Beauty

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French-Girl Beauty at Any Age

If ever there were an expert on French-girl beauty, New York author/online magazine founder/mom Clemence von Mueffling is it. She grew up in Paris learning beauty secrets from her mother, Lorraine Bolloré, and her grandmother Régine Debrise, both editors at French Vogue. Von Mueffling first worked for companies like Clarins and Dior, then became a beauty journalist herself. “My mother and grandmother taught me in their inimitable French way that beauty is an attitude, a way of taking care of yourself,” says von Mueffling. “Self-care is important, and it’s not about vanity—it’s about self-confidence.” Today, the three still share beauty tips. “My mom and grandmother are beautiful examples of French women not looking for perfection clemence von muefflingbut trying to become the best possible version of themselves, outside and in, at any age,” she says.

Von Mueffling married a New Yorker; had twins; created an online magazine, Beauty and Well-Being; and last year, came out with the brilliant Ageless Beauty the French Way, a book packed with beauty secrets culled from her family’s considerable brain trust. Her rules for how to look and feel French—and beautiful at any age—align with our own beauty ethos: Focus on your health and great skin, great hair, and everything else will fall into place.

If ever there were an expert on French-girl beauty, New York author/online magazine founder/mom Clemence von Mueffling is it. She grew up in Paris learning beauty secrets from her mother, Lorraine Bolloré, and her grandmother Régine Debrise, both editors at French Vogue. Von Mueffling first worked for companies like Clarins and Dior, then became a beauty journalist herself. “My mother and grandmother taught me in their inimitable French way that beauty is an attitude, a way of taking care of yourself,” says von Mueffling. “Self-care is important, and it’s not about vanity—it’s about self-confidence.” Today, the three still share beauty tips. “My mom and grandmother are beautiful examples of French women not looking for perfection but trying to become the best possible version of themselves, outside and in, at any age,” she says.

clemence von mueffling

Von Mueffling married a New Yorker; had twins; created an online magazine, Beauty and Well-Being; and last year, came out with the brilliant Ageless Beauty the French Way, a book packed with beauty secrets culled from her family’s considerable brain trust. Her rules for how to look and feel French—and beautiful at any age—align with our own beauty ethos: Focus on your health and great skin, great hair, and everything else will fall into place.

1

Skin is everything.

French women don’t look for perfect skin, just great skin. In America, I see more of a quest for perfection, which is unattainable and frustrating. As long as my skin is healthy and hydrated, I don’t worry too much about wrinkles—they’re part of the process! No one needs to be flawless. I learned about skin care at a very young age, but getting older, I take even better care of my skin. I always loved face massages, but I recently discovered microcurrent, a very natural way to tone the skin. I also now choose more-hydrating products, like hyaluronic acid, and I started using an eye cream—lately the one from goop—so my concealer goes on more smoothly.

My tried-and-true beauty ritual that makes my skin glow is double-cleansing. During the first cleanse, you get rid of impurities, pollution, and makeup with a creamy product, like the balm cleanser from goop. During the second cleanse, you get to the topmost layer of skin. Doing this optimizes skin’s natural protection and regeneration, which primarily takes place at night while you’re sleeping.

  1. goop by Juice Beauty Perfecting Eye Cream
    goop by Juice Beauty Perfecting Eye Cream
    goop by Juice Beauty
    Perfecting
    Eye Cream

    goop, $90
  2. Dr. Barbara Sturm Hylauronic Serum
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Hylauronic Serum
    Dr. Barbara Sturm
    Hyaluronic Serum
    goop, $300
  3. goop by Juice Beauty Luminous Melting Cleanser
    goop by Juice Beauty Luminous Melting Cleanser
    goop by Juice Beauty
    Luminous
    Melting Cleanser

    goop, $90

I also massage my face two or three times a week. People underestimate the power of massage. I believe that it tones the skin, improves circulation, activates the production of collagen, and minimizes lines. And best of all, it’s free! And I avoid harsh treatments. Trying to achieve perfect skin can sometimes lead to some mistakes, like scrubbing your face too often or undergoing invasive, harsh treatments. I have learned to treat my skin like my favorite silk blouse. We have only one face; we should treat it with great care in the most delicate way possible.

2

A Mason Pearson is everything.

This brush is used now by four generations, not three, in my family (my daughter has a mini one in pink). It’s one of my absolute, can’t-live-without products. The quality makes all the difference.

  1. Mason Pearson Popular Mixture Hair Brush
    Mason Pearson Popular Mixture Hair Brush
    Mason Pearson
    Popular Mixture Hair Brush
    goop, $205
  2. Mason Pearson The Pocket Mixture Brush
    Mason Pearson The Pocket Mixture Brush
    Mason Pearson
    The Pocket
    Mixture Brush

    goop, $105

    3

    Always a little mascara.

    My grandmother would have me over for dinner on Sundays at her house and would always tell me to “rendez-vous with mascara.” She expected my sister and I to be feminine with a touch of mascara, even during a Sunday night family dinner! I don’t use much makeup, but I never leave home without mascara. It makes a real difference.

  1. Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara
    Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara
    Juice Beauty
    Phyto-Pigments
    Ultra-Natural Mascara

    goop, $24

    4

    A young body is a flexible body.

    I follow a light but efficient exercise routine. What’s most important to me is having strong spinal flexibility and joint mobility. If you want to stay young, you have to move.

    5

    Nutrition is essential.

    I am enjoying Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest book, The Clean Plate. It is infused with smart and accessible advice and recipes that I have easily incorporated in my everyday routine.

  1. goop Press The Clean Plate
    goop Press The Clean Plate
    goop Press
    The Clean Plate
    goop, $35

    6

    Make an Effort.

    My mother and grandmother taught me that there is a certain discipline required for beauty. Good skin is the result of good hygiene, whether that means cleansing your face well at night, staying away from heavy foundations that clog pores, sleeping well, or eating healthy.

    7

    Pack for glamour.

    I was thirteen years old when my mother sent me to a summer camp in the US. She packed my suitcase with cream for stretch-mark prevention and a bottle of perfume!

    8

    Don’t try too hard.

    In France, instead of trying to look younger, women take measures to look their best for where they are in life. French mothers teach their daughters to enhance their best features, and that beauty is more about the whole package, about feeling like your best self. Add a smile to it, et voilà!

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