10 years ago by

The tale of my sometimes desperate attempts to achieve that easy, didn’t even try a little bit, cool, effortless, Parisienne hair…

It’s been quite the hair journey. My borderline obsession with the summer beach waves has turned into a full-blown obsession with the perfectly messy, ultra cool French girl hair. You know me, always wanting what I can’t and don’t have on my head…

Who have I been looking to for inspiration and encouragement? Lolita Jacobs, Emmanuelle Alt, Lou Doillon and Caroline de Maigret (and an honorable mention goes to Jared Leto, who isn’t French, but has really great hair lately).

I would say that I’ve dedicated the last… six months to trying to Frenchify my hair. Of course, you’re probably like, “What about that lovely French woman you work for? Can’t she help you?”

Answer: Not really. She’s curly and short and while it’s still very French, her tips don’t apply to my stick straight, boob-length hair.

So here, I present to you: everything I’ve tried thus far on my quest for ultra French hair…

1. The Spray, Mousse and Blow Dry: When I first started doing this combination, adding a volume mousse to wet hair, spraying with a sea salt spray and blow drying I really thought I had it. My hair had a slightly touseled look. I thought it was pretty effortless (three steps, not so bad) but my hair felt, well, pretty gross. No surprise there because I was putting salt in my hair and then shocking it with hot air. I had my hair cut one day and the stylist looked at me and said, “What is in your hair!?” I took that as a sign this was not the way to French girl hair. (I also realized that if I wanted to have one of those super passionate, hand through the hair makeout sessions, it wouldn’t be possible with all of these products in my hair. His hand would get stuck, it would probably gross him out and then I would have to go back on Tinder.)

2. The Spray, Dry and Curl: I ended up looking more like a Victoria’s Secret Angel than a Vogue editor during this trial. I would spray my hair when wet, dry it and then go to it with a wide barrel curling iron, in hopes of curling just the right random pieces. Turns out, I don’t do random curling all that well, so I ended up with a full head of loose curls and we all know, Gisele isn’t French. Step away from the hot tools…

3. The Spray and Bun:This one seemed like the easiest, so I was sure it was going to work. I added a salt spray to damp hair, twisted it into a bun and let it dry before undoing the bun with fingers crossed I’d have Blue Crush meets de Maigret hair. I ended up more often than not with a terrible knot to battle, which made this one actually fairly difficult (unless you have loads of time to devote to detangling).

4. The Spray, Twist and Pin: My best friend, who also happens to be my roommate, made the most fun of me for this one. I’d spray my hair with salt spray when damp and then twist it in to two sections which I would secure together with a hair tie just under my chin. My hope was that they would dry while twisted and then when I shook them out I’d look just like Lolita Jacobs. I looked more like a crazy person with a bad goatee. On to the next…

5. The Spray and Spray Again: This is the closest I may ever come. I spray my hair when damp with salt spray. It dries pretty fast, so about 10 minutes before I leave my house, I spray it again. This time I’m using a dry texturizer (right now I like Amika and Oribe) and it’s kind of, almost, really really close to being French. If I am brave enough to not wash my hair the next day (baby steps) it looks really good. For me, I have to sleep with my hair down, not up, for the best results.

I was feeling pretty confident until I came across this on Instagram. REALLY?!


THE WIND? ALL I NEED IS WIND?! It’s a conspiracy. It has to be.

So Frenchies, what are your tips? Do I need to come to terms with the fact that this just isn’t going to happen for me? Is it something in your water? Please, help!


Add yours
  • What spray do you put in your hair? Bumble & bumble surf?

  • Right now I am using the Balmain Texturizing Spray (I like it because it doesn’t smell like I just got back from the beach) and I also use John Masters Organics Sea Salt Spray!

  • allow me to share: you wash your hair before bedtime. you go to sleep w/out drying it in any way. in the morning you’ll have natural looking hair, just like you wanted. try it! :)


  • I’m not French but I’ve been blessed with natural “French girl” hair. My hair tends to do beachy, easy waves without much effort on my part.

    The best advice I can give to get this? Stop putting so much product in your hair! Clean, no-sulfate shampoo and light conditioner (i.e. Not Pantene), no blow drying, salon trips to clean up split ends, and occasional hair masks will create the look (I do one once every couple months). The more you mess with your hair, the more you destroy its natural texture.

    Not so great news for all these hair product makers though =P

  • Agree! I too have found the best results for lived-in-yet-clean-looking hair is to skip the product altogether and invest in good shampoo/conditioner. Saves $$ and bathroom storage space too…

    p.s. The #4 twist one was hilarious!

  • Alexandra August, 16 2014, 4:21

    Yes and yes!!!

  • J’aime bien sur les autres, mais je préfère quand mes cheveux sont bien raides (parce qu’ils sont ondulés, bien sûr!)
    La photo de Lou Doillon est superbe!

  • En tant que française aux cheveux baguettes comme les tiens je n’ai qu’un conseil à te donner : pas de shampoing trop régulier ! La journée du shampoing tes cheveux seront lisses et soyeux à l’américaine (moi c’est ma journée queue de cheval genre Vanessa Traina), le lendemain, sans shampoing, une journée un poil venteuse (oui, c’est la meilleure des astuces le vent) et une nuit de sommeil, tes cheveux seront cool à la française (avec un petit pshitt d’eau de mer avant de se coucher pour exagérer le processus pourquoi pas) !

  • This is what I noticed in Paris and it was impossibly chic and completely easy:

    French girls don’t fight too much with the texture of their hair. They get a great cut and make the most of their assets.

    I have the finest limpest hair around and not too much of it. I have done everything you can imagine to make it appear thicker and fuller (the very best product for this kind of hair by the way is redken power grip 03). One day in Paris shopping around Coste hotel I started to notice a couple other girls with fine limp hair. Their hair hung lank around their shoulders. It hadn’t been tortured with a round brush, and blown dry within an inch of its life, and sprayed with God knows what. It was hair the hair they were born with and it looked fantastic. And truthfully, you can tell when a girl is really fighting with her hair. It’s straightened when it should be curly, or filled with product to make it look fuller. I think most chic is being comfortable with what you have. And that’s the real reason I think French girls are more chic than American. They are simply less tortured by what they haven’t got (ok, I’m generalizing completely).

    And my husband said, See? I always told you you look better with your hair the way it is naturally.

  • Beth, you are completely right. Couldn’t have describe it better and I’m french:) we just don’t do as much in our hair than Americans do.

  • Barbara March, 19 2014, 2:16

    A good haircut is key.! Subtly layered for natural tangles.

