When you land in the City of Lights you will be awestruck to gaze upon a place where almost everything seems to have fallen in place. You’ll find structures depicting unparalleled architectural ingenuity, mouth-watering food, and fashion at its best the overall charming culture and above all, the beautiful women. What you may not know is what the beholders of such beauty have endured.

Paris, and by extension France, has been known as the fashion capital of the world, the City of Lights and a plethora of other pseudonyms, due to the creativity of its people and their love of opulence. It then goes without saying that, in a country that is famed for fashion and designs, an immense amount of pressure is put on its female population to “look the part”, as it were.

French beauty routine
A French woman doing her daily beauty routine.

The quintessential vision of French beauty has been referred by some writers as effortless. They are expected to look stunning and put a lot of effort on it, while still maintaining an easy, natural and understated style. Furthermore, it’s not negotiable; the standards have already been set. On the other hand, you may indeed look at it as effortless, since French women themselves have become accustomed to looking this way and it’s now embedded in their blood – a French woman simply has a natural flair for beauty.

French women will be the first to admit that the routine and constant practice to perfect the art of maintaining personal beauty is tough going. They equate beauty to sports where you become a pro after constant practice and hard work.

French makeup artist
A french girl looking great with her huge makeup collection.

French women will tell you their routine starts early; they are taught art and art history early in school. They start being exposed to paintings, architecture, sculptures, beauty, etc. early in life. In fact, parents pass it down to their kids. Even when going out to play with peers, young girls have to go through a detailed beautification process. Young girls’ attire is prepared well in advance to fit the following day’s event and it’s the mother’s duty to make sure their daughters look the part. Once honed, beauty never departs the French woman, even in her later life; you’ll commonly see ladies of 80+ years taking great care of their skin and posture.

Women from this part of the world are also taught not to broadcast what they do to look good to the world. On the other side, the fact that they are taught to take care of themselves for themselves from a tender age, they grow up knowing what’s best for their skin, hair and body, together with the latest fashion trends, which makes it easy for them to handle their own personal beauty, thereby lowering the cost.

But it is not all as glamorous as it looks. Some have come to admit the pressure to look ideal – an ideal most women have not defined for themselves – is sometimes unbearable. One woman admitted to having suffered greatly for beauty; the pressure starts from home and extends out into wider society. She narrates how she had to endure criticism from her mother any time she wanted to be herself and had to revert to the long, arduous process of complying with beauty standards in order to fit in with general society.

So, you may be idolizing a French woman across the street, but you never know what goes behind the scene, or the tears that have been shed for them to look so glamorous.