5 French Beauty Tips to Follow Now

Marion Cotillard - H 2015
AP Images

Marion Cotillard - H 2015

Do what France-born beauty expert and Caudalie co-founder Mathilde Thomas says and you'll be this much closer to Parisian status.

Not only are French women known for being ridiculously effortless and chic when it comes to fashion, they’re also famed for their natural beauty and enviously decadent but healthy lifestyle. Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of beauty brand Caudalie (along with her husband, Bertrand), knows this firsthand. She grew up in France’s Bordeaux region, keeping beehives with her sister and rubbing the honey on their cheeks for a rosy complexion.

The beauty expert, whose luxe, natural line harnesses antioxidant-packed polyphenols from grape seeds grown in the famous French wine country, she says she was 11 years old when she first realized the American approach to beauty was different from her own, thanks to attending summer camp near Fresno, Calif. There she saw girls who’d packed tons of makeup and hair products, while she had brought only Terracotta bronzer and SPF moisturizer.

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Even now, she sees a difference in the way French women care for their skin. “I think Marion Cotillard is very beautiful,” says Thomas. “I’ve seen her in Bordeaux—she loves my spa, and she has flawless skin. I love the fact she only puts organic, natural product on her face and is committed to sustaining green environmental organizations.”

In celebration of the upcoming 20th anniversary of Caudalie this summer, and her forthcoming book, The French Beauty Solution (releasing on Bastille Day, in July, from Penguin), we asked Thomas to share her top five French beauty tips for American women. 

Caudalie  co-founder Mathilde Thomas

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1. Always remove your makeup

"Don’t go to bed with your makeup on, and also, clean your skin every morning. It’s step number one, not to be forgotten."

2. Don’t go out without a powerful antioxidant moisturizer

"And, if you live in a sunny region or California, it has to have an SPF. Caudalie Vinoperfect Fluid SPF 20 is really good—it’s oil-free, light and has a beautiful finish. It’s great if you want to put makeup on top of it. It’s my favorite."

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3. Keep makeup simple 

"A little bit of mascara, a pink rose on your cheeks, a little bit of pink on your mouth and some tinted moisturizer. Bronzer is big in France—that’s part of the no-makeup makeup look. Always bronzer. You have to look California at all times, even in France! Terracotta was my go-to but then I created the Caudalie Mineral Bronzing Powder, which I love."

4. Exercise

"That’s very important for your body and your face. French women run and bike. I bike in New York City; I go to work with my bike. It’s very important."

5. Have a glass of red wine with dinner

“Because it’s loaded with reservatrol, which strengthens the blood vessels and lowers cardiovascular disease. It’s good for you and your body and skin. It’s the French paradox.”