  • Delphine March, 19 2014, 9:36 / Reply

    French girl hair routine? NOTHING!
    wash and go
    or wash and go to bed if you want volume,
    definitely no mousse, none of this time consuming routine !
    good luck Alex xxx

  • asianfreak March, 19 2014, 9:36 / Reply

    Je fais mon shampoing le soir, et je me couche sans les sécher.
    Le matin, ils sont propres, décoifés mais avec ma nature de cheveux raides mais quand même un peu souple, c’est parfait: je me passe les mains dans les cheveux et c’est bon.

    bon courage Alex

  • I agree with Asianfreak and agree with Delphine BUT Paris is so humid that my hair swells up and doubles in volume but not in a nice way…it goes all puffy and weird and in uneven places…I suppose that the dyed hair reacts in one way and the non dyed hair reacts in another so I end up with crazy woman hair

    have yet to find the perfect way to keep it unpuffy

    and agree that americans wash their hair too often and put too much stuff on it .

    I am right now in Madrid and my hair looks perfect because the air is so dry here…..but as soon as I hit CDG next week it will look less good again


  • Clotilde March, 19 2014, 9:40 / Reply

    Je ne suis pas sûre d’avoir complètement compris ce que tu voulais, mais ce qui marche pour moi qui ai aussi les cheveux longs, c’est de se coucher avec les cheveux mouillés. Ils sèchent sans être entraînés par leur poids, donc ils sont plus ondulés (les miens sont carrément bouclés si je fais ça).

  • You really don’t have to do all that! The essence of the Paris Style is the less you do the better it will look, so just wash your hair with a basic shampoo, let them dry (no hairdryer) and voila !

  • Theresa March, 19 2014, 9:44 / Reply

    The whole time I was reading this, all I could think was, uh oh Alex must have straight, glossy, manageable hair. Good luck. It’s easy for us ladies who are born with low shine, non uniform waves and a bit of frizz–in that case one just goes to sleep with wet hair. (This post actually makes me feel okay about my lot.)

    I’ve heard of something called Redken Wool Shake–I’ve heard good things, but never tried it due to my hair already looking a bit like wool, lol. I vote for bangs, if you don’t already have them:)


  • Theresa- I had bangs once, it was not my best look…haha! But I’m interested in trying the Wool Shake! Thank you! xo Alex

  • emilie Z March, 19 2014, 9:44 / Reply

    Moi, parisienne blonde aux cheveux comme des baguettes, le meilleur conseil je l’ai chopé dans l’interview d’une actrice française, Marie Gillain, qui racontait qu’elle se couchait avec les cheveux encore humide (en les relevant sur l’oreiller)… La matin, comme après une balade le long de la mer!
    Mais désormais j’ai coupé mes cheveux, un carré flou, version Alexa Chung, c’est beaucoup beaucoup plus facile à maîtriser!
    Mais je te rassure les parisiennes mettent aussi un temps dingue le matin pour avoir l’air décoiffées! celles qui te disent que non sont de vilaines menteuses.

  • Gabrielle March, 19 2014, 9:02

    Marie Gillain est une actrice Belge :)

  • melaone March, 19 2014, 9:45 / Reply

    Like said before in the comments: be lazy… shampoo 3 times/week, DO NOT brush, maybe you can use a comb but only if there is a large space between each tooth. and let dry freely…! Good luck!

  • ensourdine March, 19 2014, 9:54 / Reply

    I second the above comments/advices. Although not being French (though currently living in Paris), I have never had any trouble making my hair look tussled and full-body. The only secret is to “not” make it. Everything mentioned above is correct — less product, no more than necessary wash, less brushing, less tempering, and, believe it or not, less touching. If one wants an effortless hair look one has to put less effort except for the basic routine for the wellbeing and health. I never blow dry my hair, and I even forego the step of conditioning. As for brushing, I only brush the root of my hair when it’s nearly dry. And it’s true, to let the wind blow through your tresses without worrying it immediately afterward with spray and brush is the must. Going through your day with your work and life without thinking too much of your hair is the best tip to achieve this “style”.

  • Eleonora March, 19 2014, 9:58 / Reply

    Ce qui fonctionne pour moi est de me mettre simplement une écharpe avec mes cheveux humides coincés dedans… Par je ne sais quel miracle, ça fonctionne parfaitement ! Et quand il y a du vent ça tient toute la journée :)

  • Alex, thank you for this post. I understand you so well ! Although I’m French I tried every single trick you mentioned in your post. Everyone is babbling about the Toni and Guy sea salt mist and I just can’t figure out how I should use it. The best technique for me is to spend time in my homeland of Brittany (west coast of France, home of the breton shirt) : lots of wind, frequent rain and a je ne said quoi in the atmosphere that make my hair slightly curly, shiny and very French.

  • I’m french but haven’t got the “French hair” like those ladies (my hair is red and curly) but the only thing I would recommend you is to do less shampoo and no brushing … And yes I do think that wind is great to make your hair more “texturized”
    But you should think “NATUREL” Alex (and I’m sure your hair is beautiful without all this stuff!!)
    (sorry for my poor english..)

  • J’ai le cheveu français raide coiffé-décoiffé: mon secret??? Je ne fais rien, sinon un shampoing 2 fois par semaine, et je les brosse souvent. Si je les lave le soir, les brosse douvement et les laisse sécher pendant la nuit, ils seront légèrement ondulés “en mèches” le matin. Au final, pas très excitant d’un point de vue cosmétique, hein?

  • i’m not french either but i’ve got a natural wave to my hair. i wash it every 3 or 4 days with sulfate free shampoo + condition. i throw it on top of my head and go to bed. in the morning, i use a little oribe dry texture in the crown area for some lift and let it fly free! et voila :)

  • Completely agree with all the ladies above: wash 3 times a week, very little or no product, air-dry, and sleep with it a little bit wet. If your hair is very straight, brush as infrequently as possible without letting it all go to knots. Good luck!

  • Hello Alex,
    Exactement ce que j’ai pensé en lisant les premières lignes de ton article: la solution c’est ce maudit vent parisien!!
    Et puis l’eau est calcaire à Paris ce qui rend les cheveux un peu plus “paille” et qui fait que calcaire + vent = cheveux fous à la parisienne

    Pour ma part j’ai à peu près les mêmes cheveux que Caroline de Maigret sur la photo quand je me balade dans la rue, c’est à dire toujours en vrac. Pourtant je rêve d’une chevelure lisse soyeuse et parfaitement disciplinée
    Comme quoi on est jamais content de ce qu’on a

    Viens essayer l’eau calcaire et le vent parisien :)

  • Eileen- Will you send me a bottle of Parisian water?! ;)

  • Alex,
    Come to Paris, much more funny that sending you a bottle of parisian water ;)
    And you will try to dry your hair under the parisian wind
    I’m sure your hair will be as perfect as you want :)

  • hi G team, I appreciate the byline on posts, but could you make it a bit bolder? Or larger? Merci!

