French Girl Beauty and Self-Care: My Routine à la Française

Embracing a French lifestyle isn’t merely about fashion; it extends gracefully into the realm of French girl beauty and self-care. This week I planted another foot more firmly into my mid-fifties and I am feeling it.

HOWEVER, people often remark that I don’t look my age. I wish I could tell you that it’s from decades of taking care of myself, but truth be told, I only started paying closer attention in the last 5 or so years.

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Two things influenced this change. First was reading the book Ageless Beauty the French Way: Secrets from Three Generations of French Beauty Editors. Clemence von Mueffling writes about French beauty and the lessons her mother and grandmother imparted to her.

Andi in Paris near Odette

I have always had a minimalist no-muss no-fuss approach to my hair and makeup. Clemence von Mueffling’s approach is a little too much self-care for me, or I’m not there yet, but I have added a lot more products to my daily ritual since reading her book.

The second influence was my French mother-in-law (belle-mère). She did not give me any direct advice, but just observing her bathroom and our bathroom when she comes to visit and the sheer volume of products she uses got me curious and had me thinking that I should take a page from her book.

I have had several readers ask about what French skincare and makeup products I use and what I think are the best French beauty products so I thought I would put it all in a post.

Here it goes, head to toes (de la tête aux pieds) !

Andi in the Tuileries Garden in Paris France

Hair care and styling

I have had a short pixie cut since my late twenties. I get it cut (and colored) every 4-5 weeks. I typically use L'Oréal Professionnel's Vitamino Color shampoo and conditioner. I shampoo almost every day, it all really depends on how it feels when I get it wet.

[I buy Garnier shampoo and conditioner or Le Petit Marseillais brand when in France.]

I only condition my hair twice a week. Every once in a while (like after spending 6 weeks in the southwestern desert) I will do a deep conditioner or mask for my hair. I like the one from Everyone (EO) 5-Star Deep Conditioner, Coconut & Lemon, it is so luxurious!

If I don't condition my hair in the shower then I use Cleanest Lab Leave-In Conditioner Mist Spray.

Everyone (EO) 5-Star Deep Conditioner and hair with haircare products on it

My hair dries while putting on my makeup and I use a hair dryer at the end to fluff it up and make sure it is completely dry. Then I use hair wax. I use Bed Head hair wax but from time to time I will splurge on a salon wax since it lasts me 6 months.

Run some wax through and spray with Sexy Hair Big Spray & Play Harder Firm Volumizing Hairspray. I want to use something more environmentally friendly but I like a firm hold and haven’t found one yet. Do you have any suggestions?

hair wax and hair spray

Where to Buy:

I am not loyal to one store and will buy where I find it the cheapest! This is where I buy from:

Andi Blue Dress Blue Scarf Bridge Grand Rapids_blog

Skincare + Makeup

This is the area where I have significantly changed my routine in the last few years. I have an AM and PM routine and a set of products I use. This is a distinct departure from the single product or layer that I used for many years. Healthy skin is probably one of the most important things to a French woman and I am embracing that!

In the morning…

My morning routine is not complicated. The biggest difference between now and say 5 years ago is that I use more products before I ever put my makeup on. I use as many French beauty products as I can but use American substitutes when I run out.

Prepping my face

I wash my face with a reusable microfiber towel. These are magical and eco-friendly. I cringe to think about the number of makeup-removing wipes I used in my life!

I give my face a wipe with Micellar water. In the United States, I stick with 2 brands. My go-to French brand for Micellar water is Garnier. I also use Bioderma. On the American side, I have used Burt's Bees. As I mentioned in my article about French skincare secrets, Micellar water purifies the skin creates, and adds hydration.

Bioderma Micellar water and woman using a cotton swab on her face

I add face lotion. My preferred product is Garnier Bio Vitamin C Day Cream (the orange blossom scent is delicious). I buy it in France. I buy many bottles when I visit. Well as many as I can as they come in a [heavy] glass bottle. They don't have it here in the U.S., the closest I've seen is Garnier's SkinActive 24H Moisture Cream with Rose Water.

