GETTING AT THE JE NE SAIS QUOI OF FRENCH GIRL SKIN CARE

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What’s in our Beauty Cabinet? Well for starters, a lot of good stuff from cult-fave label French Girl. These small-batch, handmade products have a signature French je ne sais quoi that’s hard to resist. Eager to learn more about the woman behind it all, we chatted with founder Kristeen Griffin-Grimes about her beauty go-tos, how looking good starts with feeling good and a life-changing trip to the south of France.

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Talk to us about your personal French connection. How does your family history translate into inspiration for your line?

My mother was a jazz vocalist from New Orleans and that New World Cajun culture was venerated in my house. I knew that my ancestry was French, but it wasn’t until my husband and I visited the province of Languedoc that I had a kind of aha moment—eating and drinking with the scent of jasmine on a sunbaked wall wafting around us. That was it for me, I was home. Soon after, we started running wine tours in the region and I published a few knitting books under the brand “French Girl Knits.” The skin care component launched in 2010.

We’re of the mind that looking good has a lot to do with feeling good. Do you think the ingredients in the products we choose play a role in that?

Definitely. I’ve always felt connected to flowers and scents, not just for their beauty, but for their therapeutic uses. The white lavender in our Madewell exclusive Lumiere Body Oil soothes the nervous system, so it’s perfect for busy, stressful times (hello, holiday shopping!). Scent has the ability to remind us of the past and keep us in the present—and being present is one of the most important parts of feeling good!

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Let’s take some of the mystery out of that whole I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-but-still-look-amazing “French girl” vibe. What are some must-haves for an easy, understated beauty routine?

Well, our French Girl loves herself first and aims to enhance what she already has. That said, the vibe is all about natural skin, touchable hair and a classic red lip (I always go with our Lip Tint in Cerise). The Rose Facial Polish keeps my skin smooth without the use of harsh chemicals, and I love layering on some Crème Fraîche right after—it’s the perfect dose of hydration for fall and winter skin. Oh, and a good bath is everything.

What about those nights when you want to amp up your look a bit (we’re thinking all those holiday parties coming up)? Is there anything special you use to get ready?

I start with one of our Sea Polishes for a decadent scrub that leaves my skin silky and smooth. I follow that up with Lumiere Body Oil in Moonlight or Bronzing on my collarbone, legs and arms for a nice evening glow. Then I use our Rose Lip Polish for a perfect pucker and a red Lip Tint on top of course.

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If you had to sum up what your brand is about in 5 words or less, what would you say? 

French girls love life!

Merci, Kristeen. Ready to try your own French Girl routine? Come take a peek inside our Beauty Cabinet.