  • I like this type of hairstyles!!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • as a french girl blessed with that sort of hair (and long) , all i can say is : Less is more!
    Literally, i brush my hair before shampoo, then put in in a messy bun while it dries and then tadaa, i won’t touch it for two days!
    (i have to admit i also stay far away from products that tend to make my hair appear thin and too neat, unfortunately like a lot of conditioners)

  • Pour les cheveux ” à la française”, sexy et un peu sauvages (moui, rien que ça ;-)) à mon avis c’est le “less is more” qui convient. Moins c’est apprêté, plus c’est brouillon, flou (limite emmêlé) mieux c’est. Moi, je les lave très simplement, pas d’après shampoing, je démêle, un rapide coup de séchoir (mais j’arrête avant qu’ils soient complètement secs pour qu’ils gardent un mouvement naturel et surtout pour les préserver de la surchauffe). Parfois deux gouttes d’huile (bien réparties dans la paume des mains) sur les pointes pour nourrir et définir les mèches, parfois je triche un peu avec un spray effet eau de mer. Quand j’attache, je crêpe souvent parce que je n’aime pas avoir les cheveux trop lissés et que c’est plus facile pour faire tenir un chignon un peu flou…

  • Alex is sooo American:).. Let your hair be they want to be.

  • Hello Alex,
    Je n’ai pas spécialement de conseil à partager, si ce n’est d’essayer d’accepter ta nature de cheveux et de trouver une coupe qui les valorise et ne te demande pas un produit spécial, un séchage spécial ou un soir de pleine lune pour qu’ils prennent LA forme attendue … et encore si la météo est clémente … on ne peut pas changer sa nature de cheveux, sauf en l’abimant, donc à réserver pour certaines occasions seulement. Par exemple l’eau de mer assèche les cheveux, à terme … :(

    Pendant près de 10 ans j’ai essayé de changer ma nature de cheveux en les lissant, mon idéal de coupe c’étaient des coupes qui n’étaient pas du tout applicables à ma nature de cheveux, bref, tout ce que j’ai fait pendant ces années n’a fait que dégrader la nature de mes cheveux que j’ai dû couper radicalement il y a un an.
    Et malgré que depuis je n’ai jamais retoucher à un lisseur ou à un sèche-cheveux et que j’en ai pris grand soin, il me reste encore des longueurs abimées et cela me fait beaucoup de peine, pour le moment je ne peux rien en faire et j’en viens à espérer que les dégats ne soient pas irréversibles…

    Aujourd’hui, plutôt que de chercher l’impossible, j’essaie plutôt de consacrer mes efforts à chercher une coupe qui conviendra à ma nature de cheveux et ne me demandera pas de la dénaturer et de l’abimer pour obtenir un résultat correct (et encore, les astuces ne marchent pas à tous les coups!). Bref, s’accepter :)

    Je te souhaite bonne chance dans ta quête !

  • Il faut dire que l’eau est très calcaire à Paris #astuce

  • c marant par ce quand je suis a paris je suis entouree par tous les feuj de neuilly alors elles ont tous des brushing! mais j’adore le “french hair” naturel!


  • The wind?!?!?! :D I love this but I’ve got curly hair…no hope to me!

    Original and really low cost accessories on lowbudget-lowcost Fashion Blog

  • Moi j’arrive à avoir les cheveux comme la jeune fille de la première photo en utilisant Boucles d’Art de Kérastase sur cheveux humides. Ensuite séchage tête en bas avec un gros diffuseur sur sèche cheveux.
    L’avantage de ce produit c’est qu’une fois que tes cheveux sont parfaitement secs il n’y a aucun effet carton comme avec une mousse coiffante ordinaire.
    Et surtout le lendemain il suffit de remettre une noix de produit sur cheveux, reséchage tête en bas et hop c’est reparti pour une journée.
    par contre c’est assez honéreux à la longue, la bouteille ayant une durée de vie d’à peine un mois.

    N.B : à la base je n’ai pas du tout les cheveux raides donc je ne garantis pas le résultat sur tout le monde

  • L’eau calcaire participe beaucoup à ce “parisian style”! Sinon shampoing et après shampoing léger (Les produits Klorane sont le top selon moi) et séchage au sèche cheveux, tête en bas mais sans brosse, en 5 minutes chrono juste pour le petit côté coiffé-décoiffé souple et cool :) !

  • haha Jared Leto makes it look so so easy!
    the wet hair + mousse sometimes does it :)
    xo Belen, Androbel Insider

  • Charlotte March, 19 2014, 10:47 / Reply

    The secret to French hair… don’t put to much product on and don’t wash it everyday…..

  • raphaëlle March, 19 2014, 10:52 / Reply

    1. No product ever.
    2. A good haircut. Tell your hairdresser you need something very easy going.
    3. Don’t brush them, don’t dry them. If you really want to brush them, do it while they are still wet. Then, don’t brush them until your next shampoo. Fingers in the hair when they are about to be dry.
    4. Wind on the streets, draft in the subway, heating in the bus, everything will do them good.
    5. Voilà.

  • dormir sur cheveux humide ;-)

  • Salut Alex,
    Alors mon conseil serait de les couper un peu, car s’ils sont épais et longs, impossibles d’avoir le négligé. Tu les dégrades sur les pointes pour permettre les ondulations et tu les sèches à moitié et les laisses à l’air libre. Tu ne les brosses que quand ils sont mouillés.
    Le vrai secret c”est de ne pas s’en occuper… :)
    bonne chance!

  • My advice exactly. French girls don’t wear their hair that long…

  • It’s definitely just the aura of Paris that makes hair be that “French way.” I’ve tried everything I can to look effortless, yet done. It’s a French thing, I guess.
    Your Friend, Jess

  • moustachic March, 19 2014, 11:01 / Reply

    been wanting to get bangs since forever……!love iT!


  • Caroline March, 19 2014, 11:05 / Reply

    I’m Parisian, I have no idea whether my hair is special, but I know I don’t wash it much, I never use any product in it and I go to see a very expensive and complicated hairdresser every now and then so that my hair looks natural. So good luck Alex, and remember that French girls don’t usually have very long hair!

  • Kathleen March, 19 2014, 11:56

    This is interesting Caroline, I hadn’t ever thought about it but now that you say this it does seem that very long hair is rare in the pictures I see of French women. Why is that? Is very long hair considered sort of childlike? Or just too much to mess around with, given the preference for low maintenance? Not sure if you will see this but if you do I’d love to hear more. Thanks!

  • Caroline March, 19 2014, 12:28

    Hey Kathleen, I think very long hair simply isn’t done in France… I guess it’s considered neither pretty (very long hair is considered a bit creepy, actually), or cool, or easy to look after. Maybe the hair dresser lobby also has something to do about it?

  • I get your point. But don’t Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg (both of whom epitomize French girl hair) have very long hair? Or are they the exception to the rule?

  • I am french and as the others comments have said : do nothing with your hair ! I wash them three times a week, let them dry without a hair dryer and that’s all !
    Letting your hair wet while you sleep is a really great tip also ;)

    Good luck ! Best thing is to do nothing :)

  • Delphine March, 19 2014, 11:07 / Reply

    Less is more!

    Je fais juste un shampoing, parfois suivi d’un masque, en général la tête en bas pour bien décoller les racines et laver le cuir chevelu.

