I spent the last year living in Paris, and every time I’m back in the U.S., I’m always asked about French beauty secrets. The term “French beauty” gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? To me, it means natural and effortless—looking like you just rolled out of bed, threw on some mascara, and left to grab a morning coffee. It’s less makeup and more skincare. It’s all about using multipurpose beauty products that serve an aesthetic function while also strengthening the skin, hair, and nails.
Even though I tend to take a more maximalist approach to my beauty routine, I’ve learned a thing or two over the past few months, both through stealth observation and conversations with French women. Lately, I’ve even started merging bits and pieces of the French beauty philosophy with my own. It all started with some tried-and-true beauty products. Below, check out 20 essentials French women can’t live without, according to me and my Parisian friends.