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What Defines a French Skincare Routine? Clémence von Mueffling Explains

Understanding and adopting French skincare goes far beyond just stocking your top-shelf with clean, potent, plant-powered products made in Provence.

Equally as important to the equation are the whispered routines and regimens that French women have been following (and passing on) for generations.

To uncover the secret behind that je ne sais quoi that French women undeniably own, we tapped into the wisdom of Clémence von Mueffling, a French beauty expert and the author of Ageless Beauty the French Way.

Here, she spills her secrets on what truly defines an authentic French skincare routine, the importance of massaging your face, and more.

So… How would you define French skincare?

My mother and grandmother taught me that there is a certain discipline required for beauty. Self-care is not a form of vanity, but rather a ritual and regular part of your life. If you look good, you feel good. In turn, you will have more self-confidence in your everyday life, in everything from your work to your relationships. 

I also learned that good skin is the result of good hygiene. This involves cleaning your face well at night, staying away from heavy foundations that clog pores, sleeping well, and eating healthy. If you can add a smile to it, even better.

What’s the main point of difference when it comes to French skincare? What makes it unique?

In both starting my online magazine Beauty and Well-Being and writing my book, Ageless Beauty the French Way, I really had the opportunity to take a dive into the world of beauty and see differences between one side of the Atlantic and the other.

When it comes to skincare, French women don’t fight their age, but rather try to become the best possible version of themselves. Instead of trying to look younger, they take measures to look their best for where they are in life. They believe in maturing gracefully and tend to be more accepting of their age.

What’s one essential French skincare tip you always follow?

More than products it is more about the routine and the key part of your routine is to double cleanse. This is one of my favorite tried-and-true beauty rituals from Ageless Beauty because it guarantees the skin an ethereal glow. Double cleansing doesn’t have to be a chore! Think of it as a relaxing nightly treat for yourself, especially if you find products with a fragrance you love.

What’s your own skincare routine like?

I like to sleep as much as I can, but I cannot leave home without a minimum of preparation either. Especially when you need the children to be ready for school, too! After an energizing shower, I tone my skin with a micellar water or toner (such as Filorga or Bioderma), then I spritz some Thermal water (from Avène) before applying my moisturizer. I occasionally use a self-tanner from Comodynes. I apply a light makeup, just enough to look feminine but not overdone: a few strokes of black mascara, my perfume, et voilà!

In the evening, I always double cleanse, but I also avoid harsh treatments. I like the idea of healthy skin, but it does not have to be flawless. And, once or twice a week I massage. People underestimate the power of massage, but regular massaging miraculously improves the quality of your face. It tones the skin, improves circulation, activates the production of collagen and minimizes lines. And best of all, it’s free!

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