Enjoy Washing Your Face and More French Beauty Secrets

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There’s still plenty of summer left for a beach read or two, and why not a old fashioned self-help book à la française?

You’ve read their take on everything from parenting to eating oysters, but get out your shades (and don’t forget the sunscreen!) a new book about skin care is here and it’s written by a top French beauty expert just for American women.

Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of the wildly popular French beauty brand Caudalie, is leaving New York to develop her business in Asia. The French Beauty Solution is her parting gift to us well-meaning but beauty-inept American women.

“It’s really a nod to these five years I’ve spent in New York,” explains Thomas to French Morning’s Isabelle Delorme,”I wanted to end my trip with this.”

Too much makeup
It all starts with an observation: American women approach makeup looking for big results right away while French women go for more of a health-oriented approach. Thomas explained to French Morning that she first realized this while at American summer camp at the tender age of eleven.

“My American roommates showed up with 12 bottles of nail polish each and tons of makeup,” Thomas told Delorme, “I’d never seen that before. We just showed up with sunscreen and Roche Posay* and a little terra cotta pot of Guerlain bronzer for a little color. That’s all!”

Bronzer at 11? Seriously, where does this woman come from?

France, of course! And since she came to live in the US in 2010, Thomas has spent time studying some 5,000 US women as part of her business strategy. Her conclusion? Our beauty routines are often too complicated, sometimes unpleasant and, at worst, unhealthy.

Thomas observes that Americans demand shiny hair and flawless makeup as if they were always about to have their picture taken. If problem #1 is that we slather on too much makeup, problem #2 is that in our frenzy to cover our skin we miss out on taking care of it.

American women “don’t understand skin care,” Thomas says. “They don’t take off their makeup before bed, and they don’t understand they need a serum, and that they have to clean off their makeup before applying it.”

Tragically, we Americans are missing out on a whole other aspect of the beauty routine — a very French aspect — the pleasure in caring for our skin. It’s something Thomas  says French women have passed down from mother to daughter for generations.

It’s all about pleasure

Don’t worry: Mathilde Thomas is here to be the French mother you never had. In her new book, she’s offering you her French beauty secrets, the same ones that have been a part of her routine since she was a little girl and that she’s developed through her work. You’ll read about correct way to care for our skin and hair, how to do a three-day grape cleanse, or how to make your own masks with natural products.

And what kind of a French self-help book would this be without a reminder that you aren’t having enough sex? Yes, sex is very important, Thomas reminds us, along with eating well and relaxing. One thing Americans are sure to get on board with: the highly coveted grandmother’s wisdom of one glass of wine per day. Santé!

*Roche Posay – this is a brand of French skin care product that is like Oil of Olay in price but it’s French so it is actually good for you.

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