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§Caroline De Maigret: Parisian Beauty Rules

CAROLINE DE MAIGRET is beautiful, stylish and very, very French, so naturally we have long held her beauty advice in very high regard. With a role as Lancôme's Parisian Muse announced in July and a new book, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, out this month, it seems we're not the only ones. Here, just in time for Paris Fashion Week, de Maigret shares her ultimate beauty advice - from the power of sexiness to the importance of flaws and, of course, how to approach make-up in a way that's utterly and undeniably French.

Don't be afraid of being sexy

Why are British women scared of the word "sexy"? Parisians, we put our sexiness in our make-up and hair. We don't dress sexily, we don't expose cleavage. There's something in the game. Of course it depends which man you want to attract. One thing that makes me feel sexy is to wear a lot of mascara. Brown mascara during the day because it's softer, and then darker at night. That's very French.

Learn what suits you

Make-up that's eccentric is just not my style - for me its job is to outline and to flatter who you are. I'm creating my own collection with Lancôme for next year and it's me bringing together everything I've learned about make-up and what works, through my years of modelling and just in life. I'm waiting for my prototypes so I don't have to buy make-up again! I know what suits me - the textures, the colours - and they're letting me make all of those things. I want the collection to be timeless, like a cashmere sweater.

Identify your make-up staples and find perfect versions of each

I know what suits me. I use a lot of mascara and Lancôme has a new one which I love: Grandiose. It is odd to use at first because it has a curved wand, but it's really cool - it stops me getting it everywhere. And it doesn't flake - I use layers and layers of mascara and when it flakes, it's hell. For lips I really like Lancôme's L'Absolu Rouge lipsticks or the Baume In Love balms. They're glossy but they don't have sparkle in them. I don't like sparkle.

Exercise moderation in make-up

If you do a red lip, only wear mascara. No eyeshadow. I think the French woman is all about moderation. As with her clothes, she would always exaggerate one thing. Either you'd have smoky eyes, or eyeliner, or a lip… it wouldn't be French to do everything at the same time. You have to make people believe you did it in the rear window of a car. You don't want everyone to think you took two hours to do your make-up.

Skin is the most important thing

Skin is really important. You'll notice that Parisian women don't wear so much foundation but we do protect our skin a lot. A lot of creams, serums, eye creams. And always cleanse at night - even when you're drunk, even when you come back at three in the morning. I think in France, skincare is one of the luxuries where women close their eyes to the price. I have always felt that my skin is the most important fabric - it's for life! I use SPF even in winter. When I was a child, I would steal my mother's creams from her shelf and use them. It made me feel like a woman for a second. It's part of our culture. I love Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, I use it in the morning and at night. My pores appear so much more refined.

With hair, do whatever you want

Personally I wash my hair every day - I know it's bad. I feel dirty if I don't. I buy supermarket shampoo - I use L'Oréal Paris Elvive because it smells good. I use no conditioner whatsoever. Conditioner makes the hair smooth. If you don't use conditioner you keep your volume. I let my hair air dry and then I scrunch it up. At the weekend I do put a mask on my hair because I feel bad about not conditioning. Usually I'd put a mask on my face while the hair mask is on, but then I have to hide from my son.

Embrace your flaws

Some people seem to put their fantasy of 'the ideal woman' onto the Parisian woman, while the Parisian woman doesn't have an ideal. Maybe the key is to let go and be ok with who you are rather than fantasising about perfection. You can't be perfect. You will only end up always frustrated in life. I have a big nose and that's ok. As long as I'm ok with it, people won't see it as a bad thing. I'll balance it with more eye make-up! Play with who you are. I like that about Parisian women.

Caroline de Maigret joins Lancôme as their Parisian Muse. All products mentioned available at

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