When you see French women over 50 like Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert, one thing is clear: French women know how to age well. In Paris, one will notice that the women in the streets – who are clearly older – look mature and refined, rather than “aged”. There is a certain je ne sais quois about French women over 50 that could make one think that Parisian women are keeping an anti-aging secret from the rest of us. But aging well in France has nothing to do with a single solution. Instead, several factors contribute to the French lifestyle that promotes aging gracefully.
French women like to pamper themselves.
French women regard pampering their skin, hair and body as enjoyable, gratifying rituals. Parisians see taking care of their skin as a relaxing and luxurious experience. Not only are regular spa treatments good for the skin, but taking time to treat yourself can help de-stress from hectic, everyday life. Less stress may mean fewer wrinkles. They use little actual soap, preferring lotions, cleansers, toners and salves. According to a 2008 Mintel report, French women spend about $2.2 billion a year on facial skin care — as much as Spanish, German and British women combined.
French women know how to dress at any age.
There’s a reason why Paris is the fashion capital of the world. Women in France dress for their body type and age, whether they are 25 or 70. Those over 50 also start paying less attention to what is “trendy” in fashion, and start making friends with their tailor. A well-tailored suit or jacket can be found in the wardrobe of every French woman. For them, a few classic pieces that fit perfectly is more important than having a whole closet filled with clothes that only make them look “so-so”. They are willing to have fewer items but spend more on better quality pieces.
French women walk everywhere.
Surprisingly, not many women in France are regular gym-goers or do strenuous exercise – yet they still maintain a slim physique as they grow older. This is because walking is part of their lifestyle. They don’t drive or take a cab when they could spend 30 minutes walking to a destination instead. A few 15 or 20-minute strolls throughout the day have great benefits for weight control, health and relaxation.
French women stay thin.
French food is full of cream, cheeses, and butter. But if you pay attention to how much they are actually eating, you would notice that their portions are much smaller than what Americans are used to. Women in France love food and savor every bite, but they don’t overdo it. Binge eating is not chic, nor is it good for the waistline. They eat small portions of excellent, satisfying food, and little or no junk food. They really monitor their weight to catch and correct small weight gains. “French Women Don’t Get Fat” is the title of Mireille Guiliano’s best seller, but it’s really that French women won’t get fat.
French women don’t overuse plastic surgery, fillers and Botox.
They don’t quickly start using Botox, facelifts, and lip plumpers once they realize they no longer look like they did in their 20s. While some do have “a little work done” they avoid the unattractive look of obvious procedures. Most avoid over-stretched skin, cat-like eyes from severe brow lifts, and lips which are too big for their facial proportions. French women have a different outlook to aging – take what you have, and make the most of it. They do frequently go to dermatologists, which are paid for by their national health insurance system.
French women have the right attitude.
More than anything, confidence is the most important characteristic of French women. Once they reach 50, 60, 70, or 80, they do not allow their age to discourage them. Instead, French women look at growing older as an opportunity to reinvent themselves in a way that is more chic and powerful. They dedicate time to getting ready in the morning so they look “just right” for the day, they carry themselves well with good posture (which is usually a habit from childhood), and they exude confidence so other people cannot help but think of them as significant, attractive women.
For more tips and inspiration about how to age gracefully like the women in France, check out one of our favorite books – Chic & Slim Toujours: Aging Beautifully Like Those Chic French Women.
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