    Pas de produits coiffants.

    Je laisse sécher à l’air libre. Parfois un peu de sèche-cheveux en hiver, toujours la tête en bas.

    Et je ne fais un shampoing que tous les 2 ou 3 jours. Je préfère souvent mes cheveux le lendemain du shampoing.

    Et voilà!


  • I get French girl hair with my thick, course Asian hair by adding hair serum after towel-drying and flat ironing; then finishing off with Caudalie Divine Oil applied mid-shaft down. Finger-comb only. This lasts me 2-3 days.

    Hope you find your answer!

  • I also have great success with the Divine Oil after towel-drying and slight finger-combing- and yes, it lasts two to three days!

  • Well, my hair is curly, so I’m effed! If the secret is to not put product in…just see what happens to my hair. :(

    Shani x
    She Dreams in Perfect French

  • Stephanie March, 19 2014, 11:17 / Reply

    Ok, I am half French, but not born in France, does that matter to you? :-) My tips are having a little bit dirty hair – French people don’t wash their hair so often-(if you are worried about grease, maybe use a dry shampoo). Also, you could braid it into medium sized braids before you go to bed at night and spray with hair spray. The hair I covet is the girl from that French film (in English) “Goodbye, First Love.” Her hair is so French! But I just don’t have beautiful waves like that – so braiding will at least do it for a day. Also, part of the French girl mystique is using the best assets of themselves to shine – so if you have stick straight hair (as some French girls do too) perhaps consider getting a chic cut that accentuates your straight hair.

  • I think it comes down to having the right cut for your hair type. Maybe boob-length isn’t the best for you? Maybe try a shoulder-length “bob” with soft layers. That might free it up a little bit. I’m not a pro, so don’t take my word for it, it’s just a thought!

  • Julie- I think you are on to something, I definitely could use a hair cut refresh! xo Alex

  • I think to best way to be happy is to not think about what you don’t have. These girls don’t try anything. It’s natural!

    Just Embrace yourself instead of trying to be like somebody else :)


  • While I do agree that the true Parisian way is to wear your hair as natural as possible. You could try this…
    I got this volumizing spray from aveda that I spray at my roots, you can blow dry just your roots or your whole head then just put some argan oil or coconut oil on the ends. Once it’s dry I take big chuncks of hair and twist them then press that with a hot iron. This creates a nice soft curl. Then u ca spray with a volumizing spray that isn’t too harsh.
    This isn’t a quick get up and go way of going about. But it works for me.

  • Alexandra March, 19 2014, 11:24 / Reply

    I have naturally wavy hair, bra strap length. A little shampoo. I like phyto products. A hazelnut amount of creme rinse. And here’s the most important part- scrunch wetness out of hair with a microfibre towel. No brushing, no combing on a regular basis. I do it at night so it flattens a bit overnight- I have loads of hair!

  • Bumble & Bumble Spray of course, and then I do 4 very loose braids on wet hair before going to bed. Next morning, I undo everything, and I shake my head upside down. This is my perfect routine. Good luck!

  • Love your blog Garance, I wish you could make videos on youtube again :)


  • I’m not French, but I have French hair. Everyone tells me so. I think the secret in your case would be to just condition without washing and put in some egg whites. Then, when you do wash, which should be only twice a week at most, definitely don’t blow dry. If you drive a car on the way to work, try hanging your head out the window. But you live in NY, so probably no car. Maybe jog with your hair wet or something. Good luck! (Also, maybe eat pastries in the morning instead of eggs.)

  • Rebecca- I definitely like this idea of eating pastries in the morning…

  • L'épingle March, 19 2014, 11:38 / Reply

    Je dors la tête en bas.

    Non, je déconne. Je lave mes cheveux (qui sont très raides mais jamais longs) avec un truc qui n’est pas du tout du shampooing, mais un savon liquide glycériné (normalement) utilisé en pédiatrie ou en gériatrie (soit je suis un peu attardée, soit je prends de l’avance, je ne sais pas). Je les laisse sécher naturellement en les décollant du crâne avec les doigts.
    Ce produit ne mousse pas beaucoup, ça fait drôle les premières fois, et il ne donne pas la même sensation sous les doigts au rinçage. Mais le résultat, c’est que les cheveux ne sont pas décapés comme avec la plus part des shampooings et sont nerveux comme j’aime. Pour ce qui est de la fréquence, c’est quand l’envie m’en prend.

  • Je suis moi aussi française, et je confirme tout ce qu’ont dit mes compatriotes : je me lave les cheveux 2, maximum 3 fois par semaine. Comme je prends ma douche le soir, l’idéal est d’absorber le maximum d’eau avec la serviette, de les rendre un peu fous et de dormir comme ça. Résultat garanti le lendemain matin ! A éviter quand il fait trop froid tout de même. Je mets le moins de produits possible sur mes cheveux, éventuellement un peu de produit hydratant (vraiment un tout petit peu) s’ils sont secs, ou un peu de spray eau de mer si le volume est retombé (quoi qu’un bon chignon fait à la va-vite qu’on laisse pendant quelques heures fonctionne bien aussi). Et voila! (ok, l’eau calcaire doit aider un peu)
    Par contre tu ne peux pas être une inconditionnelle du cheveux parfaitement démêlé ET vouloir des cheveux un peu fous. C’est simplement incompatible.

  • I’m not French, nor do I live in Paris, BUT I live in Rome and was battling my hair until my most recent trip to Paris when I discovered, oh! what was a mess in Rome was super cool in Paris. From my experience the contributing factors to French hair (or, my French-looking hair) are: 50% wind; 40% all the minerals in the water; 10% haircut.

  • C’est drôle je suis parisienne et j’ai des cheveux de parisiennes : raides, souples et toujours emmêlés…
    Depuis que je vis à NYC, je RÊVE littéralement d’avoir les cheveux sublimes et soyeux des américaines… que je n’aurais jamais ! Comme quoi nous ne sommes jamais contentes :)

  • I think a lot of girls whish they have your type of hair! My best advice for you: comb your hair once, after the shower, NEVER COMB THEM DRY and let them “breathe”! Bon courage

  • En tant que francaise je peux te confirmer que ma technique c’est le sea salt mais pas trop puis sechage a la va vite en chemin pour le boulot. Au debut je trouvais aussi le sea salt un peu degueu mais il ne fait pas trop en mettre et applique le la tete en bas.

    Aussi pas mal, ne te lave pas les cheveux tous les jours a l’americaine, essaie le shampoing sec en spray puis brossage tete en bas.

  • Alexandra March, 19 2014, 12:07 / Reply

    Oops, forgot to say that I get my hair cut by a stylist who knows wavy, curly hair. She does it dry! Personally, I think everyone that wants the french look should get their hair cut like that. Even bone straight. I mean, you don’t wear your hair wet.

