French Skin Care v. Japanese Skin Care
French Skin Care
What do Paris Fashion Week, Brigette Bardot, and je ne sais quoi all have in common? They all hail from France. So when you think about France, do you think about skin care? You should, and here’s why. French women have this way of making beauty look effortless. Here are some French skin care basics to do to achieve this look of impossibly chic using low-maintenance tricks.
- French women drink wine – every day. Red wine, to be specific. It’s part of their culture, not an indulgence. There are studies that show the anti-aging benefits with ingredients full of antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory slows the growth of bacteria on the skin which can lead to acne, fights against free radicals and can even improve circulation benefiting heart health.
- A French doctor prescribes skin care. Going to a dermatologist in the US opens a dialogue with your healthcare professional about general options that may be beneficial to fighting the aging process, eliminating breakouts and overcoming skin challenges. Go to a doctor in France and you’re likely to walk away with a prescription of derma-cosmetics. These skin care products provide the absolute best when it comes to French skin care.
- A French woman never goes to bed with makeup on. Although they are known for being somewhat minimalists when it comes to applying makeup, they rinse their skin clean before hitting the pillow. Some French women opt for water to wash their face at the end of the day as opposed to a typical cleanser.
- French women have mastered the art of pampering. While many Americans go to the spa and enjoy a massage or facial throughout the year, many women have never seen the inside of a luxury spa. To French women it’s a necessary part of life. They recognize the importance of having a beauty routine that makes them feel beautiful and not one that causes pain.
- Think ‘less is more’ when it comes to make up, and you’ll be on the right track. French women like to focus on a particular feature like eyes or lips and accentuate that feature. A flick of black eye liner or bold red lip - but oftentimes, they will leave the rest of the face bare.
- Moisturizer is the most essential, often introducing moisturizer to young teenage girls, French women recognize the need to moisturize. Dehydrated skin looks dull and shows more signs of the aging process. Using a hydrating mist in addition to daily moisturizer is common.
- French women embrace the cold. Using cold water rather than warm has been a French beauty secret for decades.
- Aging with grace - wrinkles were not meant to be taken away, they’re a sign that a French woman has lived and laughed and loved. They focus on balance and finding the middle ground. To the French, beauty is unique and there is no one way to be beautiful. Features like freckles, wrinkles, dark circles, and even gapped teeth are all qualities to be appreciated, not hidden or altered.
- Fragrance is everything. French women spray their clothes, their closet, a handkerchief for her handbag, Known for having the highest quality fragrances, they rarely leave their house without a splash of French perfume or whatever their fragrance of choice happens to be.
If you’re interested in trying to incorporate parts of a French skin care routine, consider these suggestions:
- Cleanse your face, neck and décolletage area.
- Apply eye cream or gel around the eye.
- Apply moisturizer with SPF to your face, neck and chest.
- Rinse your face using micellar water – the French invented it.
- Double cleanse with gentle cleanser on face, neck and décolletage area.
- Apply eye cream or gel around the eyes.
- Apply a gentle moisturizer
Note step number 2 is called ‘double cleanse’. While micellar water was invented by the French is and well known for its clarifying properties, following with a gentle cleanser is called ‘double cleaning’. The French are pioneers when it comes to double cleansing.
DIY French Skin Care
If you’re looking to go a little French with your skin care regimen, here are a few DIY recipes to try at home:
Apple Acne Face Mask
Slice an apple and place in small bowl. Pour bowling water on the apple slice and soak it for 5 minutes. Remove the apple and let it cool. Apply the slice of apple to the affected area and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. This can be done twice a day for a particularly stubborn breakout.
Avocado Face Mask (for dry skin)
Using the pulp of a ripe avocado, stir in an egg yolk and apply to clean skin. Rinse off after 20 minutes with warm water.
Avocado Face Mask (for oily skin)
Mix a tablespoon of honey with the meat of half an avocado and some fresh thyme. Apply the mixture to clean skin and rinse after 20 minutes with warm water.
Banana Blackhead Face Mask
Using the skin of a banana, rub it on the blackhead area and it will make the blackheads come to the surface more easily.
Banana Face Mask (for dry/sensitive skin)
Mash the pulp of a banana and apply to the face and neck. Rinse with warm water after 15 minutes.
Smash a few strawberries, blueberries or raspberries with a fork and add just enough honey to make a thick paste like substance. Apply the mixture to clean skin and allow it to sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
Cabbage Face Mask (for dry skin)
Chop up cabbage leaves and boil them in milk until oatmeal type consistency is developing. Strain the liquid and layer the mask on your face and neck. Allow to sit for 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
Cabbage Face Mask (for oily skin)
Stir cabbage mixture from dry skin mask with the yoke of one egg and a tablespoon of olive oil. Apply this to your face and neck for approximately 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Grape Face Mask
Mash 8-10 red or black grapes, add a teaspoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of gram flour and mix well. Apply paste like mixture to clean skin and rinse off after 15 minutes with warm water.
Peach Face Mask
Using the pulp of a ripe peach mashed with a spoon, apply to clean face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes, rinse with warm water.
