Channeling Your Inner Brigitte Bardot: The Beauty Secrets of French Women
I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, but I am a francophile. I collect anything with an Eiffel Tower on it, have bookshelves filled with French books - both language and fiction - and read and sing to my daughter every day in an effort to finely tune her ear to the sounds of the French language. I'm a former high school French teacher, and I've spent years studying French culture, traditions, history, and people.
I know, I know, everyone has something to say about the French. Say what you will about them, but don't deny that there is something to be said about French women. They always have this mysterious air, this privacy, this je ne sais quoi about them. They are beautiful in the most peculiar ways - a sort of confident inner beauty that is solid and cannot be shaken. The French woman is not always a traditional beauty, but nevertheless we cannot take our eyes off of her, even the way she moves is riviting.
French women are not so different from American women - the secret lies in the presentation. So what tips can we take from our French counterparts - how can we channel our inner Bridgitte Bardot?
1. Skincare. For the French woman, skincare is a ritual that cannot be rushed. Her morning routine includes a shower and time to exfoliate her skin before covering every inch of her body with luxurious, perfumed creams and products. Her skin is soft to the touch, glowing, and healthy. She does not carry on this ritual for the man in her life, but rather for herself. There you have the first difference - she takes care of herself always and for her own benefit, and never for someone else. The French woman is selfish, but in the best of ways.
2. Lingerie. American women, especially women in the workplace, are taught to downplay their sexuality. We are told that men can't handle it, it's not appropriate, etc. In France, things are very different. A comment that would cause a scandal (or at least result in a lawsuit) in an American office would be brushed off with a giggle and toss of the hair in France. The French woman knows that it is ok to be sexy, and embraces (and dare I say uses) it daily. That is why, when we talk about lingerie, the American woman sees it as a "special occasion" purchase, whereas the French woman wears it everyday. Matching bras and panties, lace camisoles, the works. Her rule is to purchase 3 pairs of matching panties to every one bra, to make sure that she can always coordinate. She does not wear this lingerie in case she has a romantic encounter that day, but she wears it to feel sexy and comfortable in her (newly exfoliated) skin.
3. Simplicity. The French woman does not overdo it. If she has great lips and wants to wear red lipstick, she will downplay her eyes with a simple coat of mascara. If she is wearing an incredible, bold necklace, she will skip the earrings and the bracelet altogether. If she is wearing a red skirt, she will pair it with a black top, black tights, black shoes, a neat ponytail, and minimal makeup. How ironic that when we think of a French hairstyle, we think of the overdone french twist or chignon, because almost every French woman wears her hair loose and flowing, not tightly pulled and perfect. The slightly tousled, just-out-of-bed look is sexy (see number 2) and much-appreciated.
There you have my top 3 tips for channeling your inner Bridgitte and feeling tres sexy in your skin. I could go on and on about this for ages, on how to choose the best French beauty products, how to eat what you want but keep your svelte figure, and how to invest in a wardrobe that will carry you through the decades, but I'll save that for another day. So, your prescription? Try all three and call me in the morning. I promise, you'll feel great.