How Loyalty is a Chic French Woman's Beauty Secret A French woman might change her dress color daily to try out a new fashion, but she is very faithful to her hairdresser and to her skincare specialist. Unlike Americans, who seem to want to try something new every month, the French woman finds what works for her and is loyal because she knows it's the best way to ensure consistently good skin.
Giving beauty an early start She first goes to the aesthetician with her mother, at age 15-when puberty and the first pimples have struck. The aesthetician determines what is best for the girl, and sets a routine for her to follow-which she does loyally from then on through adulthood. She realizes that the aesthetician knows what is best, and relies on her skillful work, knowledge, and experience to suggest the best skin care routine for her. Jeanne tells me that French women go to their skin care salons monthly-it is simply "comme il faut." I found this very interesting, in light of the bouncing around we Americans do-we'll switch skincare lines just because we like the packaging or the new spokeswoman!
Delicious (and slimming) traditions Other beauty routines for the French woman include watching her weight with simple meals, much smaller portions (here Jeanne chuckled and said, "We must face it-it's true. American portions are much larger!"), and only the freshest foods.
Typical Frenchwoman's Everyday Meals Breakfast: Coffee or tea with a croissant-never, says Madame Jeanne, never cereal, as we often eat in America. (Of course, Anne Barone echoes this in her books, but it's nice to hear a true, "old school" French beauty specialist say the same.)
Lunch is very simple: A green salad with tomato, simply prepared fish and a glass of wine. Jeanne notes that in France, workers usually would go home for lunch, their freshly baked baguette of bread tucked under their arms. The stores and businesses were closed from noon until 2pm, while the workers cooked a fresh meal for themselves and family. She also related the story that when she opened her first salon, she stayed open during the lunch hour, so that workers could have a treatment during their lunchtime-to the "grand surprise" of everyone. (In fact, some of her clients were so concerned that she wasn't getting time for a good lunch that they brought her food!) Hers was the only shop that was open-her husband was not very pleased, she said with a chuckle. Traditions like this made her want to come to America and run her salon here!
Dinner might be some homemade soup, vegetable, pasta or rice and a glass of red wine. White wine is reserved for eating with fish, says Jeanne. She tells me that meals are much more formal in France than here in the US. That if a French hostess is giving a party, she takes great pains to set a pretty table...she uses a tablecloth, fine porcelain plates and crystal at each setting; smaller ones for red wine, larger ones for white wine. None of the guests will sit until the hostess sits down, and they are sitting just where she directs them to. The meal doesn't start until the hostess says: "Bon Appetit".. that is the signal to begin.