  • I’m not French, but I would also say that going as natural as you can is key. I’ve gone ‘no poo’ myself and for the first time I’m starting to like my natural hair, i.e. it looks more French than before. It’s really hard, too, though.
    As for your bun method, I use it too, I just comb my hair before I twist them in a bun, and I don’t see much tangling.

    I would love to see a picture of your hair, and of you, actually! I would so like to see all of you from the studio!

  • Less is more as regards hair… I just dry mine and that’s it! Never blow dry them and I just use a quick Dove mask after my shampoo and I’m done.

  • Well.. All I would say is that it’s pretty true that Paris is a rather windy city.. Have you tried biking to work ? You’ll get that wind+sweat effect in your hair !

  • Marimorue March, 19 2014, 12:46 / Reply

    J’ai posé la même question à ma coiffeuse hier. Sa réponse : effilage des pointes (léger), appliquer un peu de pâte modelante sur cheveux mouillés, ne jamais démêler sauf en cas de situation critique, ne pas sécher la tête en bas ! (ok tout le contraire de ce que je faisais). Séchage à température élevée mais vitesse minimale du sèche cheveux et surtout avec un DIFFUSEUR de chaleur. Il faut aspirer les cheveux dans le diffuseur puis les froisser à la main. Le résultat était incroyable et je n’ai pas encore fait de deuxième shampoing tellement ça tient bien :)

  • French hair is so easy! No blow dry, no products (except shampoo and conditioner / mask that you rince). Don’t wash everyday. And yes Paris’ water+wind are so horrible that it must have a little to do with it.

  • Sunny Side March, 19 2014, 1:00 / Reply

    Alex j’avais des cheveux comme toi, longs et raides. Et le bonheur c’était au bord de la mer l’humidité et le vent leur donnaient une allure géniale. Trouve un appart en bord de mer Red Hook or City island … ?

  • Coucou Alex !

    Arrête de dépenser une fortune pour des produits qui ne servent à rien (definitly not French)
    Trouve une bonne coupe (pas trop longue sinon ça les plombe)
    Utilise le shampoing le plus basique de la Terre (genre DOP ou Petit Marseillais)
    Lave les tous les deux jours GRAND MAX
    Ne te brosse pas les cheveux
    SURTOUT pas d’après-shampoing (sinon bonjour les baguettes)
    Pas de séchoir

    En gros : fais en le MOINS possible et laisse les vivre ;)

    Tiens nous au courant et montre nous des photo !

    Good luck !


    Water in Paris is super hard. Completly changes the texture of your hair. I have great hair in Paris and when I go back to Canada I end up with a flat limp mess of hair that looks like a mink coat. Not good.

    Hard water gives hair texture, it’s great !
    Plus a bit of wind and not caring too much

  • i agree my hair looks great in Paris…it has weight….NYC soft and it great as well …florida the worst…water very important I am a hairdresser water and weather makes a difference thx

  • Le meilleur conseil: Ne rien faire !
    J’ai un carré blond, mi-long est flou et less is more est ma ligne de conduite.
    Je me lave les cheveux une à deux fois par semaine, en utilisant des produits hydratants, bio et naturel.
    Je n’utilise jamais de sèche cheveux, je laisse mes cheveux sécher naturellement, parfois je les relève en bun, et c’est tout ! Rien d’autre !
    Plus on s’espace du jour du shampoing, plus les cheveux ont cet effet cool à la française, décoiffé-sexy !

    Bonne chance Alex :)

  • Alex, just embrace and enjoy what you have! I’m sure it is beautiful.

  • The water content plays a huge role in hair. My hair always looks great in Paris because of the water. Also, if you have very thin hair I would recommend not conditioning at all. You probably don’t need it. Finally I’m sure you know this but the longer your hair is the more weighed down it will be, and the less volume, waves you will have. Maybe a good haircut is in your future?

  • I’m french my hair are also really thin and I do nothing, I try not to dry them with warm air and let them dry with the wind ! I think Wind it is the right answer and when you’re living near the sea, it’s also salt ;-)

  • After years of trying I can offer one bit of advice. If you fight your hair, it will always win. Figure out what your hair wants to do, then learn to love it.

  • YES! And a good hair salon will always be glad to help!

  • I love love the Bumble&bumble surf set, but it too makes my hair so dry :(

  • En résumé Exit le sèche cheveux!!! normalement, c’est LA solution comme l’ont souligné les compatriotes

  • Try braiding your hair before bed, one large or 2 medium braids not too tight.. I wake up with nice waves usually…

  • Bumble and bumble texture cream… Blow dry to 90% dryness then high bun for an hour or so. Works everytime, my friend.

  • La solution c’est avoir un excellent coiffeur, tu lui dis que tu veux une coupe pas prise de tête, que tu ne sais pas te coiffer et que tu aimerais que tes cheveux se placent tout seuls : )

  • katherine March, 19 2014, 2:01 / Reply

    Alex, I too have been searching for this, and here is what I have found works for me. I cut my hair from bra strap length to just under the shoulders. I have some layers – a few – but not above my chin. My hair has body and is not stick straight, so layers make sense.

    The cut helps, but here is what I do: wash every three days or so. Comb not brush, and when it’s damp, twist little sections and let it dry. Maybe 15 sections or so. When it’s mostly dry run your fingers through and you have the perfect french wave. Not too much, not too little.

    I do agree with everyone though. Go with a cut that suits your hair and your face and simplify! Good luck!

  • I spray sea salt- I use Herbivore Botanicals- throughout the middle of my hair and finger twist my hair into sections. I then use a Tigi Bed Head Spoil Me Defrizzer hairspray on the crown of my head in an effort to tame stray flyaways and springtime new baby hairs. Works pretty well!


  • Melissa March, 19 2014, 2:06 / Reply

    Why all the salt spray? Try a styling whip.

  • Stéphanie March, 19 2014, 2:22 / Reply

    j’ai fait couper mes cheveux la fds dernière parce que j’en avais plein le bas du dos des cheveux qui ont cet air là! L’impression qu’ils finissent par casser, sont impossibles à démêler, toujours dans le vent (au sens propre). Mais bon, ma technique, c’est la procrastination. Pour des cheveux jusqu’au creux du dos, laver et éponger mais ne pas sécher, sinon au doigt. Aucun produit, surtout si les dits cheveux sont fins et volent au vent (pour de gros cheveux lourds, j’imagine qu’un truc pour relever les racines est de mise). Travailler sur une artère réputée pour le vent. Par exemple, le boulevard René-Lévesque à Québec.

  • It’s funny because I think that you can spot American girls because they always have impeccable straight hair and at some point I thought It was because of a gene and not a routine. I’m still curious how you get a whole nation to have almost the same hair style. As for me, I have wavy/curly hair and I think they look best when I don’t comb them in the morning (I don’t use a brush anymore as I find it too aggressive). Just try to put them in place with your fingers.

