American media is obsessed with the anti-aging secrets of french women. From the New York Times, Vogue, Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen, we are all trying to crack the French woman aging code. Most of us would agree that French women have a certain je ne sais quoi allure that’s very enviable. Their sense of style, minimal makeup, tousled hair and sleek silhouettes all seem effortless. Have you ever actually seen a French woman huffing and puffing away on a treadmill? Neither have I. But they somehow have conquered one thing: looking ageless.
I wrote a skincare feature What The French Know About Skincare That American’s Don’t for You Beauty last year. I talked to five French women about their french anti-aging philosophies and skincare regimens. There always seems to be one common theme: the commitment to skincare, even at a very young age. Even though my sources didn’t know one another, it seemed as if I was talking to five sisters who grew up in the same household raised by the same mother. Why? because the first thing they all said was that they were taught at a very young age to care for the skin. It’s in their culture. At very early ages, they were educated on the importance of washing their face every night using a nourishing cleanser instead of harsh soap. Their mothers took them to the pharmacie to pick out the right type of moisturizer for their skin type. They were told that if you eat well and get a lot of exercise, your skin will stay in shape and retain a natural glow for years to come.
This advice is perhaps obvious now if you’re in your 30s’s or older (go read the full article to find out how these Frenchies care for their skin today), but there’s one main reason why I want to highlight their early adoption of good skincare habits: let’s start to pay it forward here in America. Take the time to educate a teenager in your life about the importance of good skincare and you’ll give them a priceless advantage in aging. Explain that while there’s an arsenal of treatments today to remedy skin sins of the past, that doesn’t mean that it’s OK to be careless—or reckless with sun exposure—when you’re young, just because you can fix it later. Make it exciting and take your daughter shopping for the right products so she’ll be set up for success. She may not thank you for it today, but she will when she looks in the mirror 20 years from now and still has that je ne sais quoi glow.
Image via French Vogue. Two sets of Courtin-Clarins sisters: Virginie and Claire, and their cousins, Prisca and Jenna. Photographed by Norman Jean Roy.