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David Jones

Skincare secrets from the French Facialist

There's a certain something about the French way of living. From dressing to dieting to romance, they're done so with an effortless style and aplomb that only the French seem to possess. Thankfully, they don't mind sharing their secrets, and renowned French facialist Christine Clais has revealed the key to French beauty. 

Image credit, from left to right: Simon Strong; @penguinbookaus Instagram

In her recently released book, French Complexion, Christine presents her unique skincare philosophy based on more than twenty years of hands-on professional experience and the beauty secrets of her countrywomen. 

Here we chat to her about her six-minute daily skincare routine, the skincare essential French women can't live without, and why cosmetic surgery should be a last resort.

Winter weather is here and it's wreaked havoc on our skin! What do you recommend to keep our skin healthy and happy?

Winter weather – and central heating - strips the skin of moisture. My rule of thumb is to use hydrating and nourishing serums more often to keep your skin protected against harsh conditions in the cooler months.

What you need to achieve glowing French skin?

There’s a common misconception that to attain glowing skin you must invest a lot of time (and money). Untrue! However, our skin does require a minimum level of tender loving care. Six minutes is all you need daily - which isn’t long when you consider skin is the body’s largest organ - to ensure protection from the elements (including the sun) and assist its proper functioning. 

Here's my recommendation for a quick, low-maintenance skincare routine:


Step 1: Cleanse face, neck and décolletage (60 seconds max). Shop cleansers.
Step 2: Apply eye gel/cream to the eye contour area (30 seconds max). Shop eye gels and creams.
Step 3: Apply face cream/sunscreen to face, neck and décolletage (90 seconds max). Shop face creams.

Step 1: Cleanse face, neck and décolletage (90 seconds max). Shop cleansers.
Step 2: Apply eye gel/cream to the eye contour area (30 seconds max). Shop eye gels and creams.
Step 3: Apply face cream to face, neck and décolletage (60 seconds max). Shop face creams.

What do French women do for their skincare that Australian women don’t?

French women absolutely love facial masks. Once or twice a week, they religiously cover their skin with carefully selected products: a green clay mask when their skin breaks out, a rich and creamy one in winter, or a brightening formula before a romantic rendezvous. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to treat your face. My tips are to make sure to give adequate time for the mask to work its magic can make a world of difference. If need be, you can use different masks on various parts of your face to treat specific skin concerns e.g. absorbing excess oil from the T-zone and hydrating everywhere else.

What's your take on cosmetic surgery?

As a professional facialist, I believe that cosmetic work should never be considered as a skincare approach, but rather as a last resort when everything else has failed to make you love the way you look. I have countless clients who were seriously considering getting jabbed by a needle before they first started seeing me: they felt old and rugged and wanted to look younger. But by committing to my skincare approach (which includes following a good skincare routine), they were not only able to improve their skin, but also change their self image, thus eliminating or delaying the compulsion to visit a cosmetic clinic.

What are three skincare products can’t you live without?

Read more tips from the book, French Complexion.

Shop skincare.