French Skincare Secrets from Clarins


I’ve been a big fan of French skincare brand Clarins since I first started writing about the beauty industry many years ago as editor of Cosmetics magazine and a style writer for the National Post newspaper. Having visited the labs in Paris, interviewed the family members and spent time with the head of research and development, I’ve gained an inside understanding of why the brand is so beloved around the world. At first, I thought it was because of the company’s expertise in plant actives, a passion for founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins. But over time, I began to understand that it was also the expertise from their spas around the world that made the products so efficacious. It wasn’t just the products themselves, but how they are used that led to healthy, glowing skin. I thought I’d share some of these techniques, insider tips and spa methods in hopes that you might find them helpful in your daily skincare regimes.


In the days leading up to March 2020, most of our lives were hurtling along at warp speed. The mantra seemed to be “How to pack more into fewer hours in a day.”  Martha Stewart once declared she only slept three hours a night in order to be more productive. But Martha could have taken lessens from a Hollywood actress who took time management to a whole new level. I had the pleasure of interviewing Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria for the launch of her signature fragrance years ago and was shocked to learn that she schedules every minute of every day. “It’s the only way I can get everything done I want to achieve,” she told me eyeing her watch. She would schedule business phone calls from the time she left her car at the studio to the time it took her to walk to her dressing room. Hair and makeup? She scheduled meetings with her agent and publicist. And in between takes on the tv set, she’d study for her business degree. She was the ultimate multi-tasker. And for the record, I was allotted three minutes and thirty seconds for the interview. I can’t imagine how much time she had for skincare in the morning? Her prevailing theory is you could have it all if you maximized efficiencies.

This concept extended into the bathrooms of many North American women who snapped up multi-purpose skincare products that promised to give you 15 more seconds of sleep in the morning. Anything that promised “faster” became bestsellers.

Then the global Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. Our ultra-fast lives screeched to a halt.

Full stop. Lockdowns spread across continents and we were suddenly forced to stop our hectic lives. Many people slowly gained an appreciation for the smaller things in life – taking time to enjoy the moment. Mindfulness became a trending term as gratitude journal sales soared.

Meditation, quiet, yoga practice became daily rituals. And yes, women and men revisited their skincare regimes.

The Beauty of Slowing Down

French women knew the power of slowing down and being in the moment all along.

“It’s important to understand that for French women, the morning and evening skincare regime is a special time to slow down and to self-pamper,” explains Francois, a friend of mine who lives just outside of Paris. “Women take the time to work the products into their skin by gently massaging in upward movements. They will lock the bathroom door, maybe light a scented candle and will take the time to really enjoy their products. Fragrance is very important and they will take this time to slow down and self-care.” And spa treatments are a regular part of life. “Oh yes, visits for regular facials and treatments are considered essential for many, many women. Scented oils, hydrating creams and botanical serums help to create glowing skin.” She says that their makeup maybe minimal, but skincare is very important.

Jacques Courtin-Clarins’ skincare empire began in the spa tradition of France when in 1954 he opened his first Beauty Institute on Rue Tronchet in Paris. A talented masseur, he blended his own treatment oils and applied them using signature methods and motions. This direct contact with customers gave him invaluable insight in what products to create next.

From the beginning, Jacques encouraged his clients to take the time to enjoy their morning and evening skincare routines. This was a time to shut off the world and enjoy the fragrance, texture and feeling of the products. Taking deep breaths and slowly massaging products into your skin could help rejuvenate you and give you new energy.

Tip 1: Take Time for Yourself

The first French skincare secret is to set aside time for yourself morning and night to really enjoy your skincare products. Don’t race through it. Take the time to enjoy the fragrance. Really work the products into your skin. And breathe. This simple step can make a big difference in how you look and feel.

Tip 2: A New Way To Cleanse

Inspired by treatments used at Clarins skin spas, here’s a special cleansing routine that removes, lifts and eliminates all impurities without inflaming or irritating the skin. The key here is that it doesn’t irritate the skin in any way. Thanks to Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins for sharing this method.

1 Begin by warming the cleansing cream in the palm of your hand until it is at skin temperature.

2 Apply the cleanser with the entire surface of your hands by simply patting your hands on your face. Don’t apply any pressure on your face, simply place your hands flat on your face and neck.

3 Pull your hands away as quickly as possible. Repeat this gesture five or six times as the cleaning cream thickens. You will notice this creates a suction which pulls the makeup and impurities off without dislodging or irritating the tissue.

4 Rinse or wipe your face gently.

5 Finish by applying a toning lotion to remove the last residue of the cleansing cream. Applying a lotion is essential as it will rid your skin of the harmful effects of hard water.

Tip 3: How To Best Apply Eye Serums

If you have concerns around the eye area, you might want to incorporate Clarins’ techniques for applying eye serums. After warming the serum in your hands, gently press your fingers under your eyes to help drain any pressure and to gently apply the product. Repeat the gestures above the eyes. Finish by pressing between the eyebrows. This is a technique perfected in the Clarins Spas. Notice there is no rubbing or moving your finger back and forth – all this does is move the product away from where you really need it. Gentle pressing directs the product exactly where you need it.

Tip 4: Always Tighten The Caps On Your Jars & Tubes

Here’s a valuable skincare tip that you don’t read about often: Be sure to always tighten the cap and lid of your products to prevent humidity and air from reaching the formula. This can accelerate oxidation and shorten its lifespan. By tightening the cap, you’ll help your products last longer in peak condition.