Where to Buy:

I am not loyal to one store and will buy where I find it the cheapest! This is where I buy from:

Garnier bio Face Cream and Orange Blossoms

When that runs out I use iT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream. I discovered the brand when I roomed with my blogging bestie and Ireland expert gal-pal, Jody Halsted.

She uses their products and I started using their foundation and love it. I just recently tried the face cream and like it a lot. I wait for it to go on sale and pick it up wherever I find it the cheapest.

I use a cream on my neck to try to tighten the skin. I found Let's Neck by Womaness and I feel like it helped.

Womaness Lets Neck Cream and Older womans nexk

Where to Buy:

I am not loyal to one store and will buy where I find it the cheapest! This is where I buy from:

I let the lotions soak into my skin for 15-20 minutes (I start checking my email at this point!) before applying my primer. I bounce back and forth between Benefit Porefessional and Smashbox. I think one works better than the other with my face cream or sometimes seasonally with humidity.


Laying the foundation

I let that sit for about 5 minutes then I apply my foundation. I use iT Cosmetics CC+ foundations. It took me forever to find the right shade and I’ve tried different varieties as well but I think my preferred product is CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ (I always love it when they add SPF which protects your skin!).

I don't suffer from dark circles or dark spots, but CC+ foundations are known to work wonders.

On my last trip to Paris, I picked up La Roche-Posay Hydraphase BB Cream to try. It is lighter than a foundation and not easy to find in the US, so I will let you know if I like it and if I recommend picking it up when in France!

I use my fingertips and a makeup sponge from e.l.f. Cosmetics (I like the fuchsia one) or the cosmetic sponges from DIDI BEAUTY

iT Cosmetics CC+ Foundations

Where to Buy:

I am not loyal to one store and will buy where I find it the cheapest! This is where I buy from:

My face is ready! Except for the short wait to let my face cream soak in, it doesn’t take a lot of time.

Andi Fisher at 50_Photo by Cactus Fox_hero
Photo credit: Cactus Fox Photography

My Minimal Makeup

I put on 3 shades of eyeshadow in layers from a palette from Smashbox. I currently use Punked but have also used Matte. I add dark purple or black eyeliner to the top lid. I go back and forth between using eyeshadow or a pencil. Eyeshadow lasts longer. I have to buy at least two to three pencils for the single eyeshadow color.

My mascara is Roller Lash Super Curling & Lifting Mascara from Benefit Cosmetics. I have been using it for decades and love it. I will try samples of other brands from time to time but always go back to Benefit.

Andi at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

Last is lips! I know that a red lip is a cult favorite for the French. There is supposed to be a shade of red for everyone but I haven't found mine.

These days I rarely wear anything but when I do I use Le Lip Tint in Rose Noire from French Girl. I just bought the new Confidence in a Serum Lip Gloss from iT Cosmetics in Self-Determination and it’s fantastic. If you don’t like to fuss with lipstick these two options are great.

When my lips are chapped I swear by La Roche Posey lip balm. I usually buy a dozen at a time when I am in France. They are costly to buy in the U.S. but are available.

Before I put my clothes on, I use J&L Naturals Aluminum-Free deodorant in Vanilla & Ylang Ylang. Then I get dressed!

With a squirt of my Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil perfume, I am ready to go! It took me a long time to find this scent. Strong perfumes give me a migraine. I don't like sweet perfumes, but the Hermès “Un Jardin” series works for me.

Where to Buy:

I am not loyal to one store and will buy where I find it the cheapest! This is where I buy from:

In the evening

My evening routine is fast! Again, I use more products than I used to. I use as many French skincare products as I can but use American substitutes when I run out.

I use a reusable microfiber towel for removing makeup. Once or twice a week I use L'Occitane Oil-to-Milk Facial Makeup Remover. It is a very gentle cleanser. I am on my last bottle. The new version of it is called L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cleansing Oil but haven't tested it out yet!

products on a bathroom counter

A couple of times a week I will use Burt's Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. Once a week I will use Vitamin C Polishing Facial Wash & Mask from French Girl. At the same time, I will also use their Rose Lip Polish to exfoliate my lips.

