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Life-Changing Skin Care Tips Inspired by French Beauty

The modern skincare world can seem incredibly complicated, with a ton of different products and so much advice. The French skincare routine is much easier compared to some of the 10-step routines we’ve been seeing online! 

In reality, there are a few different ways to achieve healthy skin, so our goal is to help you with simple yet life-changing advice. When it comes to French beauty, it’s not only about your specific products but also how you use them! 

With these easy skin care tips, you’ll be able to make the most out of your beauty routine. 

French pharmacy brands

Scientist developing cosmetic product in laboratory

In France, most women buy their skincare products at the pharmacy, and French pharmacy brands are an important staple in most French skincare routines. These brands are renowned for formulating gentle products that are suitable for sensitive skin, and for investing a lot of money in clinical research. 

While French pharmacy brands put a large emphasis on science, their products still contain a lot of lovely natural skin care ingredients that have their own nourishing effects on the skin. 

Be consistent

French skincare comes at all kinds of price points, and contrary to popular belief, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. That’s why another one of our most important tips for great skin is to be consistent, no matter what products you decide to use. 

Cultivate skincare as a habit that you do every day, without changing up your products too much from day-to-day. Remove your makeup and moisturize every night, and wear sunscreen every morning. This consistency will pay off in the long term, by keeping your skin at optimal health for years to come.  

Cleansing should be gentle

One of the most important French beauty secrets to healthy skin is gentle cleansing, no matter your skin type. In many countries, those with oily skin resort to scrubbing their face with harsh, stripping cleansers that throw their skin off balance, leading to irritation, breakouts, and more oiliness. 

However, in the best French skincare routines, cleansing is gentle and usually done with creamy milk cleansers. These days, oil cleansers and micellar water are also incredibly popular, but the key is to avoid any harsh, foaming cleansers. 

Moisturize damp skin

Another easy skincare tip that makes a big difference is to apply moisturizer to the skin when it’s damp. This also applies to serums, essences, and any other hydrating skincare steps, although in French beauty, it’s okay to keep things minimal. 

Water makes the skin more permeable, so moisturizing agents sink in more deeply instead of sitting in a layer on top of the skin. The result is bouncy, more hydrated skin that feels soft to the touch but never greasy. 

Don’t neglect the neck and decolletage

Happy woman applying lotion on neck 

The skin doesn’t stop at the face! The French skincare routine extends from the face to the neck and chest, since those areas are all actually quite similar when it comes to skin thickness and level of exposure to the elements. Make sure to use your cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen from the face all the way down to your decolletage. 

It’s particularly important if you rely on your skincare routine to prevent premature signs of aging. If you forget to care for your neck, it’ll be an instant giveaway. 

Nurture your body with oils

The rest of the body also deserves some attention, although it doesn’t necessarily need the same products as the delicate skin on the face and neck.

The skin on the body is a little thicker and it’s usually less prone to acne, which is why French women love to nurture it with body oils rich in beneficial fatty acids and regenerative antioxidants.

Just as with the face, the body is also most ready to accept moisture when it’s damp. The best time to use body oil is immediately after the shower when the skin is totally saturated with water. Using oil immediately after will help to prevent that water from evaporating, which will leave the skin hydrated and soft. 

Skincare can be aromatherapeutic 

Lavender oil and lavender flowers on wooden table 

This skincare tip won’t work for everyone, but for many French women, it’s what makes their beauty routine so fun. France has a centuries-old tradition of perfumery, essential oil production, and aromatherapy, which also touches into the skincare world. 

While the benefits that essential oils have for the skin are debatable, it’s undeniable that they can have a beneficial effect on the mood. Lavender is incredibly calming while rose essential oil can make you more cheerful. 

Using natural skincare with essential oils can have a positive impact on your mental health, and it can also simply make the skincare experience more sensorial and enjoyable! If your skin is sensitive to fragrances, try lighting a scented candle while doing your beauty routine, instead. 

Go all-out with the occasional treatment

While consistency is important, treating yourself to some extra self-care can also be beneficial! In general, it’s not great to surprise the skin with new products, but a few times a week, you should exfoliate or mask your skin and give yourself a longer-than-normal massage. 

While these added treatments aren’t mandatory for healthy skin (it’s what you do every day that really matters), they’re still an easy way to amp up your glow and to feel pampered. 

It’s not all or nothing

Simple picture of makeup removing tools on small wooden tray

Since consistency is so important, we also want to reinforce that skin care is not all or nothing! While a multi-step routine with double cleansing, toning, multiple serums and creams can be nice, you’re also allowed to keep things basic and even to take shortcuts. 

Having a few pre-planned shortcuts, like a bottle of micellar water in a cupboard for easy makeup removal or a bottle of face lotion near your bed can go a long way towards helping you maintain your consistency on nights when you’re too tired to go all-out. 

Simple skin care success 

Skin care is highly individual since each person has a different skin type and slightly different concerns. However, our tips for great skin are universal, because no matter who you are or what your budget is, you deserve to have healthy, well-cared-for skin!

