The Difference Between American & French Beauty

Parisian beauty has always been something to envy—how exactly do these women look effortlessly chic 24/7? Whole books have been dedicated to this topic, including How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits, a book dedicated to the Parisian lifestyle co-written by Caroline de Maigret, Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, and Sophie Mas. We finally learn the true difference between French Beauty and American Beauty thanks to Mathilde Thomas and her upcoming book.

I remember watching Mademoiselle C, a documentary about Carine Roitfeld, and pining after her effortlessly cool aesthetic. It all came from her attitude. She once said "I need a lot of black on my eyes and a shot of vodka to be brave, because you're beautiful when you relax." Carine pretty much epitomizes sexy to me, and I'm not the first to wonder how exactly she does it.

Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of skincare line Caudalie, reports on the main difference between French beauty and American beauty. Not surprisingly, it lies in the cultures' attitudes. She attributes the difference to how the French approach the concept of beauty. According to YahooStyle, Thomas said that to the French, “beauty is something to give you pleasure. Because when you feel good, you look good."


While expanding her brand by moving to the U.S. in 2010 and traveling all over the country, she found that Americans tend to see keeping up with beauty as a pain rather than a pleasure. She found that "many of the women confessed to making their beauty choices based on 'the erroneous notion of no pain/no gain.'”

In her book, titled The French Beauty Solution, Thomas discusses her observation that in American culture, in regards to beauty, quick fixes had an undeniable prominence. Crash diets and quick solutions were of importance, while in French beauty, their philosophy lies in "prevention and upkeep and is regarded as an essential, ongoing investment," she says in her book.

Of course, Thomas stresses that difference doesn't necessarily means one is better than the other. Who's to say the American beauty routine is better or worse than the French? However, she is constantly inquired about how to be more like the French. Her answer? A simpler beauty routine that takes pleasure in the process, rather than seeing it as a painful and arduous process. Find out more from Thomas' book, which you can preorder here.

Images: Getty, The Beauty Solution