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What Makes French Beauty So . . . French? Experts Answer

Over the weekend, the French celebrated Bastille Day, honouring French independence and all things Gallic. French women are renowned for their beauty, which, as anyone who's strolled the Canal St-Martin in Paris can attest, comes forth in diverse forms. An insouciant flip of the hair, the evening glamour of a deep red lip, the embrace of "flaws" like gap teeth: all so French. But what else makes these women uniquely chic? To find out, we asked a few in-the-know people to explain the je ne sais quoi of French beauty. Keep reading to find out what they said.

The colour virtuoso "There's something particular about French women. They don't wash their hair every day. They can't stand the product too heavy on their hair and scalp. They try to be a little bit more cautious of what's going on with a product." — Christophe Robin, colourist to French stars including Catherine Deneuve

The hair genius "The French woman loves to be sophisticated, but at the same time she doesn't want any style that you can see that something's happened. French women are very sophisticated with beautiful textures, beautiful makeup, but it's never too much." — John Nollet, hair stylist and creator of Amélie Poulain's famous bob

The supermodel "Naturalism. Hardly any makeup and just really chic clothing. I love that French women let their skin show. The most attractive thing to me is when you can see a woman's skin. For me, when I'm getting my picture taken, they put makeup on me and all that. For every day, it's so nice to be able to look at a woman and see her skin." — Milla Jovovich, cover model for magazines including Jalouse, Elle France, Vogue Paris and Madame Figaro

The beauty entrepreneur "With regard to my hair, I've always had a certain 'no fuss' mentality, which I think came from my mother. Neither one of us is very concerned with overstyling our hair. In fact, I let it air dry and actually like a bit of what might be referred to as frizz. For me, it's just added body. My feeling is that if hair is clean and shiny, it's gorgeous." — Mathilde Thomas, founder of skin care brand Caudalie

The makeup master "The French girl's beauty approach is all about subtlety and elegant details, which are also key trends of this season. Everything starts with good skin care, good cleansing habits and perfectly moisturised skin. Never a heavy skin look on Madame — tinted moisturisers, light foundations, and highlighters are the French girl's best friend! To finish, she is always chic: wearing a feminine detail with a gorgeous eyeliner or the most perfect red lips ever, like Lady Danger lipstick." — Tom Sapin, M·A·C senior artist

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