So do as the French suggest: embrace your unique qualities, think ‘less is more’ and moisturize! Master the art of tousled chic and who knows, someone may think you’re French. For even more tips, watch this video from Justine Leconte as she reveals some French beauty secrets!
Japanese Skin Care
If we head nearly straight east a little over 6,000 miles we land in a country nearly the same size as California. However with nearly 100,000 million more people – it’s literally bursting with life.
It’s no secret that Japan is known for more than just sushi, J-Pop and the bustling metropolis of Toyko. The glowing, dewy, youthful skin of women in Japan is the envy of women all over the world. So what is the secret to Japanese skin care? We are going to uncover 12 beauty rituals that are the key to achieve that radiant skin.
1. Foods Matter
People in Japan believe that the first step to beauty isn’t what you ON your body, but rather what you put IN it. Japanese women don’t eat sugary foods, fatty foods or a lot of meat. Their diet consists of lots and lots of fish! Fish is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids – these acids reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body that contribute to the aging process.
2. Green Tea and More Green Tea
The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties of tea make it an essential part of the Japanese skin care tradition. Concentrated green tea can also be applied to blemishes to speed up the healing process.
3. Rice is Nice
Not just on the plate, but rice is also used in Japanese skin care. Years ago, Geisha (traditional Japanese performers), used to bath in the water left over from rinsing uncooked rice. It’s a natural antioxidant and emollient. Rice also helps protect the skin from UV damages and helps to nourish and hydrate the skin to slow the signs of aging. Rice, most commonly in the form of rice water, has recently become a main ingredient in many of the most popular Japanese skin care products.
Many bathroom counters are cluttered with all different types of skin care products and other toiletries. Japanese women generally don’t use a lot of products in one skin care treatment. They layer a variety of products, but each one is given the proper emphasis it needs to be applied correctly.
5. Camellia Oil
Japanese women avoid mineral based oils, but prefer oil as a deep moisturizer and cleanser. They use natural camellia oil to remove makeup instead of water. It’s considered to be one of the most popular beauty secrets from Japan. The oil helps to restore moisture, smooth skin, fight the signs of aging and leave a smooth, youthful looking complexion.
6. Protect Your Skin
You rarely see a Japanese woman out in the sun for extended periods of time. They opt for protecting their skin wearing a hat or visor as opposed to layers of SPF. UV rays are the number one cause of premature aging and Japanese women aren’t about to let that interfere with glowing, youthful skin.
7. Moisture Mask
Originally making a sheet mask using a piece of silk with distilled flower water and placing it on the face, now the more modern approach is to dampen a cotton wool cloth using lotion or toner and placing it on clean skin for 5-10 minutes sends an instant surge of moisture into the skin.
8. Less is More
Much like the French women, Japanese women like to focus on a particular feature, specifically their skin. Not over layering on makeup helps to prevent clogged pores, extra moisture production or overdone looks. Simple, clean, flawless skin is the main attraction.
9. Cleanse, Cleanse
Regardless of who did it first, French and Japanese women are definitely on to something with the double cleanse. A good natural cleanser is essential to removing dead skin cells, oil and buildup from the day. Following up with another cleanse with oil or micellar water (as the French would recommend) or balm – clean skin is an important part of the Japanese skin care regimen.
10. Bath time
Bathhouses are common throughout Japan. The process begins with a head to toe exfoliating scrub followed by a steaming hot bath of essential oils, herms and green tea. The perfect bed-time ritual to help purify the skin or a great way to relax and enjoy some ‘you time’.
11. Vitamin C
Like many other countries, Vitamin C is an integral part of Japanese skin care. It’s used to brighten dull skin and smooth out discoloration. Vitamin C is also an important part of their daily diet and is a key to the famous complexion of Japanese women.
12. Mie-nai Oshareh
In other words, ‘unseen beauty’. The Japanese believe in a beauty that doesn’t always have to be seen. It’s poise and confidence, happiness and an inner glow that comes from enjoying the little things and treating yourself well.
If you were to define the most common steps in Japanese skin care routine, you’d find these:
- First, wash your face.
- Second, toner, but not the type you may be used to. More information below.*
- Third, serum (must have).
- Fourth, moisturize to seal in ingredients of the serum.
- Fifth, make-up base or sunscreen – it’s unusual for Japanese women to go out in public without some makeup on accentuating their dewy complexion.
And those steps apply to the morning and evening routine. A sheet mask may or may not be introduced a few times a week at bedtime. But the truth is, great skin care takes patience and precision and Japanese women have mastered the art of intentional skin care with incredibly successful results.
*As for the toner that Japanese women can’t live without, in Japan it is referred to as lotion. It encompasses the Japanese term for skin softener. This product is not a concept available in North American or European skin care brands, however, Japanese women will tell you it is an essential part of their skin care regimen – they must be on to something! It helps to prepare the skin for the products that follow, hydrates the skin using different moisture levels to suit a variety of skin types and can have specialty properties like treating acne, anti-aging, brightening, toning and firming.
So whether you’re looking to go a little French and introduce some new techniques based on French theories in skin care or if you’d like to try a little Geisha and incorporate some of the Japanese skin care routine into your daily regimen, you’ll be taking cues from 2 countries that boast some of the most beautiful skin.
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