Wednesday, January 30, 2013

french hair

Along with the cooly chic clothes and the radiant skin free of obvious makeup, French women leave their (often long, often brunette) hair undone. I've long admired the look but couldn't pull it off. If you want your unbrushed tresses to look effortless as opposed to crazy, your hair has to be in tip-top shape, and mine was not. So Caroline de Maigret's tips in a article (below) for attaining that French look is as much about how to care for your hair as it is about how to style it. The gist? Don't wash it too much, don't touch it, and don't brush it.

“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.” 

[full article here]


  1. How about those of us who have been punished with natually curly/wavy/frizzy/thin hair? (I don't even know what to call it...)
    I find my hair looks best the day I'm sick in bed - go figure.
    Maybe I need a better cut?

    Glad you are back :)

  2. I do all the three rules of don't wash it too much, don't touch it too much and don't brush it. I don't look remotely French and nonchalant :o(

    However, I am currently having a few bad hair days so tomorrow I will do as per the instructions above, supermarket shampoo, leave off the conditioner which the hairdresser is always berating me for not using enough of, leave it to air dry and see what frizz monster emerges from the house. It could be quite scary but it's worth a try.

  3. lol. I hate hair articles. they seem to forget that everyone has different hair. you would think I would be able to follow the rules being that I have naturally wavy hair, but I was to follow them I would have the biggest, frizziest hair that should not be seen out in public.

  4. Cats I think I have your hair! Although with the hormone surge with the baby, I found that my hair's texture has changed. It's improved somewhat, but it still doesn't really look "French" in any way. BUT, I have found that not brushing or touching my hair does help it relax. Especially if you are prone to frizziness due to a wavy texture, that tip might help. Everything I've read to handle frizziness advises you to not touch your hair once you exit the shower. Funnily enough, my boyfriend has been doing those things forever because he finds that it gets his hair in the way he likes.

    Sue, LOL. Let us know how it goes.

    Caroline, you might be right. This is probably another version of those things beautiful girls say, "who me? I don't wear makeup or wash my face ever or do anything to my hair. I'm just naturally beautiful." But if your hair is naturally wavy, I should think that not touching it while it dries would help it. No?

    1. Do you know what - there might be something in that mad method. Today, I've had the best hair day in two weeks. Now I just need a decent hair cut!

    2. Oh! That's so interesting! I'm glad that it worked out for you.

    3. Ok, so get pregnant you say? ;)

      I really need to comb it though... Once it dries I don't do anything. My problem is that because of the thinness it gets greasy near the scalp and looks disgusting on the second day. On weekends I sometimes dry shampoo depending on what we are doing, like today - I did, but we were only going to the hardware store. I know people who can get away with only washing their hair once a week!

    4. Yes! Your hair will grow thick and lustrous during pregnancy because of all the estrogen. Usually it falls out afterward, but not all of it.

      My hair is very thin, too. I slowly weaned myself off of daily shampoos, but I still wash it once every two or three days. You might try simply rinsing it on the second day. Rinse it, massaging your scalp with your fingers. Make sure your water is at least warm to help break up some of the oils. That's what I do, but I'm planning to make a few hair rinse concoctions as soon as some essential oils arrive in the mail. (I've suddenly become obsessed with homemade beauty products)

  5. they presume we all have straight hair that does not need blowdrying into some kind of order or taming! After blowdrying my hair is currently similar to the C.Poesy style......left to nature I have a sort of 2 foot halo of healthy yet unmanageable frizz.

    nice to see you posting again x

  6. Ooh, I love French Hair. But I do all those things already and I don't look like Clemence... Hmm. Unfair.

  7. Oh how I love Clemence. Thanks for posting this!