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
    Jeannine Bouchard
    May 7, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    Take time for yourself is the best tip!

  • Reply
    Julie B.
    May 7, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    The best Clarins tip is Take Time for Yourself!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    Tighten the caps! Wow, this often times is overlooked. I loved this. So informative! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Donna Kozar
    May 7, 2022 at 11:53 am

    I like that evening skincare regime is a special time to slow down and to self-pamper,”

  • Reply
    anna f
    May 7, 2022 at 11:26 am

    I love Create a Colorful plate. It gave me some wonderful ideas.

  • Reply
    Sumaira Khan
    May 7, 2022 at 12:40 am

    My favorite tip is take time for yourself

  • Reply
    Jen L
    May 6, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    I will use Tip2 a new way to cleanse tonight! Looks like it will work very well.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks I like the tip about How To Best Apply Eye Serums.

  • Reply
    Sandy Weinstein
    May 6, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    i love the tip about how to apply the eye serums. i was afraid if i warmed them up in my hands they would absorb in my hands and not on my eyes.

    • Reply
      Barbara Pacific
      May 7, 2022 at 4:35 am

      Take time for yourself

  • Reply
    Heidi Borchardt
    May 6, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    So informative and interesting.
    Thank you.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2022 at 7:41 am

    Oh wow! Tip 4: Always Tighten The Caps On Your Jars & Tubes is something that I never thought much about, but totally makes sense!

  • Reply
    Rajee Pandi
    May 6, 2022 at 3:40 am

    I love how to apply eye serums

  • Reply
    Dana Miller
    May 5, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    This really impressed upon me to be present and incorporate me time morning and night during the skincare routine. To enjoy it with all the senses! Thank you for the tips on applying eye serums. Now I learned the best way to apply. I will start tonight with gentle pressure.

  • Reply
    Jenn Ruemper
    May 5, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Love the patting tips for the face wash and eye cream! @jruempe

  • Reply
    Rania R.
    May 5, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    How To Best Apply Eye Serums. Great tip.

  • Reply
    Karen Hanley
    May 5, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    Great tips, I’ve been a fan of Clarins from the beginning, I loved their body products when I was young (still do) the bath/shower products smell gorgeous & the body oils & lotions are sublime! Skincare, beautiful, make up & fragrances all wonderful! ❤️

  • Reply
    Urmi P
    May 5, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Such great tips!! Loved reading it. Finding joy in slowing down and really indulging in a few moments for self care is a beautiful thought!! I fully abide by it 💕

  • Reply
    Wendy Johnson
    May 5, 2022 at 9:29 am

    I love Clarins but my pocketbook doesn’t! I would love to have every product made

  • Reply
    Carolyn W
    May 5, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Finish by pressing between the eyebrows when putting on eye serums. I never thought of that.

  • Reply
    Tandi Caldwell
    May 5, 2022 at 6:27 am

    Wonderful tips! I’m going to try these!

  • Reply
    ELENA GRIGORAS Bakogiannis
    May 5, 2022 at 4:11 am

    I like the tip about How To Best Apply Eye Serums.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Shields
    May 4, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    Love the double eye serum

  • Reply
    Regina Chappell
    May 4, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    Love to slow down with my evening skincare routine

  • Reply
    May 4, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    I like the tip about How To Best Apply Eye Serums. I didn’t know about warming it in my hands.

  • Reply
    Loris Ayoub
    May 4, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    I find that the more I see articles or people on social media with tips on skin care, it helps me get up and do it too,

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