  • I’ve had French hair all my life and never knew it! North Texas has both very hard water and lots of wind. I wash my hair rarely (4-5) and sleep on it wet. I never dry it. I do brush it in the morning (gasp) because otherwise it’s a rat’s nest of snarls and TOO weird angles (it’s coarse, slightly wavy, and acts very thick), but the wind always attacks and Frenchifies it nicely. Though yesterday it was gusting to 40 mph and I had to clip it up – I got tired of clawing it out of my mouth. :D

  • Alex you should browse that site I’m quite sure you will find your answer…
    (and as all other french girls i would say wash your hair 3 times a week and try a good haircut ! – Long straight hair (as beautiful they could be) have never been “cool” )

  • Yes to cut by Fred! He provides great inspiration and his blog is one of my favorites.

  • I think I have the same type of hair like you got. I believe that girls with hair like that, has a bit curl in their hair, which I don’t really have, so the whole trying is useless for me :( But the funniest thing is, that if my hair is messed up by the wind or I can’t brush/blowdry/curl it with a curling wand, I hate to touch it!! I love the messy look on others, I’d love to look like that, but otherwise I cannot handle when my hair is not neat looking. I’m stupid, I know!
    But I’m happy that now I know what not to try :))

  • Des suggestions:
    – After shampoo brush your hair with your fingers, not with a brush.
    – Take your hair in your hand, squeeze it with your hands by raising them (lock by lock) after shampoo
    – Sleep with a wet loose plait
    – Make you send some water of Poitiers, it’s very calcareous (the most calcareous water is in Poitiers, i’ve never had as much the curly hair as when i was over there)

    Good luck

  • I am french but I would love some tips ;)! We apparently have the same hair!
    Bon trêve de plaisanterie, ce que j’ai pu constater sur ce look “sans effort” c’est que le soin tient en amont et non au moment de la coiffure (qui est effectivement effortless): faire des masques etc. bref bien soigner ses cheveux long pour absolument en faire n’importe quoi après…

  • Marguerite March, 19 2014, 3:40 / Reply

    I am not French but I am Russian and I definitely don’t use any hair products. I have naturally wavy hair that poofs in humidity. I can’t use products because it takes too much time and thought and last time they gave me dandruff! I wash either in the morning or evening and I take a flat iron to iron out the wavy chunks that frame my face. The rest I don’t care. I even leave it all wet and go to work. If it’s windy then I really have the French hair down aka Medusa style. I wash every other day mostly because I am too lazy or sleepy but that’s about it. Otherwise it gets flat and my scalp gets itchy. I need a haircut speaking of which lol…

  • Ouais il faut parfois faire le deuil de ce que l’on n’est pas, c’est tout ! Ma fille a exactement les cheveux comme ça mais moi pas du tout…plutôt comme toi, des baguettes ! Le truc des parisiennes c’est justement qu’il n’y en a pas. Pas de brushing, pas de produit. Less is more…

  • Clémence March, 19 2014, 3:47 / Reply

    Personnellement j’ai les cheveux longs, blonds et très fins. Je passe mon temps à me toucher les cheveux pour les rendre un peu ondulés ! Il me suffit de me faire un chignon que je garde 15mn, je lâche et ils ondulent tous seuls. C’est cool mais il y a bien deux seuls gros défauts : ça ne dure pas longtemps et le danger que ça peut frisser comme un caniche !! (très moche! se rabattre illico sur une queue de cheval pour revenir peu à peu à la normale ou refaire un chignon que l’on garde tout le reste de la journée) Il ne faut pas que je sers de trop l’élastique.
    Je suis capillairement difficile ;)

  • I’m a New Yorker but lived in Paris for a year and can tell you first hand that the difference is the calcium in the water in Paris. You can’t use American products there–personal or cleaning– because they just aren’t formulated for the excess calcium in the water and therefore aren’t as effective as French products. Most American expats have to deal with very dry skin for a while as it adjusts to the excess calcium. I had to only use French shampoo (loved Klorane). Another thing is that homes tend to be cooler and electricity is more expensive, so many women shower at night and let their hair air dry or just take a bath. The calcium dries your hair out so many Parisians wash their hair less often. I loved my hair while in Paris and especially shopping at Monoprix for French skin and hair products. So here is my tip: have Garance send you over to Paris for 6-12 months and experience life as an expat and then you can have great Parisian hair!

  • Il ne faut en fait pas se laver les cheveux. Pas tous les jours. Genre deux, trois fois par semaine max et éventuellement utiliser un shampoing sec. Les coiffer un minimum et laisser faire la nature.

  • Ah j’ai les cheveux comme ca ! Très fins mais plein plein plein donc j’ai beaucoup de volume. Je pense que c’est juste un type de cheveux qui fait ca (pas le calcaire comme j’ai pu le lire – j’habite en Norvege avec une eau sans calcaire du tout et j’ai toujours exactement les meme cheveux qu’à Paris). En fait tu les laves avec ton shampooing normal, tu mets ton apres shampooing ou ton masque, tu rinces, tu demeles, et c’est tout !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tu peux eventuellement les essorer À la serviette apres le demelage. Tu peux les froisser de temps en temps avec tes doigts pendant que ca seche mais n’utilises pas de produits de coiffages ni de seche cheveux. Juste l’air ou le vent. C’est tout :) Facile ! :) (si tu veux les demeler encore, attend qu’ils soient vraiment secs, sinon tu vas les lisser).
    Bonne chance !

  • I also have to “blame” the water. I am a danish girl who has been living in paris for a year, and it’s the best year my hair has ever had! It used to be such a battle, but now I just wash it, put a little oil in the ends and blow dry it (sometimes, if I need it to fry fast).. So sorry to say but I think the magic is in the water:-)

  • I think most Frenchies have answered the question: Air dry (with a bit of wind is better!) or go to bed with your hair still humid. Or the bad water in Paris.
    I’m not exactly Parisian but almost (and I’m ethnically Asian which may or may not make my opinion useless, haha), and I think part of the Parisian look is also this sort of “undone-ness”. No products (or just the right ones), and let your hair do what they want to :-)
    I’ve got Asian super straight hair and my hairdo looks best on the second day after shampoo, in the morning before I brush them… And then I walk to work in windy London :-)

  • lave toi les cheveux le soir et dors avec une tresse et arrete de les laver tout le temps! ;)
    si tu veux faire moins de shampooing essaie un traitement type roycutane. Je suis tranquille pendant trois jours voir plus!



  • J’adore, so french with the Frange, j’aime!


  • En fait l’astuce est de se sécher les cheveux au diffuseur (on en trouve en tissu chez les grossistes ou magasins pro) ça marche très bien.