Tip 5: How To Best Apply Day & Night Creams

French women understand the importance of hydration in keeping skin looking radiant and healthy. “Water is key to the health of our skin so even anti-aging products are moisture-based,” says Lair. “Our bodies are made of water and use it to communicate between cells – it’s linked to our biology.” She says to always apply products on damp skin to help lock in moisture.

Tip 6: Create A Colourful Plate

“Good nutrition is incredibly important to how our skin looks,” adds Lair. “Our bodies need the nutrients from vegetables, fruits and whole grains. When I travel around the world speaking with influencers and journalists, I recommend they create a colourful plate for their dinner. Incorporate many different coloured vegetables and fruits. The more colourful the better. This will ensure you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.”

Beauty In My Plate book
Beauty In My Plate book

If you are looking for more healthy eating and nutrition tips to make your skin glow, you might want to read Olivier Courtin-Clarins’ “Beauty In My Plate”, available on the Clarins website: (All proceeds go to the Arthritis Foundation).


  • Reply
    Sara Anne VanWormer
    May 1, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    I learned quite a bit ready this article, aside from allowing myself “Me Time”, in the morning and at night, the 3rd tip about applying eye serum was truly inspiring!! Who knew I’d been doing it all wrong for all these years?!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    I love the tip 3, how to apply eye serum warming it between the hands and pressing iz gently. @SpleenDeCouture

  • Reply
    Angela Citrigno
    May 1, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    Dave, thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. I have been using Clarins for about 18 years. Last year I started my night skincare regimen around 10 pm. After reading so many of your #protips that stated we need to let each layer of skincare product rest and absorb at least a minute before apply the next one. I was not doing this. Previously I thought after all each layer would absorb eventually why wait? I was also using way too much product. I thought the more you use the quicker the results. Wrong, it’s wasting your money. I also learned it takes many months before results can truly be achieved. @959angela. I’m going to share this post with my daughters.

  • Reply
    Donna Hewko
    May 1, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    I enjoyed tip number 2. A new way to cleanse. I have been getting burning skin off products and this tip showed me exactly how to apply the product on the face by just placing the hands on the face and using a gentle sucking action to remove the impurities. Then wipe softly with a cloth and use toner.

  • Reply
    Pearl Saban
    May 1, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    I like the tip of tightening the caps on jars and tubes. It will keep the efficacy of the products longer, enabling your skin to remain healthy with the use of the products.

  • Reply
    September Dee
    May 1, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    These are all really good tips. I like number one. Take time for yourself. If you do this then all the other tips will fall into place. It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind of work and doing so much for others but taking time for oneself is very important. A good skincare regimen as well as rest and sleep must be a priority.

  • Reply
    Linda C
    May 1, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    I love Tip 1: Take Time for Yourself. So impartant

  • Reply
    Linda Bragg
    May 1, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    My favorite tip in this article is: Always Tighten The Caps On Your Jars & Tubes. Without doing this, the lifespan will shorten possibly and then the rest is obsolete. One wants fresh products to apply to the skin to get the best results and to be sure to apply properly for a beautiful outcome. @ldystetson101

  • Reply
    Weslie Skelton
    May 1, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    Would surprise my mom, she deserves more than I could ever give her and I’m so blessed that she is my mom. I would love to just make her day!

  • Reply
    Lynn Purchase
    May 1, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    To take time for my well being. And learn how to apply eye care properly. Definitely needed that

  • Reply
    Susann Feuer
    May 1, 2022 at 11:54 am

    The power of slowing down and being in the moment is absolutely something so many of us forget to live by.

  • Reply
    Tony Cruz
    May 1, 2022 at 11:43 am

    My beauty tip of the day is…please use deodorant.

  • Reply
    Carol Harris
    May 1, 2022 at 11:42 am

    I would surprise me because I have no one else to surprise me or to give as a surprise

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 11:09 am

    I really liked the new way to cleanse tips! I’ll be incorporating that technique into my routine.

  • Reply
    Kelly Martin
    May 1, 2022 at 10:42 am

    My favorite tip was how to apply eye serum

  • Reply
    Liz Howard
    May 1, 2022 at 10:36 am

    I learned a new way to cleanse my face, definitely something I am going to try!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 10:24 am

    learned to rinse or wipe your face gently.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 9:53 am

    Take time for yourself. To slow down and recharge.

  • Reply
    Latifa Morrisette
    May 1, 2022 at 9:47 am

    I learned how to appropriately apply eye cream.

  • Reply
    Donna Maslen
    May 1, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Taking the time to actually enjoy morning and evening skin care is key. Also applying creams and lotions to damp skin to lock in moisture is a great tip.

  • Reply
    Jody Farr
    May 1, 2022 at 9:11 am

    I would definitely share the prize of Clarins with my sister in law Roslind. She loves Clarins and is a true beauty inside and out!!

  • Reply
    Catherine Badenhorst
    May 1, 2022 at 9:03 am

    some excellent tips…loved Tip 3: How To Best Apply Eye Serums

  • Reply
    Irene B.
    May 1, 2022 at 8:51 am

    I learned a New Way To Cleanse.

  • Reply
    Aundrea Lauzon
    May 1, 2022 at 8:39 am

    I learned how to properly apply apply eye care in this blog. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jatan Ehrhart
    May 1, 2022 at 8:35 am

    This is just what I needed to read. I myself tend to rush through my morning and night routine and don’t really take my time and enjoy it like I should. It should be my time to slow down, relax and take in the fragrance. This was such a good read and makes me more aware of what I am doing, or in this sense not doing.

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