Try as we might, we’ve never been able to thoroughly master the art of French beauty. Nor have we been able to give a distinct answer when pressed to describe it. We've obsessed over it for as long as we can remember, but can't quite quantify what exactly "it" is — they don't call it je ne sais quoi for nothing. Not to get all philosophical on you, but in order to understand the look, one must first understand how a French woman views herself.
A French woman harbors no illusions about her beauty. She celebrates her imperfections as iconic assets: the gap in Vanessa Paradis’ teeth, the delicate crow’s feet around Isabelle Huppert’s eyes, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s prominent jaw line. From adolescence to old age, her beauty is understated, yet dynamic, sexy yet unpredictable. Most importantly though, a French woman never takes her beauty for granted. It is tended and maintained, hydrated and coddled, but, above all, it's enjoyed. A French woman revels in her beauty and relishes her seductiveness, which is, in France, both ageless and priceless.
By contrast, many Parisiennes see American beauty as an excess; something that is too much, overdone and over-the-top. This is a direct contrast to the unspoken rule of French beauty that one should always err on the side of understatement — calculated, polished understatement.
To dig a little further though, we needed to go straight to the source. We wanted to hear what makes these fashionable femmes tick (and lets them look so damn amazing in the process), so we stopped three real girls on the streets of Paris and grilled them about their beauty routines, tips, tricks, and the differences between French and American beauty. Read on for the dish—c'est magnifique, we swear.