Parisian women are renowned for their class and chic no matter what they wear or how late they've been to bed the night before. They also believe in minimal effort, which means no strenuous exercise routines and most certainly not starving yourself – a glass or two of rouge is also a staple so it's not about crossing off alcohol either. If you've had a hard winter, you feel tired and drawn and the idea of getting into a bikini this summer scares the wits out of you, then worry no more – French women don't, so why should you?
To send us on the way to looking our best, we spoke with Dominique Rist, an inspirational parisienne and the international treatment developer director at top French beauty and spa brand Clarins. 'Everyone's in the same boat,' she starts. 'We're all lazy creatures who want instant results.' And not having found the magic formula yet in her 31-year career, Dominique shares her top tips that will be sure to get heads turning this summer.
1. Being at one with nature every weekend
It might be a cliché, but for French women, being beautiful isn't just skin deep; it really is about feeling beautiful. 'After a long dull winter, it's hard to stay positive and full of energy so reawakening the senses is key,' says Dominique. Reconnecting with nature to remind ourselves of the beauty around us is a great starting point. In fact, Parisiennes are famous for leaving the city for the countryside as often as possible, hence why they look great without necessarily observing strict diets and exercise routines. Getting plenty of fresh air reinvigorates the soul and it shows on the skin and beyond.
Also key to boost your outlook is to oxygenate the brain, meaning breathing properly – something we forget to do all too often. To help those who don't have time, Dominique has developed the WellSpa app to remind people to simply – breathe. Once you've reconnected with nature and started breathing properly again, she also advises refreshing your look and your routine. 'What's most important to succeeding in life is to change your rhythm,' says Dominique.
Solutions can include taking a weekend break somewhere you've never been, getting a hair cut, doing your makeup differently, or taking up a new hobby. Whatever you choose to do, regularity is key. 'It's difficult to keep a regular activity especially when it requires effort, but it's important to keep going even if you veer off path several times,' reminds our expert.
2. The myth of 'no pain, no gain'
Parisian women don't spend hours doing their makeup everyday, however, they do spend time cleaning and moisturising their skin, which is what gives them that healthy natural and fresh glow. Before beginning any beauty routine, exfoliating the skin on the body and face is most important.
Second, you won't find Parisian women doing anything that requires too much effort, so the crash course to feeling great comes in the shape of a slimming detox massage like the 30-minute Solution Rebelle massage by Clarins. It's a quick and effortless way to sculpt the silhouette, that's especially good for those suffering from water retention, bad blood circulation and cellulite. 'Not only will this remind you of how good it feels to get rid of toxins, but it will also remind you that you are also a body and not just a brain,' reminds Dominique. Followed by a slimming cream like the Crème Masvelt (Clarins) applied everyday for two months, it will bring noticeable results that in turn will boost your confidence about being able to change your body.
When it comes to giving breasts a bit of a lift, ditch uncomfortable ice packs. Keep it simple with gadgets like the Model'Bust by Clarins, which is a hydromassage machine that can be used on each breast for just 30 seconds everyday for a month. The rotating action will stimulate the tissue thus giving the skin its elasticity back with minimal pain and effort.
3. Drink yourself healthy
In combination with exercise, sculpting massages and creams, a healthy diet is important. However, you don't need to go to extremes. Just cut out artificial foods and go for more natural unprocessed produce. Daily detox juices are also a simple and effective way to top up on vitamins and to help your digestive system stay healthy – it's not just a footballer's wife fad. Flushing out the toxins by drinking green tea and litres of water is vital especially as skin retains everything from fatty foods to cigarette smoke. Choose soft water that's easy to drink like La Rosée de la Reine, which Dominique swears by.
It's also a good idea to be aware of your current diet in order to know what you need to change. For example, you can eat everything in moderation including sweets, but at regular times and not at night as the body's digestion slows down so it's better to eat light low-calorie foods for dinner. Draw up a table of the days of the week for a couple of months and make a note when you've had a good healthy day. Again, it's about staying as consistent as possible, there's no need to beat yourself up when you have a relapse.
4. Fast-track to a relaxed stomach
Emotions are regulated by the stomach, so stress, doubts or anxiety will have an impact on the digestive system and in-turn on your skin, which will be duller and more prone to breakouts if you're not in top-shape. However, parisiennes don't have time to soul search – why the effort when shopping or having a good meal with friends works just as well?
Also popular is the fast track to a healthier stomach with methods like Clarins' Energie Detox Ventre treatment combined with Solution Rondeurs Rebelles. This will help eliminate stress faster and more efficiently, leading to better vitality, which in turn will leave you with a natural healthy glow.
Sunset in Landes, France, source: Flickr/guillaume comminuillaume commin
5. Staying stylish in the sun
As Dominique mentions earlier, exfoliating and hydrating the skin is vital for Parisian women, especially for a clean even tan. You don't want any dead skin cells getting in the way. Also, you won't catch any Parisian women out in the scorching sun without skin protection, which can include a chic wide brim floppy hat.
Choosing the right factor sun-cream is also essential to ensuring your skin is getting the right protection from the sun's UV rays. Parisiennes wouldn't be caught dead getting sun beds either. First it's too artificial and second, too time-consuming. Dominique actually advises against using sun-beds as they can be extremely harmful. 'It's a myth that they better prepare the skin for the sun,' she says. 'For instance, if the bulbs haven't been changed regularly, a sun-bed can leave you either not tanned at all or it can severely stain the skin.' In order not to appear too pale on the beach this summer though, she advises applying auto-bronzing cream; 'that will boost your self-esteem when everyone around you is already boasting a perfect golden tan.'
For a plethora of helpful expert beauty and wellbeing tips that actually work, Dominique has collaborated with Clarins co-owner, Dr Olivier Courtin-Clarins on a brand new book entitled 'Doctor, I want to be the fairest of the them all!' now available on the Clarins website in French and available soon in English. All proceeds go to the Arthritis Foundation in France.