Friday, January 03, 2014

French Friday ~ "Forever Chic" (chapter two)

I am finally getting around to reviewing chapter Chapter Two of "Forever Chic". Chapter One was way back in October! Well, better late than never, right?

Chapter Two 
More Than Skin Deep
A Celebration of La Toilette Fran├žaise

In this rather lengthy chapter, the author details the methods and various products used by French woman to maintain their lovely complexions. French women take their skin seriously and are willing to spend a substantial amount of time and money on its care and maintenance. 

First of all, French women believe every woman should have her own dermatologist. And French mothers make a point of starting their daughters out with good skin care habits at about age 12. Some of the recommendations are the standard ones we all know:
  • avoid sun exposure
  • remove makeup before going to bed
  • moisturize 
Tish Jett then takes us on a detailed journey through the various products and skin treatments available to French women. Everything from cleansers to moisturizers to Retin-A to lesser known items such as pre-sun pills, Jett discusses a multitude of products and her personal experiences with each. She also covers skin procedures such as Botox, fillers, peels, mesotherapy and laser treatments.  The information on each product and treatment is concise, yet thorough. 

Skin care doesn't end at the neck, however. Jett goes on to discuss the importance of caring for one's entire body. French women are also diligent about keeping their bodies "soft, mostly hair-free and smelling delicious". Exfoliation and daily moisturizing are essential. Manicures and pedicures keep nails looking attractive. 

Reading this chapter almost overwhelmed me with all the various potions and treatments available. If one has the time, money and inclination there are plenty of ways to keep one's skin looking as good as possible, as long as possible. But even if you aren't inclined to utilize every option, there are some basic things every woman can do to keep her skin in good condition:
  • wear sunscreen (I opt for natural mineral makeup on my face rather than chemical sunscreens)
  • cleanse skin thoroughly
  • moisturize
  • exfoliate (personally I think this can be overdone, especially if you have sensitive skin)
  • hydrate (6-8 glasses of water per day)
  • get plenty of sleep
  • avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
Several years ago I learned about a skin care method from an older French woman who was then living in Houston. Her name was Jane Sebeyran and she had her own skin care products. The key to her method was avoiding the use of soap and water, utilizing instead a tissue-off cleansing cream. It is now becoming popular to use oil to cleanse one's skin but back when I first learned of her method it seemed rather odd. Several members of the French Chic Yahoo Group had tried her products and reported such amazing results that I finally decided to try myself. Within about a week, my formerly oily skin had regulated itself and breakouts became almost non-existent. I was sold! Sadly, *Ms. Sebeyran, who was in her 80s by that time, began having some health problems and shut down her business. I haven't found anything quite as good as her formulas but adequate substitutes and the same basic method have kept my skin in good shape - as long as I don't get lazy about the whole thing. ;)

Essentially, my skin care routine (when I'm doing it right) involves a tissue-off cleanser before bed and a good nighttime moisturizer. In the morning, something like witch hazel on a cotton ball to refresh the skin and then a daytime moisturizer. I use mineral makeup which is a natural sunscreen. And that's it.

Well, I've got a party to go to so I'll have to wrap this up. Leave me a comment if you have a skin care method or product to recommend. 

*Update: I was in a hurry as I wrote this post last night and didn't have time to include links. I just Googled Jane Sebeyran and am sad to report that she died a few months ago. 


  1. Thanks for all the great ideas. I think water is the key for me. Gotta remind myself to drink more of it!

  2. Same here. I used to be really good about it but have let the habit slide a bit lately.

  3. I'm good at washing my face morning and night but I get distracted and don't rinse properly or cover my whole face with the cleanser. Watching this video helped (she's French!)

    I learned to rinse properly and massage my face more.

  4. Thank you for sharing that video. Very interesting. And I love to hear her talk. :)

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  6. I just visited the French Chic yahoo site after a long absence and came over to read your reviews of Tish's book. I haven't yet read it, but I follow her blog.
    I started waterless face cleansing quite a few years ago. The product I use is one that Tish recommended on her blog - by Vichy. My skin is clear and healthy. I love using this.

    1. I will definitely look into that. Thanks!


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