Mais Oui

French Beauty Tips from Third-Generation Expert Clémence von Mueffling

The author and beauty expert will be at the Florida Poodle Rescue's fundraiser Nov. 5 at Michael's On East. In the meantime, she's spilling her style secrets.

By Heather Dunhill September 7, 2018

A new book shares the coveted secrets to French-girl beauty.

Image: Shutterstock

Clémence von Mueffling has beauty in her DNA—both her mother and grandmother were French Vogue beauty editors. And von Mueffling has carried on the family legacy with her wildly successful online beauty magazine, Beauty and Well Being, as well as a new book, Ageless Beauty the French Way: Secrets from Three Generations of French Beauty Editors.

Clemence von Mueffling

Von Mueffling was born and raised in Paris. After finishing her business degree in the City of Lights, she held positions in marketing at Clarins, Puig and Dior. From there, she made her way to New York City, bringing her mother and grandmother's wisdom and insider tips. She shares these in her book in age-specific categories—Jeunesse (20-35), Plénitude (35-55), and Maturité (55-plus), creating a cool-girl reference guide that any woman can use throughout her life.

And Sarasota, make note: von Mueffling will be sharing insider beauty tips and signing copies of her book at Florida Poodle Rescue's "Puttin' On the Poodle" fundraiser at Michael's On East on November 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Individual tickets start at $85 and include a hardcover, signed copy of von Mueffling's book. Tickets can be purchased online here, or by calling (941) 356-6798.

In the meantime, here's a preview of what to expect.

What’s rule No. 1 when it comes to French beauty?

In France, women don’t fight their age, but rather try to become the best possible version of themselves; they want to enhance their best features. Instead of trying to look younger, they take measures to look their best for where they are in life. French women know that it is about the whole package, about being your best self.  I always say, “it’s better to look great for your age than to look no age at all.” 

With a mother and grandmother privy to the best in the beauty industry, what insight did they share?

To this day, we all share the newest beauty tips we’re trying. My mother and grandmother taught me that there is a certain discipline required for beauty. Self-care needs to become a ritual and a regular part of your life, and that's not about vanity. If you look good, you feel good, and, in turn, you have more self-confidence in your everyday life, in everything from your work to your relationships.

I learned that good skin is the result of good hygiene, whether it is cleansing your face well at night, staying away from heavy foundations that clog pores, sleeping well or eating healthy—and if you can add a smile to it, even better.

Ageless Beauty the French Way: Secrets from Three Generations of French Beauty Editors, by Clemence von Mueffling

As an American woman, I always think French femmes have it all figured out.  What would surprise us about how French women care for themselves?

French women are a bit kinder to themselves. They believe in maturing gracefully and tend to be more accepting of their age. French women are not looking for perfect skin, just great skin. In America, I see more of a quest for perfection, and that can be unattainable and frustrating. French women just want to enhance their best features.

If we peeked at your vanity, what skincare products would we find?

A cleanser (Caudalie, Alexandra Soveral, Kiehl’s), a toner (Bioderma, Filorga), a spray of Avène thermal water and cotton pads; nice cotton pads make such a difference. I use hydrophilic cottons, as they are softer and more absorbent.

I also always have a moisturizer, some self-tanning wipes from Comodynes, and a dry face oil, such as the one from Alexandra Soveral, for nighttime.

How about color?

My favorite makeup products are a concealer by Chantecaille and a tinted serum from By Terry that gives me a fabulous glow all day, mixed with Sisley Instant Éclat.  I usually mix and match products that give me the best results. Mixing the foundation together with a complexion enhancer, such as the Sisley Instant Éclat, adds a sheen that gives me more radiant skin. I also love Chantecaille or Chanel's black mascara, and Guerlain Terracotta Light Powder.

And haircare?

A good hairbrush by Mason Pearson. It's one of my absolute "can't-live-without" products. This is one instance where quality makes all the difference. I opted years ago for the one that features a mixture of nylon that is completely smooth and does not cause friction or breakage with natural boar bristles. 

And lastly, please fill in the blank.  When it comes to beauty, more women should know about these 3 key skincare rules:

  1. Don’t over-scrub or exfoliate too much. It makes your skin worse in the long run. Think of treating the skin on your face as you would your favorite silk blouse: treat it delicately, like a precious, sensitive object.
  2. People underestimate the power of massage. You'd be amazed how much you can improve the quality of your face by massaging it regularly. It will tone the skin, improve circulation, and minimize lines. And best of all, it’s free.  You can also improve your skin’s appearance on other parts of the body, such as your legs, your feet, and your décolleté by massaging them.
  3. I have a tried-and-true beauty ritual I teach in the book that will guarantee your skin to glow like it never has before: double cleanse your face. This ritual 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.
  4. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Even the smallest changes to your beauty routine can make a difference and are something to feel good about.
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