The French Self-Care Approach

Ever wondered about the French girl self-care approach? Everyone is talking about self-care and for good reason. We’ve all had one of the most stressful years in recent memory and our mental health has undoubtedly suffered. If you’re curious how French girls do self-care, then keep reading. 

French Self-Care

I’m an American girl living in Paris and this is my French girl self-care guide, featuring all the tips I’ve picked up while living in France.

The French notion of self-care is baked into the culture itself. Thanks to the French joie de vivre or ‘joy of living,’ the French practice self-care naturally as they go about their morning routine. Caring for oneself is seen as a sign of respect for those around you. That’s why self-care fits in with the authentic French lifestyle.

Here are a few key French self-care ideas you can adopt yourself, no matter where you live. 

Starting the Day with a Hearty Breakfast

Busy French girls ensure they start their day right with a hearty breakfast meal. Nope, the French cliché isn’t true; French girls do not eat chocolate croissants every day for breakfast. Instead, they opt for something healthy and light. Some ideas for a healthy French breakfast include: 

  • Eggs with toast and avocado
  • A bowl of fruit
  • Plain yogurt with granola
  • Black coffee
  • Matcha tea
  • Tea with lemon

Morning Skincare

A big part of French self-care is having a proper morning skincare routine suited to your skin type. French girls take their skincare routine quite seriously. They typically use a cleanser, serum, and moisturizer to keep their skin healthy and hydrated.

Minimalist Makeup

French girls don’t wear a lot of makeup and typically have just 3-5 makeup essentials in their bathroom cabinets. Makeup can easily clog your pores and isn’t healthy for your skin at all, so while French girls do wear makeup, they keep it as minimal as possible. The everyday French makeup often consists of just concealer, mascara, and a red lip! 

Appreciate Art

France is one of the most artistic countries in the world, and the French truly believe that admiring art nourishes the soul, and thus, the self. Take the time to support the arts you love – whether it’s going to a museum, seeing a new film, or reading a novel

Indulge in Food

The French do everything in moderation including eating their favorite foods and pastries. While they eat whole foods and maintain a balanced French diet the majority of the time, they don’t deprive themselves of the foods they love all the time. Once or twice a week, indulge yourself in your favorite sweet dessert or pastry like the French do and be happy about it! 

Buy Flowers

I have a French friend who buys fresh flowers to decorate her Paris apartment once a week and says it brightens her whole week up. As evidenced by the many Parisian flower markets, the French love to buy flowers for their homes and make them smell divine. 

Light Exercise

Many French women actually bike to work if they can. They also walk as often as possible and avoid taking the car or metro unless it’s absolutely necessary. What I like about the French approach to exercise is that it’s realistic. French girls know that it’s probably too ambitious to force yourself into a heavy workout routine if that’s never been your thing. They are honest with themselves about the amount of exercise they can realistically do and stick with that.

Nightly Skincare

French girls don’t wait until the very end of the day to remove their makeup and risk becoming too tired to do it at all. Instead, they remove their makeup and apply a night cream right when they get home for the evening. Part of French self-care is realizing that makeup doesn’t do any good for clear skin so if you’re back home for the day, you might as well remove it as soon as you can! Be sure to follow up with a good French night cream like the Clarins Extra-Firming Night Cream.

French Loungewear

The French have started to wear more comfortable loungewear at home to make sure they’re feeling cozy, especially in winter! While many French girls wear cozy cashmere joggers or thick cotton loungewear pants, others opt for the elegance of a silk robe or silk slip (nuisette) to stay chic while hanging out at home. Whatever your preferred lingerie or loungewear is, find it and enjoy wearing it at home, even if you live alone! Self-care involves feeling great no matter who is watching or not. 


French makeup artist Violette has said that Transcendental meditation keeps her grounded and gets her through the difficult parts of life. Meditating is a great way to practice French wellness of the mind. 


“Infusion” is the French tea of choice for evening self-care. The French often drink an infusion after their evening meal to help them digest and relax. 

Calming Night Routine

French girls get into the habit of creating a nightly wind-down routine which might include reading or relaxing before bed without electronics. 

They light candles before bed to relax their eyes. They might take a bath with a glass of wine, too. They also put on calming music to listen to.

All of this helps ensure that they get adequate and quality sleep – about 8 hours is ideal. 

Sunday Self-Care

Sunday is the one day in France where most shops and restaurants are closed (except in touristy parts of town), so most French girls use this day as their dedicated “self-care” day. They do facials, exfoliating body scrubs, and apply hair masks to make sure they’re in great shape for the week ahead.

In essence, French self-care is about doing what makes you happy. While we can’t do exactly what we want all the time, the French set aside time to do what pleases them at least once or twice a week.

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