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5 Biggest Beauty Lessons I Learned in France

A little red lipstick, and a lot of red wine, helped me channel my inner Parisienne.
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During a recent trip to Paris and the French Riviera (my first time in the country!), I knew I wanted to do all of the touristy things, like visit the Eiffel Tower and the famed Monaco casinos. I've also always admired French women for their effortless beauty, so I was excited to see if I could bottle some of their magic for myself while in Europe. Here are the five biggest French beauty tips I learned during my vacation.

Image via Imaxtree

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A Solid Skin Care Routine Is a Must

Fact: French women take skin care seriously. So one of my favorite parts of my trip was visiting a French "pharmacie," stocked with brands like Nuxe, Embryolisse, Avene, Bioderma, and La Roche-Posay. Unlike in America, where we have the tendency to over-cleanse and scrub our faces until they're raw in an effort to get clearer skin, the French take a gentler approach. They tend to prefer cleansing with micellar water and using gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers. I quickly adopted this less-is-more philosophy with the goodies I bought, including the cult favorites Bioderma Sensibio H2O, $14.90, and Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, $16. Of course, I made sure to follow up with SPF (another French girl must-have) every morning. I didn't experience one breakout during my travels, even though I got my period, so I'd say the French have got it right when it comes to skin care.

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A Swipe of Red Lipstick Will Instantly Make You Look Chic

In general, French women like to keep their makeup pretty simple. That said, they do love a red lip. So I hit up a Sephora in Paris (the store's home city) and bought a Sephora Collection Rouge Lacquer in Survivor, $13, to fit in with the locals. During the day, the only makeup I wore was a coat of mascara and a tinted lip balm, but at night I broke out my red lipstick and paired it with another French style staple: the striped T-shirt.

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You Don't Have to Fuss Too Much on Your Hair

Now that I'm in my 30s, I finally understand the appeal of messy hair — something French women have embraced forever. Who has the time to spend obsessing over their hair? Instead of trying to straighten my wavy hair into submission, I rocked my natural texture and let go of my worries about whether or not my mane looked "perfect." I took a break from blow-drying and let my hair air dry instead, capturing that carefree look synonymous with French beauty. As a bonus: The time I saved on my hair gave me more time to explore the sights! (Here I am in Monaco, showing off my natural waves.)

Image via Gregory Leporati

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Red Wine Is Good for Your Glow...

Go into any French restaurant and you'll find a long list of red wines to pair with your meal. Given how affordable wine is in France (seriously, why is it so much more expensive here in the US?), I gulped down vin with lunch and dinner. (Here I am in red lipstick, wearing a red-striped shirt, enjoying a glass of red wine in Paris.)

I suspect my new drinking habit (coupled with the new skin care products I hauled) had something to do with my glowing skin: After all, as a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy notes, resveratrol, a compound in red wine, has major antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial benefits.

Image via Gregory Leporati

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