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Anastasia Masha

skin care routine

written by Tonya Nova

What is it about French women? Is it the casual sweep of red lipstick, chic style or maybe oh-so-effortlessly coiffed Brigitte Bardot hair? 

Perhaps it is as simple as having the flawless skin. Skincare comes very naturally to French girls and women - it’s a part of their culture. After all, the French basically invented the facial.

Well,  the 'French skincare routine' is not as complicated as it may sound, but no matter how long it takes or how many products are needed every French woman knows - it is a necessary part of self-care. 

With that said, here are some skin care tips I’ve learned from my summer trip to Cannes.

Step 1:

Much like you’d expect, the first product almost every French woman lists as a must-have in her routine is micellar water formulated with mineralising thermal essence, like Eau Thermale Avène.

Even those with the most sensitive skin should find Avène's ultra-gentle micellar formula convenient (side note: it does include thermal water from Avène's own spring).

The other product worth mentioning is Espa purifying micellar cleanser. Definitely one of  the most luxurious option on our list, and you get so much back for that investment.

The formula is infused with all kinds of skincare goodies like hyaluronic acid, soothing rosewater and with hazel to clarify. It feels beautiful, silkier than most micellar waters, with a gorgeous spa-like fragrance thanks to natural floral extracts. Even the packaging is a cut above; a lovely matte bottle you'd be proud to display in your bathroom, with lockable pump-action that makes for easy cotton pad dispensing and zero risk of leaks when you travel.

pictured above, left to right: 

Avene Thermal Spring Water

Espa Purifying Micellar Cleanser

Vichy Mineralising Thermal Water

La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water

Step 2: 

Exfoliate! A gentle exfoliator delicately buffs away dull, dead skin cells, leaving your health summer tan and balances the healthy glow.  

French women use the exfoliation products with either AHA or BHA. Here is a quick, easy to understand explanation for the mortals:

- If you have normal or dry skin you should use AHA

AHAs work on skin’s surface, and are water soluble. They’re generally preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin, due to their ability to enhance natural moisturising factors within skin. They’ve also been proven effective in reducing the visible signs of sun damage.

- If you are under 25 years old or if you have Oily/blemish skin you should use BHA 

BHA works on skin’s surface and inside the pore; it’s oil soluble, so it’s most often preferred for normal to oily skin prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes, and enlarged pores. BHA also has natural skin-calming properties, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin prone to redness and/or rosacea. This well-rounded, gentle ingredient is even suitable for skin prone to milia.


French women prefer to combine BHA and AHA ,but not at the same time ! They use one in the morning and the other at night, after toning. Or alternate days: apply an AHA once or twice daily on Monday, a BHA once or twice daily on Tuesday, and so on.

Don’t forget your neck and chest! AHA and BHA exfoliants can exert their skin-renewing, texture-improving benefits there, too! One Parisian told me “your face starts at the chest and ends at forehead so , taking care of half of your face seems to be useless .”

pictured above, from left to right:

Biotherm Purefect Skin Cleansing Gel  

Nuxe Facial Cleansing Gel

Bioderma Cleansing Gel for sensitive skin

Caudalie Cleansing Oil

*For a dessert : 


Embriolisse lait cremé concentré

The OG cult-favorite French skincare product, which is a beauty editor favorite, model must-have, and staple in every makeup artists' kit. It really does live up to its reputation as the perfect not too light or not too heavy mildly scented cream that works well on all skin types and goes well under makeup. Frankly, there’s nothing spectacular about it, but it’s a solid moisturizer to keep in your beauty arsenal for everyday use anytime of the year. 

All in all, the most important factor about French women is self acceptance and confidence. No matter what product you use, as long as it makes you feel “forte et tendre” . 


is currently residing in London and is looking forward to studying PR and marketing. Get a feel of her daily inspirations on Tumblr or follow her on Instagram here.

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