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
    Stephanie McKendree
    May 4, 2022 at 7:46 am

    Always use Clarins Instant Smooth even if you don’t wear makeup. You will look great and therefore feel great!

  • Reply
    Janice Stark
    May 4, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Tip #3 How To Best Apply Eye Serums is my favourite tip. I tend to rub back & forth and I really need to change the way I apply my eye serum — thanks for the great information!

  • Reply
    Ann Thomas
    May 4, 2022 at 3:05 am

    Well, you know what ? I think all the suggestions were great . But making sure you eat well is the most important. And ofcourse lots and lots of water ! Excellent skincare is the icing on the cake after that. Consistency is KEY! Much love ❤️
    @anntomaz (private)
    @hanahs3rdi (public account) on Instagram

  • Reply
    Ann Thomas
    May 4, 2022 at 2:52 am

    Well, you know what ? I think all the suggestions were great . But making sure you eat well is the most important. And ofcourse lots and lots of water ! Excellent skincare is the icing on the cake after that. Consistency is KEY! Much love ❤️

  • Reply
    Gina N.
    May 4, 2022 at 2:03 am

    These are secrets that should definitely be shared, so thank you for posting. Each of these beauty tips are so beneficial to ones overall well-being too.

  • Reply
    Sima Chawda-bell
    May 4, 2022 at 1:47 am

    Take time for yourself, this really is one of the best one

  • Reply
    May 3, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    My favorite tip is “the power of slowing down and being in the moment”. I actually do that quite often, and seeing it here gives me permission- and the freedom- to be a sloth! 🙂

  • Reply
    Anie Robitaille
    May 3, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    4 – Rince or wipe your face gently

    I am always really careful with my skin!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Oh geesh! My mom told me this one years ago and I forgot!! Tip 5: How To Best Apply Day & Night Creams apply on damp skin to help keep moisture in!! I’m starting today…and forever. 🌷🌷🌷

  • Reply
    Catherine Robichaud
    May 3, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    Tip #3 How To Best Apply Eye Serums is my favourite tip. It makes sense and I will give it a try!

  • Reply
    Liesje marie fennimore
    May 3, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    #1 taking time for myself has never been my #1 in 56 yrs I have always been told to take care of grandparents parents family always told me I was selfish to be focused on myself & now they have all passed away & I am left to realize I gotta make up for lost time & take care of me beginning now

  • Reply
    Diane Lauzon
    May 3, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    The thing about Clarins skincare is the amazing quality and thoughtfulness they take toward women’s needs. Clarins believes in helping women achieve a ritual in their skincare. The finest ingredients are used, so I have learned to take my time and really enjoy my me time at night when I take my makeup off. Clarins offers something for all of us. I love that their face most for setting my makeup comes in a glass bottle. It makes setting my makeup all the more special and the most smells divine as well! I would gift my sister in-law Sandy with the other prize pack. She works hard and rarely takes the time to treat herself and I know she’d adore receiving some products from Clarins!

  • Reply
    Kelsey L.
    May 3, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    I didn’t realize that applying product to moistened skin would allow for better absorption! Great tip!

  • Reply
    debbie piercey
    May 3, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    There are so many great tips ! make sure your jars are tightly sealed to prevent the product spoiling,something i will now be more aware of! @happygardener46

  • Reply
    May 3, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Gently pressing in the eye serum is my favourite tip!

  • Reply
    Velma Sandry
    May 3, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    I’m a huge believer in the philosophy of self care and agree emphatically with the adage of making special time to slow down and to self-pamper. Clarins have such delicious products to make that time even better. @velma_sandry

  • Reply
    Natalie V
    May 3, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Create a colourful palate is my fave. I need to branch out from my black and white!

  • Reply
    Barbara L. Wallace
    May 3, 2022 at 11:54 am

    My bedtime skincare routine is a valued end to my day, ensuring clean and hydrated skin and always a way to relax and prepare for a good nights sleep.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2022 at 11:49 am

    really embracing slowing down and meditation to de-stress! stress really accelerates signs of aging on the skin and health!

  • Reply
    Cynthia Moreau
    May 3, 2022 at 11:49 am


  • Reply
    Ava MacKinnon
    May 3, 2022 at 11:42 am

    Take time for yourself!

  • Reply
    Rhonda Hagy miller
    May 3, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Slow down!! Don’t sweat the small stuff!

    • Reply
      Ellen c
      May 3, 2022 at 7:37 pm

      Self care has always been hard for me even as I got older.ive been trying this year on working hard on is going good not perfect but better and more enjoyable than I thought.better late than never

  • Reply
    Lori Dunphy
    May 3, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Always close your caps or products tightly @DunphyLori

    • Reply
      Varsha Kukreja
      May 3, 2022 at 11:43 am

      This article is really informative. Now I know that it’s necessary to keep the tube and jars shut of skincare stuff. And I really like the idea to take you time to take care of your skincare

  • Reply
    Mary Songer
    May 3, 2022 at 1:14 am

    There are so many great tips in this post. I had never heard about making sure your jars are tightly sealed to prevent the product spoiling. @LabRat517

  • Reply
    May L
    May 3, 2022 at 12:12 am

    The slowing down tip is very important and is a great way to destress

    • Reply
      Claire Murden
      May 3, 2022 at 5:38 am

      I’ve been embracing taking time for myself. I’ve really enjoyed spending longer on my morning and evening skincare routine, whereas before it’s always been less consistent. It’s so relaxing spending a few more minutes ensuring everything is applied correctly 💗

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