At this point, we’ve all been told to eat like the French, dress like the French, love like the French, etc., etc., ad nauseam. And while it most definitely can’t be disputed that the French do indeed have us Patriots beat in the above areas (though maybe not quite as much if you ever happen to be in Paris during a cabbie strike), all of the preaching — especially in the literary sense — is starting to feel a bit stale.
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Which is why we were a bit skeptical to read the latest book to the game, The French Beauty Solution by Caudalie beauty founder Mathilde Thomas, who has built a global beauty product and spa empire based on the grapes growing on her family’s Bordeaux-adjacent vineyard. Reese Witherspoon and Helena Christensen are fans. And, in full disclosure, we are obsessed with Thomas’ line of grape-infused beauty products (two spritzes of the brand’s pungent beauty elixir is almost as effective as our daily iced Americano in lifting our morning fog). We also are newfound devotees of Caudalie’s airy boutique spa on Abbot Kinney in Venice, Calif., where Nina the aesthetician tortures our pores until they beg for mercy and behave. So, picking up Thomas’ new tome — which launched by way of an adorable Bastille Day party at celeb-favored L.A. salon Striiike (which brought out the likes of actresses Alison Brie and Minka Kelly) — felt tres naturel.
Just what could this particular France-born expert teach us about how to live a slimmer/chicer/less-American life?
As it turns out, plenty.
For starters, the book’s major theme is how to achieve healthy skin —from both the inside and out — and how to develop a solid, healthy attitude toward aging and taking care of your face. Some of these methods are common sense for both French and American women alike — more sleep, more sunscreen, more spa days, less stress. But the book also focuses on the importance of developing a solid skin care routine from an early age, and then goes into the mechanics of what that means. Thomas talks about the benefits of giving yourself a lymphatic drainage massage while washing your face (something we plan on trying at home) and how to recognize if your skin is dehydrated (and how to fix it); she also lists her favorite high-quality, plant-based oils and why they are good for even acne-prone skin. Thomas also breaks down the types of moisturizers needed for various age groups (we’re in the antiwrinkle bracket, sigh) and goes through her own skin care routine (which includes cleanser, toner, serum, exfoliator and eye cream) and her makeup bag (far fewer products than in her skin care routine — another principle pounded into the reader’s brain: Less is more when it comes to covering up “flaws”).
Sure, the book also contains information on how to achieve the perfect nonchalant French hairstyle, why your lover should love your body and the reasons why small amounts of very high quality chocolate are always a good idea. But the heart and soul of Thomas’ Euro-style advice truly is applicable to women the world over: Act like an adult when it comes to your skin care routine, whether you use Caudalie products or not.
And while we do often daydream of parquet-floored apartments in the 17the arr. and endless platters of fromage, anything that assists in getting us out of our decidedly lazy American skin care routine and into something far more sophisticated – French or otherwise — is well worth the read.