18/04/2016 12:31 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Skin Lessons From One Of France's Top Facialists

Francois Mori/AP
French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, left, and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld pose front of a Parisian department store unveiling its festive decorations in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

All you have to do it take a look at a few book titles to realise that there's something about French women that intrigues the rest of the world.

With titles such as 'French Women Don't' Get Fat', 'What French Women Know About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind' and 'Parisian Chic: A Style Guide', it's safe to assume they're onto something when it comes to living life in their own relaxed, confident way.

This approach extends to skincare, too. While many women the world over are searching for a miracle anti-ageing products, the French are more laid back when it comes to growing older.

"In France, natural beauty and elegance is admired and revered -- the date on your birth certificate bears no relevance," French facialist Christine Clais told The Huffingon Post Australia.

In her new book French Complexion, Clais shares the secrets of her countrywomen in regards to dealing with skin problems and explains how they grasp the importance of skincare rituals and healing skin through a friendly lifestyle.

"What matters most to my compatriots is being well groomed, natural and at ease with yourself. For this reason French women don’t like to look artificial and avoid heavy make-up. Rather than hiding or camouflaging their skin, they much prefer to highlight their best features," Clais said.

"This more natural look is achieved with the help of some staple items -- a tinted moisturiser or lightweight foundation, a touch of blush, mascara, lipstick or lip-gloss and voilà! But of course, this can only be successfully executed over well-maintained skin. This is why French women take skincare very seriously and never compromise their daily skincare regime."

Clais believes that the difference is that French women view their skin care routine as an enjoyable ritual, not a task. They also have a different approach to exfoliation than other markets in the world.

"A current popular skincare trend is to over-exfoliate the skin which in my opinion is damaging to our complexion. Overuse of harsh products can lead to a weakening of the barrier function of your skin, which in turn causes dehydration, skin irritation and eventual skin damage and premature ageing. The French approach is a more nurturing one that puts a greater emphasis on hydrating and nourishing the skin," Clais said.

Asked about her skincare essentials, Clais emphasised that it's not about a lot of steps in a routine, but a routine that's realistic.

"There’s a common misconception that to attain glowing skin you must invest a lot of time and follow an endless skincare ritual. Untrue! What matters the most is consistency. This means sticking to a daily routine that’s as simple as the following three-step regime,"


Step 1: Cleanse face, neck and décolletage (60 seconds max).

Step 2: Apply eye gel/cream to the eye contour area (30 seconds max).

Step 3: Apply face cream/sunscreen to face, neck and décolletage (90 seconds max).


Step 1: Cleanse face, neck and décolletage (90 seconds max).

Step 2: Apply eye gel/cream to the eye contour area (30 seconds max).

Step 3: Apply face cream to face, neck and décolletage (60 seconds max).

Not only is the French approach the opposite to current trends in both skincare and makeup we're seeing right now (hello, two hour and 20 product makeup application), it's refreshingly good news for our wallets, too. Clais' other skin secret is to practise safe sun.

"I stay out of the sun as much as possible and wear sunscreen to prevent skin damage and ageing caused by exposure to UV radiation. Also, like most French people, I don’t like to deprive myself but I make life balance my top priority. Un petit peu de tout as we say in French (which translates to everything in moderation)," Clais said.

French Compexion by Christine Clais is available now.