Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About French Beauty

Clémence von Mueffling came into my life when I found her book Ageless Beauty The French Way: Secrets From Three Generations of French Beauty Editors on Amazon.

Just from the title I immediately knew it was something I had to research deeply for The Skinny Confidential. French beauty is something I’m so into. My friend Ingrid has taught me so much about French beauty so it was fun to continue the conversation with Clémence.

Clémence is not only a beauty journalist ( working for the magazine Casas & Gente ), but she is also a mom of twins, a wife, & runs Beauty & Well-Being. Another fun fact is that her mother & grandmother were both beauty editors at French Vogue.

She is a certified expert in facial massage which is one of my favorite topics on the planet ( so much so that we’re doing an Instagram Live on June 3 at 1:30 pm PST ). She is a true boss in the industry & someone I look to as a resource. She’s changed my opinion on so many things like fillers, Botox and too much makeup.

I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Clémence to The Skinny Confidential.

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Please introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential community. Tell us your story- we want all the details.

Clémence von Mueffling: I was born and raised in Paris! Both my mother and grandmother worked as the beauty editors of French Vogue. While my grandmother was their editor, she was also a model for Irving Penn, and I still see these photos in Fashion books or Fashion exhibits very often!

Model (Régine) wearing black wool corselet dress by Dior with moulded over-bodice like a strapless top, over a modified trumpet skirt with mink hat, pearl strands, pearl earrings, and a white kerchief *** Local Caption *** Régine;

Growing up under the guidance of such beautiful and hardworking women deeply inspired me. They are the perfect example of French women who do not look for perfection but simply try to become the best possible version of themselves, inside and out, at any age.

Today, I’ve developed my own philosophies of beauty as a French woman and a New Yorker. As the founder and beauty editor of the online magazine Beauty and Well-Being, I have built my platform on the idea that beauty is an attitude and a way of taking care of yourself. On Beauty and Well-Being, I carefully curate a holistic space that features effective beauty products, innovative wellness solutions, interviews with renowned experts, and tips on nutrition and exercise.

In 2018, I also launched my book, Ageless Beauty the French Way. This book is the ultimate guide to French beauty secrets, products, and practices from three generations of French beauty editors. For me, it is a collection of all the things I have learned from the matriarchs in my family since I was a young girl.

Why do you think French beauty is so different from American beauty?

CVM: In America, I see more of a quest of perfection; in contrast, French women embrace the aging process and seek primarily to enhance their best features. French women just don’t seek absolute perfection. Everyone has something they are proud of, and we all should be happy to work with what we have!

The goal is not to look younger but to look good for your age– and in turn, to age gracefully.

In fact, most French women learn at a very young age to make the most of what they are born with. They do not want to look like someone else, but rather to become the best version of themselves.

What are some up & coming beauty trends you’re seeing in France?

CVM: These days, I see the return of facial massage! They seem to be trending again— and not just the ‘Pincement Jacquet’ traditional method that I detail in my own book, but also the Kobido Method. Many people underestimate the healing power of massage, especially on the face. Massaging isn’t just for the body! Regular massaging miraculously improves the quality of your face. It tones the skin, improves circulation, activates the production of collagen and minimizes lines. And best of all, it’s free!

What are some old-age beauty tips & tricks that French women used to do that you think people should focus on?

CVM: 1. Don’t over scrub or exfoliate too much. It unfortunately makes your skin worse in the long run. Why would you burn, dry, and peel rather than nourish and maintain healthy skin? You only have one face, and you should treat it delicately with great care. Think of treating the skin on your face as you would handle your favorite silk blouse; treat it delicately like a precious, sensitive object.

2. I have a tried and true French beauty ritual I teach in the book that will guarantee your skin to glow like it never has before: double cleanse your face. This ritual doesn’t have to be a chore. Think of it as a relaxing nightly treat for yourself, especially if you find products with a fragrance you love. Scent makes all the difference for me!

If someone doesn’t want to get Botox, but wants their skin fresh & wrinkle free, what do you recommend?

CVM: As I mentioned earlier, the results of a simple face massage are incredible. You will be amazed how much you can improve the quality of your face by massaging it yourself regularly. A facial massage is truly like a mini at-home face lift. It will tone the skin, improve circulation and minimize lines. This isn’t a chore, either — you can do it for five to ten minutes while you are watching television before bed!

Alternatively, I really love a good microcurrent facial. In my opinion, this is the best and most effective non-invasive treatment to tone and tighten the skin. It is like taking your face to the gym! In New York, I go to Renew Spa on 73rd St. for a microcurrent facial from Carmel!

What is your personal skin care routine?

CVM: In the morning, I simply use a toner to remove any excess of sebum from the night. Then, I use a spritz of a thermal water spray, such as Avène. After that, I use an eye contour and a moisturizer. Sometimes I use a serum before. I like Valmont products but also Filorga and Clarins. When I feel very pale, I like to use a self-tanner from Comodynes that is easy to apply.

