9 major differences between French and American beauty

wavebreakmedia/ShutterstockWhen it comes to the French approach to beauty, skin care is a priority.

The French approach to beauty often involves optimising a person’s natural features in an effortless manner.

The way the French seem to work the natural, understated look makes you wonder what Americans can learn from their, usually quite simple, beauty routines.

INSIDER spoke with a celebrity makeup and hair artist to discuss the ways in which French and American beauty regimens can differ.


Americans seem to strive for a look that is approved by their closest friends and family.

Columbia PicturesAmerican woman may compare their standards to those of the individuals closest to them.

When it comes to makeup and skin-care routines, Americans tend to strive for a certain look or beauty standard that a parent, partner, or friend has impressed upon them over the years, according to Zee Gustafson, Celebrity Makeup & Hair Artist and Owner of Zee Artistry.

Instead of trusting their own instincts, many Americans seem to rely on what you could call “beauty confidants,” Gustafson told INSIDER.


French women tend to go for an enhanced version of themselves.

Nicky J Sims/Getty ImagesFor French women, makeup is often about enhancing your features, not changing them.

In France, makeup is usually seen as more of a tool used to supplement a person’s features, and not to create features that don’t already exist, Gustafson explained. This idea of being an enhanced version of yourself is a French foundation of beauty as well as self-acceptance.

“That Parisian ‘glow’ comes not only from well cared-for skin, a delicate pop of highlight in the right places, and healthy eating habits but from truly seeing and being accepting of oneself,” Gustafson told INSIDER.


Americans often seek to achieve perfection.

Mireya Acierto/GettyMany Americans believe it’s all about trying to look flawless.

Instead of seeking to enhance their features, many Americans seek to perfect them, going for a “flawless” look, Gustafson said.

And Americans will often do whatever it takes to achieve that look of perfection.

Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie, told Byrdie when writing her book, that she found Americans believed that suffering was necessary in order to achieve their concept of beauty. So they would go on crash diets and use skin-care products that irritated their skin all to be “beautiful.”


The French seem to value their skin-care routines.

ShutterstockSkin care is essential.

From a young age, the importance of skin care is introduced to the French and practiced daily with enthusiasm, Gustafson said.

Thomas told Birdie that the French tend to focus on prevention and upkeep.

“Consistency is key when it comes to taking care of the largest organ on your body, and the French don’t play around. Self-care is the best care (so long as it is doesn’t take too much effort),” Gustafson told INSIDER.


Americans can be more open to adding new products to their beauty routine.

Michael Buckner/GettyThey’re not afraid of experimenting.

Unlike the French, Americans are more inclined to try the hottest new thing in the world of skin care and makeup, no matter the cost, according to Gustafson.

For instance, daily SPF usage has become a thing that many Americans have recently adapted this into their skin-care regimens, while the French seem to have stuck to their consistent, no-nonsense makeup routines, unwilling to add anything new to them.


French beauty routines typically use less products.

Evgeny Kabardi/ShutterstockThey tend to keep their routines a bit more minimalistic.

Because French beauty routines are more focused on consistency, they tend to be more cost-effective and involve fewer products.

They believe that the more consistent you are with a regimen, the more likely you are to see results, rather than going out to buy the latest makeup trend of the week, Gustafson explained.


Americans tend to be more serious about their beauty routine.

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesMany Americans like to transform their look with contoured cheeks and smoky eyes.

Hands down, Americans are more serious about needing to access whatever version of themselves they want to be that day, Gustafson said.

“Whether it is a smoky eye, intense lip, out of this world contour or makeup that is barely there, it is important to be able to transform on a daily basis,” she told INSIDER.

The French, however, often know what works for them and they use it forever, knowing they look their own version on fabulous.


Americans put a lot of effort into their hair.

progressman/ShutterstockAn important step if you want to take better care of your hair.

Compared to the French, you can say that Americans typically pay more attention to their hair, according to Gustafson.

Americans typically use several products as well as styling tools to achieve the perfect, healthy shine, while French people have come to a general consensus that their hair looks good if they simply wash it, let it air dry, and sleep on it.


The French typically stay away from permanent body or skin modification for the sake of beauty.

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesPlastic surgery is more of a trend in the US.

Americans aren’t afraid of approaching plastic surgeons and the like to achieve a conventionally more beautiful look. In fact, there is often something of an emphasis on changing how you look to a dramatic degree to become more beautiful.

The French, on the other hand, tend to enhance the features that they have. In turn, they are not generally known to fawn over permanent body and skin modifications for the sake of beauty, according to Gustafson.

They just don’t covet this kind of beauty enough to medically alter their bodies to recreate their youth or some new look that isn’t them, she added.

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