Once every few months I also use a face mask. It's great for clogged pores and getting your skin feeling great!

products for the shower

In the shower, I wash my face with Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleaner.

Once out of the shower, I apply Avène RetrinAL EYES eye cream (I buy it at French pharmacie when in France) or La Cura eye cream which I bought at Aldi in Lisbon, and use Nivea Recharge night cream or Nivea Q10 night cream from France. I also buy the night version of Garnier cream as well.

When that runs out I use iT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream. I do a repeat of Womaness Let's Neck by Womaness .

Where to Buy:

I am not loyal to one store and will buy where I find it the cheapest! This is where I buy from:

woman rubbing hands

My Hands + Nails

Then I use hand lotion. This I buy in Portugal. They have amazing hand lotion. Haven’t found much better. I pick them up by the handful when I am in Portugal. At the grocery, pharmacy, and beauty stores!

I treat myself a couple of times a year by buying Benamôr from Amazon. I discovered them during a trip to Lisbon. Their jacaranda scent is my absolute favorite, no one else has it!

I also buy Avène Cold Cream in France and I like L’Occitane a lot too.

I have lotion on my desk. It is supposed to be a reminder to use it but I rarely do!

My nails suck. The end. I wasn't born with great nails. I did do gel nails for a period of time, but I am just lazy and working on my nails takes too much effort! They used to be very weak but I started including collagen in my diet last year and they are as hard as, well nails now!

girl with sleeping mask


A couple of times a week I put ETUDE Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask on the lips to sleep. It’s super thick and very nourishing. I should probably wear it every night but I forget a lot. I mainly remember when my lips are feeling dry.

I have had it for 5 years! When I get ready to buy a new one, I see that Burt's Bees now has one. Everyone was going crazy for the LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask – I will have to check it out as it was such a frenzy!

Then it’s time for dodo and I do it all again the next day! If I am staying home on the weekend or manage to have a work day without too many video calls I don’t wear makeup. I just moisturize and go au natural.

Your French Girl Beauty Routine

The important thing is to HAVE one! I think this is the ultimate when it comes to French girl beauty tips or French makeup tips – make time for it. Buy the best you can when it comes to products.

Not everyone, including myself, can buy the best French skincare products but we can try. Shopping around helps! And if you are going to visit France, save space in your suitcase (great to tuck into your shoes) for French pharmacy finds, the grocery has good stuff too!

More reading

Any questions or suggestions? What’s your beauty routine like? Do you have a favorite skincare product? Do share!

Don't forget to pin this for later!

girl with french book

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  1. Amber Myers says:

    I like these ideas. I am all about minimal makeup! I rarely wear any to begin with.

    1. I love the hair style! Thanks for sharing the products you’ve been using from hair to skincare.
      I have been using Garnier facial toner for years now and my skin loves it.

  2. Such helpful tips. I’l keep this in mind!

  3. Firstly, happy birthday! Reading about your journey into French girl beauty and self-care is a delightful celebration of embracing the elegance of aging!

  4. Beautiful Touches says:

    The minimalist approach with hair and makeup sounds lovely. I know people tend to forget the health of their hands and nails too, so I’m glad that this was a part of the guide.

  5. i do not wear any make-up and my skincare routine is very minimal at this point.. literally just one product i have been using for ages.. but i do need to add something more to my care for skin and hair at this time, and your post is another reminder for the same

  6. Monidipa Dutta says:

    Your French Girl Beauty and Self-Care routine is amazing! I love how you shared simple yet effective tips that anyone can follow. Your writing style is so friendly and easy to understand. The way you explained each step made it feel like you’re chatting with a friend. I can’t wait to incorporate some of these ideas into my routine. Merci beaucoup for sharing your wonderful insights! 🇫🇷💄✨

  7. Angela Ricardo Bethea says:

    Happy Birthday and enjoyed reading this post. I’m interested to know the different types of beauty guide people do. Thanks for sharing yours with us.

  8. Thank you for sharing these tips! I usually use conditioner everyday but I am really having hair fall problems. Will follow your routine and just do it twice a week. Will try the conditioner mist spray too. Thank you for the recommendation.