At night, I like to double cleanse! Some of my favorite cleansers are Caudalie cleansing oil and milk, Tata Harper Cleansing oil and Filorga toner. I love a little device like the Mini Luna by Foreo to help remove my makeup. Sometimes, I like to massage my face with Jonctum or a nice face oil such as Alexandra Soveral or LOLI Beauty’s Plum Elixir.

Hyperpigmentation will be the death of me! What do French women do about hyperpigmentation?

CVM: You are not the only one! Every time I am invited to speak at a conference or a book signing, I meet many women in the audience with a similar top priority: reducing the appearance of sunspots. Same for me 🙂

First and foremost — prevention! When you subject your skin to more harsh treatments, it becomes more fragile and prone to sunspots. Avoid harsh treatments such as strong peelings, dermabrasion, and fraxel!

We also need sun protection at all ages—and our skin doesn’t become more resistant or adapted to sun exposure over time. It just gets damaged. That is, of course, what a tan is: the visible result of sun damage! Tans and burns over time are one of the direct causes of skin cancer. You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should also use far more than you’re likely accustomed to (one tablespoon for your face and one ounce for your body—try measuring it to see how much that actually is!).

Also, realize that SPF 50 isn’t five times stronger than SPF 10. SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. The number can be used to approximate how many minutes you can remain in the sun without burning. If, for example, you start to burn after twenty minutes, a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 should protect you for 50 times that amount of minutes (approximately 17 hours), but only if you use enough and reapply it constantly.

Apart from protecting your face from the sun, some dermatologists offer good treatments to treat them. The appearance of sunspots can be decreased with proper products/ingredients. Retinaldehyde, a vitamin-A derivative, helps to encourage cellular renewal, lessening the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Specialists typically remove sunspots with various lasers or liquid nitrogen, but these procedures are best done during the winter months to limit the effects of UV exposure.

What are 3 products you can find in a French pharmacy that you can’t find in an American one?

CVM: 1. Sterilux cotton: Every summer, I fill my suitcase with 6 to 8 bags of them! My husband always rolls his eyes at me when he sees that, but they are the best cotton pads! They are so soft and gentle on the skin when you apply a toner.

Jonctum creme: This is probably not the most glamorous face cream, but the most famous face massage experts in Paris use it! This is truly a best kept secret— and it is inexpensive! Massage your face with it to tone, hydrate, and deeply nourish your skin. It is great for handling delicate skin or healing skin after a burn.

Bioderma chapstick: It’s simple. I just can’t live without it!

What is one French beauty tip that you think everyone needs to know?

CVM: Enhance your best features, and work with what you’ve got ! Everyone has something to be proud of!

My mother and grandmother taught me that there is a certain discipline required for beauty. Self-care needs to become a ritual and a regular part of your life, and this is not about vanity. If you look good, you feel good. In turn, you will have more self-confidence in your everyday life.

I learned that good skin is the result of good hygiene— whether it is cleansing your face well at night, staying away from heavy foundations that clog pores, sleeping well or eating healthy. You need prevention and maintenance to prevent problems before they occur.

Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out. 

CVM: Thank you! I run the online magazine beautyandwellbeing.com. Do not hesitate to subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter! Be sure to follow us on social media: @beautyandwb!

You can also get my book, Ageless Beauty the French Way on Amazon.

Ageless Beauty the French Way is a book that lifts the veil and shares the very best, research-based, French insider beauty secrets. It is a book for women of all ages with beauty tips specifically tailored to teenagers, mothers, and grandmothers. Most of the things I suggest in the book are (free!) things that you can easily add to your beauty routine. I wanted to create something positive that brings reachable and practical advice to every woman, especially simple things you can do to be the best version of yourself. Ageless Beauty the French Way doesn’t address fads — just tried and true tips from generations of knowledge as well as scientific research.

♡♡♡

Hope you guys loved this post, & as I said, be sure to tune into Instagram Live on June 3 at 1:30 pm PST where Clémence will really be breaking down facial massage.

x, lauryn

+ why your skin needs baby wash cloths.

++ everything you need to know about Meghan Markle’s favorite facial massage.

CLÉMENCE’S FAVORITES:

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5 Replies to “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About French Beauty”

  1. I love this philosophy of not fighting aging, but being the best you can be at that particular moment. I worried a lot as I got older about lines (I’m 45) and went through a brief period of trying every anti-aging cream out there, but I’ve found less is more. By simply taking care of my skin with nourishing oils, I saw a huge difference! Thanks for always providing such great info and features!
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  2. She looks so pretty with her soft natural hair and maekup. No heavy contouring, ridiculaous eyeshadow or overdrawn brows and lips