  • Moi mes cheveux sont beaucoup plus beaux, moins lisses, moins plats et ont naturellement plus de texture depuis que je me les lave moins (max 2 fois par semaine, 1 seul shampoing + après-shampoing ou masque et parfois masques avant shampoing) et que j’utilise des produits sans silicones ! Je les laisse sécher à l’air libre quasiment à chaque shampoing, 2 pschit d’huile de nuxe sur les pointes si je les sens secs

    Voilà mes secrets pour mes “parisian/french hair”

  • Hahhaha, à Paris le secret est définitivement dans l’eau et ça s’appel calcaire! Bourk ;)

  • Bon moi j’ai un peu honte mais je fais comme ceci:
    je me brosse les cheveux avant d’aller me coucher, je mets un peu de soin crème sur mes pointes, je dors les cheveux lâchés, et le lendemain je me coiffe pas, je ne me brosse pas les cheveux! seulement le soir quoi. Bref c’est un peu n’importe quoi, le monde à l’envers, mais ça fait une chevelure que j’adore. (j’ai de longues baguettes également)

  • Oh, please! Stop idolizing french women and french beauty! There are other beautiful styles in the world!

  • Roxanne March, 19 2014, 7:05 / Reply

    Merci beaucoup pour ce super article et tous ces conseils très bien et clairs. Je vais les remette en pratiques dans les prochaines semaines. J’adore les cheveux des parisiennes ! :-)

  • ahha wavy french hair. I don’t have it (probably because I am hal marrocean, fench and vietnamese) but my hair are curly! To have nuce curls I sleep with my wet hair and then boom nice curls when waking up:) you should try even if you don’t have curly hair you may have the style that you’re looking for (wavy isn’t it?!

  • Hi Alex!

    I love your post. I did not know people were openly referring to our hair as “French hair”… I did not even know that was a well-known style! I’ve always had what I call… “crappy hair” and I guess I am the only one to blame for it coz I hate spending time taking care of it. Shampoo and Conditioner that’s all.
    Now your post does show I have been right all these years! Let me explain. When I lived in the States I was pissed off to have people walking to me and be like ” you are not from here”, “where are you from”, and sometimes the straightforward “you’re French”! Without me opening my mouth and them hearing my accent! Now don’t get me wrong, I love being French but always wanted to kinda fit in.. So I figured it was because of my hair. My friends told me I was crazy, but that’s true! While most of the American ladies around me had this perfect blond, soft, straight, hair I was walking around with my messy, never-been soft, brunette, not-straight, not-curly hair. From now on, I will refer to your post to show the world that I am right;-) Thank you!

  • I pretty much have the same stick straight hair as you and I kind of already gave up on that messy wavy bedhead look. What I’d recommend is based upon a glimpse I caught of you in one of the “Pardon My French” episodes. I think you’d look perfect in a pixie style cut, and that is it’s own style of French. Bonus, your hair might grow back differently!

  • Histoire de ma vie haha!
    Le SEUL truc que j’ai trouvé et qui fonctionne c’est de les laver avec des produits naturels et hydratants et de les laisser sécher au naturel. Après je prend mon fer pour faire de belles boucles et je les défaits avec mes mains avec un soupçon d’huile hydratante.

  • Ai-Ch'ng March, 19 2014, 10:45 / Reply

    Your hair sounds beautiful, Alex.

    The Parisienne advice to go with the flow with pretty much everything from sex, food, hair and clothes is the essence to being the best from of YOU, regardless of your height, sex, skin colour, hair texture and age.

    My Asian stick-straight, fine, just-below-shoulder-blade length hair gets washed every night with non-sulphate shampoo, light conditioner on just the tips – never the roots, no blow dry – natural dry only (expect in winter, when I’ll blow dry the roots very quickly, leaving the ends to dry normally), and never, ever brushed or combed.

    The next day, I just tie it up in a top-knot, low-on-the-nape knot, or leave loose and push it behind my ears. Same goes for evening – I never do anything extra that time of day.

    It really is all about going with what you have, Alex. If you straight, think dead-straight hair, then do the Cleopatra thing (sans fringe, if you hate it). And if it goes frizzy in humidity, let it – or tie it in a loose bun.

    Hey, having hair on your head is already blessing, Alex! There is an alarming and saddening, large number of young women who suffer from hair loss due to hormones, cancer or stress…

    Go with the flow (of your hair), minimal handling, no additional product other than cleaning time (unless you want a clean look to your hair when you put it up, in which case I just use the tiny residue of my body lotion and gently distribute into the front and sides of my hair at the roots – so easy to wash out at the end of the day, and no toxic hair ingredients to mess up my skin).

  • Ha ha ha ha ha.. the secret I guess it not obsessing about it so much.. But we love you for you, Alex!

  • Camilla March, 20 2014, 3:16 / Reply

    This post is so cute and so reliable! I mean, who doesn’t want great hair right ;) ..
    My trick is to wash my hair every other day, just shampoo, no conditioner and when i get out i leave it in a towel while I fix my make-up. Then I use Bumble & Bumble’s Texture Cream and blow-dry – afterwords I put in a bit of Orofluido oil to make it soft and give it shine and then that’s it, just leave it.. Using too much product will make it heavy and slouchy instead of soft and oh-I-woke-up-like-this-ish… :D

  • apol aragones March, 20 2014, 4:44 / Reply

    yes alex, it’s the wind, as i, an asian, have inadvertently discovered. i spent a few minutes on the metrostation (high up in the streets on Manila), stepped on the train, got off, met with my friends who asked me if i had blow-dried my hair, to which i replied no, it’s the wind! they did not believe me at first but got used to it as my hair continued growing long, windswept all the time from public commuting.

    you have been putting too much hairspray in all your algorithms.

    fine hair may also be a requirement…not sure, but thick hair is heavy, and for reason takes longer to style…also, the weight i think pulls the waves down…again, not sure, but there…

    i’d like to send you a foto of my waves after tying my hair in a bun…no other hair product ;)

    xoxo – apolonia

  • I just recommend good cut and simple blow dry with minimal use of round brush. Add some messy bun for a moment and… wind :) special cosmetics make things even difficult. Just care as always and observe your hair :)

  • Pareil, je me couche les cheveux mouillés.
    Astuce pour le sport car j’en fais beaucoup, pour éviter de les laver trop : le shampoing sec (mon préféré “batiste” choisir le “blush”.
    Par ailleurs, mon coiffeur qui est le coiffeur de toutes les “stars” et des défilés préconise de se mettre une huile sur les longueurs avant le shampoing (Léonore Greyl Huile de ? j’ai oublié le nom) et ensuite de ne mettre du shampoing que sur le cuir chevelu.
    Encore une petit secret : je me les démele apres les avoir lavé avec un peigne à large dents et le matin avec une brosse uniquement à l’interieur de la chevelure.
    Voilà mes frenchy secrets !

  • Rebecca March, 20 2014, 5:57 / Reply

    Je suis de Barcelone et ce que je fais est ne me coiffer pas les cheveux. Je me lave les cheveux chaque deux jours, le soirée. Je me les coiffe après le shampoo quand ils sont mouillés pour les démêler et je me fais une tresse (ou deux ou trois, j’ai un touffe de cheveux) et me les seche beaucoup. Laisse les tresses pendant la nuit et le lendemain, tu dois les defaire, spray du mer et passe les doigts pour donner de volume.
    C’est parfait, facile et hyper bon marché.
    L’spray du mer, je le fais moi meme. Veux-tu me ma recette?