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7 Reasons Your Eyeshadow Isn't Working For You
August 17, 2021
7 Reasons Your Eyeshadow Isn't Working For You

Eyeshadow is one of the most tricky parts of the makeup routine, but it allows you to get the most creative. There are a few common pitfalls beginners often make with their eyeshadow, from having the wrong technique to using the wrong eyeshadow palette.  We’ve collected our best eyeshadow tips to help you solve your eyeshadow woes. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why your eyeshadow looks dull or why it keeps creasing, we've got some suggestions based on our effortless, beginner-friendly approach to makeup.  Here are seven reasons why your eyeshadow may not be working for you.  1. Trying to do too much   Complex eyeshadow can be beautiful to look at, but it takes a long time to create, especially if you’re new to makeup. In French beauty, the goal is maximum impact with minimal effort. This means that we like to use our eyeshadows sparingly to bring out what we already have.  There’s nothing wrong with getting creative and using unusual colors, but most days, it’s better to do a “quick look” with just a couple of eyeshadows — a lighter tone on the lid and a slightly deeper tone on the crease to make the eyes pop.   2. Lack of eyeshadow primer  If your eyeshadow fades away quickly, settles into creases, or looks dull, chances are you’re forgetting to use primer. Powder eyeshadows don’t like to stick to bare skin — they need a bit of help to look vibrant and to stay in place.  When doing your eye makeup, make sure to start with a thin layer of eyeshadow primer, and when you apply your eyeshadow on top, it’ll look brighter and last a lot longer.  If you don’t have an eyeshadow primer on hand, you can use a concealer or cream eyeshadow instead. Your eyeshadow may still crease a little more quickly than with a primer, especially if your lids are oily, but it will look much better than if you go without.   3. Poor eyeshadow shape  Eye makeup rarely looks great when you layer it on without an action plan, so before starting to put on your eyeshadow, it’s imperative to consider eyeshadow shapes. By keeping your eye and lid shape in mind, you can guarantee that you’ll apply your shadow in a shape that flatters.  Shapes to try out First, consider the basics: darker eyeshadow acts like contour, pushing features back and making them look more hollow, while lighter shadows bring features forward to make them seem larger and more prominent.  To open up the eye, opt for a classic look with a brighter lid and a darker shade in the outer corner and crease.  Keeping the lid darker will give you a smoky look that’s a little sultrier and also helps de-emphasize a prominent lid.  The angle of your shadow in the outer corner will also have an impact. You can angle it up more to give the eyes an upturned look or keep it rounded for a softer look.  4. Using the wrong colors  From trying to wear blue eyeshadow with blue eyes to attempting to make yellow-gold shadow work against your cool skin tone… it’s very possible that your eyeshadow isn’t looking good because you’re wearing shades that don’t flatter your natural coloring.  Here are some tips to help you choose the best shades of eyeshadow for different eye colors and skin undertones:   For pinkish, cool-toned skin, avoid very warm yellow or green-based shades, and instead opt for neutral, red-based, or cool tones.   If your skin is warm with a yellow undertone, skip the blue and indigo shades, and try to stick to warmer shades, instead.  For blue eyes, orange-based shades like peach, copper, and rose gold are going to have the most impact.  If your eyes are green, mauves, bronzes, and red-based browns will bring out your green tones most dramatically.  If your eyes are brown, you’re in luck! Your eyes are a neutral color, so you can combine them with just about anything.  Finally, no matter your eye color or skin tone, remember that everyone looks good in neutrals. Browns, smokes, and beige shades (and their metallic versions like gunmetal and champagne) can be used to add depth to the eye without necessarily adding color.  5. You’re “brushing” your eyeshadow on  Another reason why your eyeshadow looks dull or muddy might be that your application technique is a little off. Even though they’re called brushes, you’re not actually supposed to brush eyeshadow on to the eyes.  When you try to apply your eyeshadow with a wiping or blending motion, you end up smudging it as you apply it, which reduces color pay-off and looks messy. Instead, you should always press the eyeshadow on at first, using the side of a flat brush. This way, you can deposit a maximum amount of vibrant eyeshadow directly on your lid!  7. Not blending correctly If your eyeshadow looks too harsh or blunt, chances are you’re not blending it enough. After you’ve deposited your eyeshadow, you should always transition to a fluffy brush for blending. Use it only to blend the areas where you want the eyeshadow to look smokier and less intense, and make sure to take your time with it until everything looks soft and seamless.   If you want to combine a few different eyeshadow colors, it can help to first dip your blending brush into a transition shade that's somewhere in between the main colors you’re using. That middle shade will help the shadows blend easily, without looking muddy.  Finishing touches  There are no rules in makeup, only guidelines! Please take our best eyeshadow tips as intended, to make your life easier and help you problem-solve. Our suggestions will help you get the most out of your eyeshadow palettes, but what you create is totally up to you. 

Dispelling French Beauty Myths
August 05, 2021
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.

