“Charlotte Gainsbourg. Jane Birkin. Betty Catroux. French women have always had that nonchalance to their hair, that devil-may-care attitude. It looks like it’s been slept in or like maybe you didn’t wash it for a few days,” says hairstylist Guido Palau who was busy zipping from one backstage to the next) of the flyaway style favored by front-row fixtures from Emmanuelle Alt to Joséphine de la Baume.
According to Paris-based model Caroline de Maigret, who wore her signature rumpled hair with a lamb’s wool–trimmed Chanel coat to the house’s Tuesday morning show the style’s distinctive appeal lies in its understated cool. “French women always want to look more smart than beautiful,” she says, musing on the national preference for lived-in, effortless, artfully laissez-faire strands. “If you’re spending two hours under the hair dryer, when do you have time to read?”
In the interest of looking more cerebral—and, inexplicably, sexier at the same time—we asked de Maigret for her guide to scoring the look. “It’s very easy really, and there are actually some tricks,” she says of paring down the strategy to five simple rules.
Rule #1: “The more supermarket the shampoo, the better the hair looks,” says de Maigret, who uses Pantene or L’Oréal Elsève. “I don’t know why, it just does. Wash it once in the morning, not twice, like they do at the hair salon.”
Rule #2: “French women never put conditioner in the hair. It makes it straight and flat.”
Rule #3: “After you get out of the shower, don’t touch it. No hair dryer, nothing. You just let the air do it naturally.”
Rule #4: “Don’t brush. Also, you know, Parisian girls walk a lot, which makes the hair a little messy from the wind. If you’re going to go outside and have it get messy anyway, it’s better to just not brush it from the beginning.”
Rule #5: “Sometimes if you put some dry shampoo, it gives a cool texture—instead of washing it every day. I wash my hair every two days. I know. It’s really too much.”
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