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For when France seems too far away. Shop for inspiring images of France and discover travel tips, packing advice, recipes, book reviews and more.

French Grooming Essentials – Part One

French grooming

The other day, one of my closest friends and I got to talking about the importance of grooming.

We both agreed that while there are a few blessed souls out there who can look spectacular with assistance only from a hair tie and a little lip gloss, the rest of us have to work somewhat harder.

Of all the lessons I’ve learned from the French, the importance of excellent grooming stands out.

Read anything – any book, blog or website – related to French beauty and eventually you’ll come across a paragraph, page or chapter related to the benefits of grooming.

The thinking goes along the lines of something like this. We don’t all look like supermodels but we can all make the most of what we’ve got with just the smallest amount of effort.

Years of researching all things French has taught that it is attention to the little things that allows this to happen. A dose of confidence doesn’t hurt either – French women tend to embrace their uniqueness rather than trying to ‘fix’ themselves.

I decided it might be fun to expand on that conversation my friend and I started here on Distant Francophile. Over the next few weeks, I’ll sharing some of the fabulous things I’ve learned about grooming from the French.

French Grooming Essentials – Hair.

According to Mathilde Thomas, author of The French Beauty Solution when it comes to hair the epitome of hair chic is accepting what we’ve got and making the most of it.

Mathilde – like every other writer on French grooming – goes on to share that the key to learning to accept your hair is in investing regularly in an excellent cut. She also recommends deep conditioning treatments to keep hair glossy and in good condition.

As someone who was born with unhelpful hair at best (and downright contrary at worst) this idea of acceptance has taken me a little while to come to terms with. But I do agree with the advice on the cut.

It took me years, perhaps decades, to find a hairdresser who understands my hair. While my hair still has a mind of its own, thanks to her clever work, it no longer takes me ages to style my hair and it looks presentable for a lot longer! To my mind, it is definitely worth the investment in both time and money to have hair that doesn’t completely frustrate me to tears!

In her book, Parisian Chic, style icon Ines de la Fressange recommends washing your hair everyday. Thanks to my hair type, this is another French grooming tip I subscribe to wholeheartedly.

But not everyone agrees with Ines’ advice on this one. The stylish French team behind How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are suggest that leaving your hair a few days between washes is the key to sexy, messy French hair. Personally, I think this look probably works better for those of us with longer hair. I also tend to side with Vicki Archer who suggests this is more a French girl look rather than one a French woman might try.

One thing all three of the aforementioned style guides do agree on is the fact that heat is a bad thing for your hair. They advise against using hairdryers and straighteners, recommending a more natural, low maintenance look. This is one piece of advice I won’t be following anytime soon – I just can’t imagine life without my hairdryer. I’ll continue to employ treatments to keep my hair healthy!

Your turn now. Have you learned any hair grooming tips from the French? Do you have any advice of your own to share? If so, please get busy in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

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