Take a Break From Foundation
July 15, 2021
Take a Break From Foundation

We all have that one girlfriend who never wears foundation, and is blessed with immaculate, glowing skin. But we’re not all that lucky, right? Foundation is a key makeup must-have in most women’s toolkit.  Why? Because it creates a seamless base to then apply the rest of our makeup. Not to mention it covers a multitude of problem areas including spots and acne, uneven skin tone and hyper-pigmentation.  But what if we told you that the less cover-up you wear, the less you’ll need to cover up? It’s like a vicious cycle. If you keep on wearing foundation, you’ll need to keep wearing it... until you finally wean yourself off of it. And yes, flawless skin really is possible without foundation. But it’s easy to talk about ditching foundation for good, and a whole other ball game actually going through with it.  Whether you want to give foundation up for good, or just take a short break from it, there are some great alternatives to achieving the look you want without caking your face in makeup. So, if you’re ready to embrace that natural French beauty look and channel the less is more mentality, keep reading.   What are the benefits of no foundation makeup? Have you noticed your makeup looking fab in the morning, but by lunchtime it starts to look a little patchy, and by the afternoon it’s looking seriously greasy?  We’ve all been there.  This is because most foundations are high in pore-clogging ingredients like mineral oil or silicones. This is what gives them that great texture. But it’s not good news for your skin, unless congested pores, inflammation, and breakouts are what you’re looking for... We don’t think so! So, by using less foundation (or removing it from your makeup routine altogether) you’ll gift your skin a much-needed break. Even if you only do this once or twice a week, or every other day.  There’s no guarantee that your skin will look amazing all the time (there are so many other factors involved) but it will definitely help it look fresh and healthier. So, here are some alternatives to help you achieve flawless skin without so much makeup.  Up your skincare game Chances are, you wear foundation because it makes you feel more confident in your appearance, right? It covers your perceived imperfections. It’s probably not because you enjoy that oily/cakey texture that stops your skin from breathing and stains all your beautiful white clothes! So, if you didn’t have those “imperfections,” and had gorgeous glowing skin like a runway model, would you bother wearing foundation? Probably not. Well, a lot of your skincare qualms can usually be solved by upping your skincare game. Most women aren’t using the right products, or aren’t using them consistently to see an improvement. That means committing to removing your makeup each night, cleansing and moisturizing, which will let your skin breathe. And in the morning, cleansing, moisturizing, maybe applying some face oil, and definitely some SPF. Plus, exfoliating once or twice a week.  Doing this religiously every day or night should energize your skin, help it renew itself, and glow with or without makeup. What if I have uneven skin tone or hyper-pigmentation? Great point. Many women with darker skin suffer from hyper-pigmentation, and the struggle is real. Foundation is a miracle base to even things out. So, is there an alternative? Yes! There are many brightening and illuminating products out there specifically designed to target uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation, and even scarring. Plus, there are concealer-like products to target specific problem areas. Different tones of blemishes each have a corresponding product designed to target them. Take a look at what’s on the market right now. We guarantee there is a product designed specifically for your skin and area of concern.  The great thing about many of these brightening and illuminating products is they’re rich in vitamins and minerals which are brilliant for repairing cells and creating a protective barrier for your skin.   No base makeup is looking pretty achievable right now, isn’t it?  Use a tinted moisturizer instead We adore the natural look and would love nothing more than to see every woman covering up less and embracing their natural beauty more.  That being said, we understand it’s challenging and a little scary—especially at first!So, if the thought of replacing foundation with skincare is daunting, don’t worry. Take it in baby steps.  How about trying a tinted moisturizer like a BB cream instead? These are little tubes of magic, and particularly great for adding light coverage that won’t melt off your face on those warmer days. Not only will it smooth your skin tone and cover imperfections, but it will also help your skin breathe. Add a tiny bit of bronzer or highlighter on your cheekbones for some extra glow, and you’ll forget all about that thing called foundation.  Try a sheer concealer-powder Concealer makes a great substitute for foundation, and you’d be surprised how little of it you need. After you’ve completed your skincare routine, just dab a bit of concealer under your eyes and over any other small blemishes. A creamier texture is easier to blend than a powdered one, especially on this area of the face.  Next, apply a thin layer of concealer powder to even everything out.  You’re still wearing makeup, but a much lighter base. That means way less time in front of the mirror for you, plus healthier and happier skin. A winning combo! Embrace the natural look! It’s no secret that French women are all about minimal makeup. They manage to look both chic and effortless.  Their secret? Minimal foundation, if any.  Yes! French women steer clear of that cakey look opting for a little swoosh of concealer or powder, then bronzer or highlighter to contour with. Natural skin paired with a swipe of sexy eyeliner is très chic, don’t you think?  Don’t feel pressured to throw out your foundation right away. How about trying one of the suggestions above for just one day, and see how you look and feel? If you like it, try it for a few more days, and go from there.   If you’re extra self-conscious, try this out on the weekends or holidays when you know you won’t be running into too many people. Give yourself the time and space to adjust and feel comfortable in your skin again.