differences between American and French beauty

7 Key Differences Between American and French Beauty

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When it comes to picking a beauty regimen to follow, choosing between American and French beauty can be hard to decide. Both beauty routines can offer you a fabulous look, so which one should you pick? Choosing the best beauty routine is a personal journey as it all depends on your lifestyle and interests. But to help you choose, here are the key differences between American and French beauty!

1. French Beauty is About Highlighting Existing Features

The French follow a “less is more” approach not only to fashion but to their beauty as well. They often use minimal products to effortlessly enhance their natural features, rather than to completely alter their faces.

They prefer tinted moisturizers or lightweight foundations that give a skin-like finish. As for the lips, French women either use lightly tinted lip balm or a deep berry lipstick that is matte and not overly glossy.

While…American Women Strive for Perfection

In America, makeup is typically used as a tool to achieve a flawless look. It involves creating features people may not have.

Americans use makeup techniques like heavy contouring to make their nose appear smaller or to create the illusion of a sharp jawline.

And don’t forget tattooing eyebrows for a fuller look or using eyeliner to create faux freckles, all techniques that have started to dominate the beauty industry in North America.

In this way, an American beauty routine is for you if you prefer to have a flawless finish instead of a carefree look.

2. The French Tend to Use Non-Polluting Products

The French love to use fresh and organic produce in their meals, so it is not surprising that they favor makeup products that are clean and eco-friendly too!

You can find plenty of green and non-polluting beauty products in French pharmacies or beauty retailers. Makeup and skincare brands like Caudalie, Bioderma, and Avène are just three of the many beauty favorites you can expect to find on a French girl’s beauty counter.

But not only do they opt for cleaner products, but they also choose products specifically targeted to help with keeping their skin clear. Big cities like Paris tend to have a lot of toxins, smoke, and dirt in the air. This can easily clog your pores. Those that find themselves living in a big metropolis favor products designed to keep their pores clear.

While…Americans Focus on Poreless and Flawless Skin

Though the clean beauty movement is taking off and more people are paying attention to what it’s in their products, clean beauty is still not at the forefront of most women’s minds yet.

Americans don’t tend to focus as much on keeping pores clean from toxins as much as Parisians do (unless they live in a big city).

While most French people are trying to protect their skin from environmental damage, Americans tend to focus on acne-free, poreless, and flawless skin.

3. The French are Loyal to Their Favorite Beauty Products

The French stick to their tried-and-true skincare routines. Unlike Americans, they are not as into changing their skincare regimen with the most trendy products.

French women would rather be loyal to the skincare products that have never failed them rather than add anything new.

Additionally, French girls keep their skincare regimen simple. You will probably never find their beauty table scattered with too many products or their vanity stuffed to the brim with overflowing products from numerous brands.

They only have a few essentials that are picked based on quality rather than hype. It is also common to see them use one of their products for other uses as well!

This is shown by the way French girls use their go-to makeup remover: Bioderma micellar water. French girls love this product so much that they not only use it for removing makeup but also as a cleanser.

Lipstick for French women also has a lot of uses. It’s not only for adding color to the lips; a red rose pink or nude lipstick is used as a blush for the cheeks and eyeshadow too.

While…Americans are Eager to Try Trendy Beauty Products

Americans are more willing to try the latest makeup and skincare products based on influencer hype or viral videos from Instagram and TikTok, while the French tend to choose products based on the advice they get from their mother or grandmother.

Red carpet and celebrity beauty also influence American women’s buying decisions. For instance, many beauty lovers in America have been emulating the statement beauty moments from the MET Gala and sharing their inspired looks on social platforms like Instagram for others to copy too.

If you get bored of using the same products and experimenting sounds fun to you, then you probably lean more towards an American beauty routine.

4. French Women Keep it Simple

Just like in their wardrobe, French women keep things simple. Not much changes when it comes to beauty either. Whether it’s a simple technique, a subtle look, or even the fact that they don’t like to accumulate too many products, it’s all about keeping it uncomplicated.

They don’t mind using their fingers to apply their foundation either. A bonus to keeping it simple is that it doesn’t take as much time doing their makeup because they use a few products for everything.

While…Americans Use a lot of Products at Once

Americans love to mix in a variety of products in their beauty regimen and tend to have a lot of beauty tools. From beauty blenders to different-sized eyeshadow brushes to lip brushes, an American woman’s makeup bag is usually overflowing!

Not only that, but American beauty enthusiasts use many different makeup products on their faces and this can make getting ready a little longer.

Related: My Minimalist Makeup Collection & 5 Minute Simple Yet Polished Makeup Routine!

5. French Women Have a Relaxed Approach to Their Hair

A beautiful French girl’s hairstyle does not take too much time and effort. French women tend to wash their hair less than American women.

When they wash their hair, they tend not to use a hairdryer. Instead, they air-dry it to achieve gorgeous naturally-dried hair. You also won’t find a French woman straightening their hair because they prefer to have a messy yet chic hairstyle. This is why you will see a lot of French girls let their hair fall past their faces effortlessly.

To give their tresses a healthy-looking texture, French women treat their hair once a week with hair masks and oils. French women don’t dye or highlight their hair as much either.

While…Americans Put in a lot of Effort to Have Flawless Hair

American women love investing in several high-end hair styling tools like Dyson to achieve the perfect hair.

Americans are also into switching their hair colors into bold and statement styles.

If you love dreaming up new ways to style your hair or new bold colors to try, then a French beauty routine is probably not for you.

6. French Women Don’t Use Cosmetic Procedures On Their Face (As Much)

Yes, French women do get plastic surgery, but not as much as in America. (The USA is the top country that gets cosmetic procedures done.)

The French do not obsess over getting cosmetic procedures done to their face as much because they prefer to look very natural and age gracefully. (Or if they do, it is not an obvious change and it’s very hush-hush.)

Not only do they use minimal makeup products to maintain themselves, but they also believe in having a healthy diet as a good way of getting a better version of themselves.

While…Americans Are Okay With Doing Cosmetic Procedures

America leads the way in procedures and plastic surgery is normalized here. Transforming your appearance is praised and glamourized. And though I believe in a woman doing what it takes to feel confident in her own skin, American marketing can go too far at times, making women feel bad about themselves and then promoting cosmetic culture at the same time.

Americans don’t mind spending money on getting dramatically different facial features to get the “perfect” beauty look. This may include temporary procedures like lip fillers and botox to even a brow lift, nose job, cheek filler…the list goes on.

7. French Women are Not Vocal About Their Beauty Routines

French women do not admit how much work they put into their beauty routines. They want to give the impression that looking good was an effortless thing they did that day, instead of breaking it down step by step and broadcasting it.

While…Americans are Very Open

Americans are not shy about how long they take to get their hair, makeup, and skincare done. They don’t mind sharing where they got their hair done or showing off how much effort they put into achieving a sophisticated beauty look.

Filming makeup and skincare routines and posting them on the internet is common in America too.

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If you marvel at both American and French beauty but are unsure which one to follow, this list of the key differences between American and French beauty will help you!

Do you prefer the no-makeup-makeup look and a simple approach to beauty? Then French beauty may be a good fit for you.

If your makeup is filled with bold beauty products and you love experimenting and shaking things up, then perhaps American beauty is calling your name!

If you lean towards a French beauty routine, then find out all you need to know in The French Girl Beauty Guide for Effortlessly Beautiful Skin!

differences between American & French beauty


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.