Pharmacies have counters full of diet and figure-improving remedies. Capsules assure a flatter stomach in four weeks. One spa favorite is thalassotherapy, the seawater-based treatment that originated in France. It involves water jets, seaweed wraps, mud baths and sea-fog inhalation, meant to improve circulation, promote sleep, tone muscles and reduce cellulite.
That means government health insurance covers much of the bill. As for makeup, Frenchwomen of almost every age except those teenagers regard less as best. Heavy foundation has a tendency to emphasize wrinkles and pores, and most women avoid it in favor of a bit of blush. Those who do use foundation make sure that it blends with the skin, often by applying it just after moisturizing.
The idea is to look as natural as possible: a little color on the eyelids, mascara, maybe a bit of eyeliner and lip gloss. And that may be where the French secrets really are. If you happen to use the bathroom in a French home — something that is not considered polite, by the way — you might see a line of skin care products rivaling a shelf at Duane Reade. There will be day creams with sunscreen , night creams without it , re-pulping creams, serums, moisturizers, cleansers, toners and salves for anything from orange-peel skin to varicose veins.
But you might not find much soap. As in America, some women in France turn to dermatologists for their skin care, and their visits are likely to be covered by health insurance. The objective of plastic surgery in France, according to Dr. In the United States, he says, women who spend a lot of money on face-lifts want to show off their investments.
Maybe that explains the pumped-up lips and smooth cheeks that the American actress Ellen Barkin , 56, recently displayed on the Cannes red carpet. View all New York Times newsletters. By contrast, Frenchwomen prefer results that look as natural as possible. Cannes photos of Isabelle Huppert , 57, show elegant, un-enhanced aging. In France, I have only one friend who has confessed to having had surgery, a discreet operation to firm up a sagging chin and flabby neck.
She is thrilled with the result: no one notices. That means a good cut every three to four weeks, and a reasonably natural color.
- Cartel VI: Fall, 2013.
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Frenchwomen use conditioners and other post-shampoo treatments, followed by a cold-water rinse. Of course, the whole idea that Frenchwomen age better than Americans is debatable. Obesity rates are rising in France, though they are still far lower than in the United States. And not every movie star or politician remains ageless. The midcentury sex symbol Brigitte Bardot , now 75, is gray, wrinkly and overweight. Martine Aubry, the chubby head of the French Socialist Party and almost 60, is not known for her sense of style.
And when I asked Katie Breen, a Frenchwoman who is a former editor at Marie Claire magazine, to name a woman who had aged particularly well, her answer was decidedly un-French: Meryl Streep. For Frenchwomen, aging seems to be a matter of mind over makeup.
If women feel good about themselves, right down to their La Perla euro panties, they look good, too. Case in point: my loony neighbor — completely coordinated, perfectly made up, thoroughly French. Tell us what you think.
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The Best Anti-Aging Products, According to Thousands | Real Simple
They're among your best weapons against pollution and sun. Whichever antioxidant is in your arsenal, arm yourself every morning for all-day protection. Retinol rules—it's "the only thing that's been proven to reduce fine lines over the long-term," Brandt says. But like even the best long-term relationships, it isn't percent perfect.
101 Skin-Care Tips
It can increase sun sensitivity that's why it's best applied at night and it makes some women peel, flake, redden, and itch. New York City dermatologist Howard Sobel advises taking things slow: Dab it on every other night, or dilute it with plain moisturizer, until you know your skin can handle it. You are too thin—at least around the eyes. Don't rub, poke, or otherwise fiddle with the skin there. What do you do? Take care of your body to take care of your skin, that's what.
Smoking is an infamous wrinkle factory that destroys collagen and elastin. But you knew that.
Less well known is that more than one glass of alcohol increases inflammation in the bloodstream, "which can hasten sagging over time," Brandt says. Eating too much sugar is also a vice for your skin not to mention your waistline , he says—it may affect the body's ability to repair damaged collagen. Stop squinting sunglasses help. And if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, make sure your prescription is up to date. Switch to a smooth satin pillowcase. The creases in cotton eventually make their mark on your face. Wrinkles may be the classic sign of aging, but studies show that most people view mottled skin as even older-looking.
The good news: dark spots can be faded in as little as a month. Yet another reason to wear sunscreen: Without it, you'll earn new spots as you erase the old ones. As we age, cell turnover slows and dead skin cells pile up all over our face. Eventually these malingerers "reflect the light at odd angles and rob your face of radiance," says New York City dermatologist Doris J. It isn't pretty.