Beautiful Skin — the Frenchwoman’s Way

Forget clothes or jewelry. As bestselling author Mireille Guiliano reveals, good skin is always a woman’s best accessory

When I moved to America a few decades ago, I set out to have a facial — a clean-up ritual common to French women. I headed to Fifth Avenue; the only salon I found was staffed by Europeans and frequented by uber-wealthy ladies. Things are a little different today. So, when a widely reported survey cited that 33 percent of French girls between 15 and 19 are already using anti-aging or anti-wrinkle creams, I didn’t raise an eyebrow. Well, of course. Any moisturizer counts as an anti-aging cream, and every good little French girl has seen her mother’s before-bed facial rituals.

Good skin does not mean flawless. Despite what airbrushed magazine centerfolds seem to suggest, no one has unblemished skin. Great skin is healthy skin; skin that radiates from the inside out. It is part of that indescribable “it” factor that French women are instilled with – the “what” in the je ne sais quoi allure. Flip through this slideshow to learn how to get that “good skin” glow.


Editor’s Note: Mireille Guiliano is the bestselling author of French Women Don’t Get Fat. Her latest book is The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. Visit her at

7 comments so far.

  1. avatar Amaretasu says:

    There is no slideshow.

    • avatar Kristana Dunn says:

      @Amaretasu:  you may need to update your browser or your copy of java or your Adobe flashplayer. 

      or if you are trying to view the slideshow at work, your employer may have a some sort of security device that won’t play the slideshow and you have to wait until you get home to see it.  (ActiveX programs are often blocked for security reasons)

  2. avatar Briana Baran says:

    I must say that I really do enjoy your articles, Mireille. This one, with slide-show, was wonderful. I am gifted with extremely oily skin, everywhere. At 51, I still have issues with pimples that are not caused by stress, poor eating habits, or my current wicked state of peri-menopause. I’ve always had them. I don’t view them as a curse, they are a reminder of how fortunate I am, genetically.
    My skin is hyper-reactive. I normally wash with warm water, to remove excess oil (and there is excess, I literally shine), and sometimes with imported oatmeal soap. I do not scrub or exfoliate…not unless I wish my skin to turn red and develop an ugly rash. I rinse with cool water. If my break-outs are excessive (this usually happens when the pollen or mold counts are high), I use a low percentage salicylic acid (1%) and honey solution and gently dab it on the individual pimples. I don’t use moisturizers. I have literally tried over one hundred varieties, and they all cause either irritation, pimples, rashes…or, on several unpleasant occasions, blisters and open sores. Sometimes I put a bit of olive oil around my eyes (I also use it to remove eye make-up, as the commercial varieties tend to cause redness and swelling), or bee’s wax on my lips. I do not use foundation at all…reactions and no need to clog my pores.
    The result? Everyone I meet always is surprised at my age…they generally guess about ten to fifteen years younger. My only lines are the crow’s feet (well, more sparrow toes) that I have had since my early twenties, and my single, faint, vertical worry line between my eyebrows. I do love the sun and the water, and I use sunscreen diligently (50 spf on my face), but my Calabrian blood-lines cause me to tan through spf 100 sunscreen, so that I am brown as a nut by the end of every summer…and hold on to much of that color (no sun lamps, no tanning beds) through fall and winter. I need the sun and the water for my mental health, and skin cancer is not an issue anywhere in my family history. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol, and I drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water (which I had to teach myself to do) a day. I also restrict my caffeine intake, because it causes dehydration.
    I’m not a health nut…I responded to another article of yours with my comment about my current state of obesity, and my determination to lose the 100 (now 92) pounds that my doctor has ordered me to permanently remove from my person. But I eat my vegetables (something else I had to learn to like), limit my red meat and animal fat, avoid junk, fast and processed foods, and adore fish. I love to cook experimentally with exotic spices and olive oil (Mediterranean is wonderful, as are all sorts of takes on the cuisine of all of the countries of Asia and the Middle East). I rarely eat sweets…perhaps I have psyched myself out of any desire for them.
    But mostly I smile, and I laugh, and I amuse myself and indulge my curiosity. I am no beauty, but somehow, everyone tells me that my skin is lovely, scars and all. And thank you for not endorsing expensive products, and harsh anti-aging regimens. I simply adore you for your simplicity and honest approach.

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