your hands) can improve elasticity and lock the moisture in.  We hope you’re enjoying learning French phrases with us! Ready for some more? Learn French Phrases: Nighttime Skincare Routine Your night skincare game is just as important as your daytime one. When you sleep, your skin has a chance to repair and recover from the damage done throughout the day.  So the products you put on your skin before bed matter. This is the optimum time for the ingredients to work their magic because your skin is most receptive at night.   Les lingettes démaquillantes: Makeup remover wipes L’huile démaquillante: Makeup remover Boules de coton: cotton balls Leaving your makeup on when you go to sleep is like committing a crime... against yourself.  No matter how tired or hungover you are, always remove your makeup! Remember to be gentle as you do it, especially around the eye area.  Une mousse nettoyante: Cleansing foam  Using a cleanser is vital for getting rid of dead cells and any residual damaging agents at the end of the day. Like most beauty products, the best cleanser for you will depend on your skin type.  Une lotion / Une crème de corps: Body lotion After you’ve showered, you want to lock in your skin's moisture with a nourishing body lotion. This will help your skin stay hydrated and elastic, and prevent it from becoming dry or flaky.  Une crème de nuit: Night cream Applying a night cream is a must before going to sleep. This is the one thing that will keep your skin barrier healthy, and keep your skin looking radiant.  Tip: use a special eye cream for your delicate eye area, and apply gently.    Une masque de nuit / une masque de sommeil: Night mask Sleep masks are a brilliant invention. You cover your face with the mask before bed, it absorbs into your skin, and the ingredients gradually release through the night.  The best part? All you have to do is pop the mask on, and your work is done. Do this once or twice a week instead of your regular crème de nuit. A night mask can reduce dullness and improve hydration, plus so much more! High five ladies — you are now a pro with French phrases about morning and evening beauty routines.