  • Je les sèche mais pas complètement, je les attache avec un élastique ou en bun avec donught. 1h apres, j’ai le french hait style !

  • hi alex…it’s an attitude….usually french girls have thin hair…..is a not comb a messy attitude…then there the other french women who goes every week for a brushing(blow dry)…they don’t put much time into it…it’s a look…

  • hi alex i googled u to see what your hair is doing….u have thick hair correct… i like the photo of your hair parted in the middle…..but truthfully u have beautiful hair….i would dress the part..it’s easier…i hope u move to Paris…it will come naturally

  • Albertine March, 20 2014, 7:30 / Reply

    Fortunately I’ve been blessed with natural wavy hair so I don’t put much of an effort into styling it!

  • HannahK March, 20 2014, 8:44 / Reply

    COCONUT OIL ON YOUR ENDS! Either before bed, before you shampoo or after. The ends will look perfect and the hair will fall so nicely. It’s so healthy for your hair too. :)

  • Another vote for less-is-more. I switched to “no poo” (baking soda/vinegar) routine about a month and a half before my last trip to Paris (May 2012). I also only washed my hair a couple of times during the week I was there. I found Parisian water to be surprisingly hard (in the mineral sense), which probably resulted in my hair feeling a lot like your #1, but totally worked. Ditching unnecessary product/chemicals has brought out the natural texture I have better than any product could (a subtly-layered cut also helps). My joy, truly, is that I’m allowing my hair to do what it wants versus beating it into submission. (I have thick, s’wavy hair.) Hair and I are both happier for it.

  • Mathilde March, 20 2014, 12:07 / Reply

    Haha Alex, this is pretty funny, because in fact, we (french girls) don’t spent that much time getting our hair right. Little usefull tip however, wash your hair before you go to bed and sleep with your wet hair, they look prefect when you wake up ! no need to spray anything in it :)

  • pole d'agitation March, 20 2014, 12:50 / Reply

    Complètement d’accord avec Mathilde :
    Mon petit témoignage de Française avec de longs (jusqu’à la poitrine) “cheveux de française” : complètement dans le style de tes photos = en pagaille, légèrement ondulés, avec du volume, et en vrac (mais pas mochasses non plus : brillant, en bonne santé et tout)
    et en lisant ton article (très drôle d’ailleurs), je me suis dit “Ahaha! il n’y a qu’une Américaine pour écrire ça!”, car concrètement moi, ce que je fais (et pas mal de mes copines) l’entretien effortless :
    – séchage à l’air libre (quasi-jamais de séchoir), alors oui les jours de shampooing (tous les 3 jours) j’arrive les veuch légèrement humides au taf (ça a séché dans les transports)… est-ce grave?
    – j’utilise mon fer tous les 6 mois quand j’ai envie de m’éclater (le reste du temps j’ai trop la flemme)
    – je m’attache les cheveux en chignons flous quand j’en envie ou qu’ils m’agacent et zou !
    – évidemment je dors les cheveux lâchés (j’ai appris par ton article que cela pouvait être une question!)
    – je limite mes soins à une crème type (secret de nuit) la veille au soir du shampoing, un bon shampoing, et un après-shampoing soin! et basta ! pas de spray ! à la rigueur du shampooing sec sur la frange le 3è jour [j’avais tout de même voulu testé le spray “eau de mer” qd B&B avait sorti le sien (on ne se refait pas…), le vendeur Sephora m’avait dit “ça ne vous servira à rien, vu vos cheveux”. acheté malgré tout, mon coiffeur m’avait ensuite dit “laissez tomber ça, c’est bourré de silicone et autres produits pas glop”]

  • You might be interested in the Curly Girl routine – basically, it’s very much like the French Girl routine described in the comments, but with a bit more product.

    But I do think the trick is in the water. In Paris I had amazing wavy strong hair. In London, superstraight sleek soft hair. In Cape Town – frizz (so no, the answer is not wind; that’s all we have here). Perhaps the hair product companies should be developing ‘water emulators’ for us to mix with our shampoo ;)

    But it does help to not brush, ever, and only comb when your hair is wet.

    Oh, wouldn’t going to sleep with damp hair make your pillow damp? And eventually mouldy?

  • Ma technique ?

    Sécher avec une brosse ronde en enroulant deux trois mèches du dessus et en se séchant avant la tête penchée. Texturiser avec du shampoing sec (Klorane, je trouve que c’est le meilleur) + une poudre décolle racine qui matifie et habille le cheveux (la texture powder de Jean-Louis David est très bien).

    J’ai aussi lu quelque part (peut-être même ici, misère je ne m’en souviens plus) que le dernier truc pour avoir des cheveux parfaits, avec du volume mais aussi ultra naturels, c’est de commencer son shampoing avec…l’après-shampoing. Je n’ai pas encore tenté !


  • I have been on a similar french hair quest (I even got my hair cut in Paris, thinking I’d cracked the code..) After playing with various salt sprays I’ve concluded that powders, basically drying the hair out seems to be the secret. The best thing I’ve found thus far is Bumble and Bumble pret a powder, but I’ve heard their dry spun spray is also the bomb so I want to try that. And another secret, I don’t own a hairbrush, and I wash my hair roughly every five days. My hair is far from perfect, but it’s closest to French hair I’ve gotten!

  • Delfonce March, 20 2014, 2:42 / Reply

    i have those messy french hair and dream of long sleak thick american style. Anyway as every french girl said low maintenace is the key, we are always late and in a hurry. Plus I advise you cutbyfred.videos, the guy is the perfect hairdresser and the pope of messy sexy hair.

  • Un shampooing adapté à tes cheveux, les brosser très brièvement sous la douche, les remouiller avant de sortir. Les cheveux ne doivent pas être tout lisse. Les sécher un petit peu avec une serviette, deux gouttes d’huile pour le soin. On ne les brosse pas ! Et on laisse sécher.

    Les cheveux prenne un pli plus naturel et plus parisien qu’avec n’importe quel moyen !
    Bon courage, ça peut ne pas marcher du premier coup mais il faut recommencer pour laisser les cheveux s’adapter à ce nouveau traitement.

  • Mais je suis TOUJOURS coiffée comme ça ! 2 secrets :
    1/ je ne sais pas me coiffer ! je ne brosse mes cheveux que tous les 2/3 jours (avant le shampoing, sinon ça fait trop “princesse”. Va comprendre…) et les autres matins, je passe juste un coup de peigne à dents larges…
    2/ je vis dans le sud de la France et le vent c’est 350 jours sur 365 par an.. donc oui ça aide à les emmêler et donner cet effet de n’importe quoi !

    Le pire, c’est que j’adorerais avoir de vraies belles boucles ou un lissage qui tient !

  • Alors alors, je pense avoir les mêmes cheveux que toi. J’ai tout essayé, rien ne fonctionnait.
    Rien, jusqu’au combo: Curls rock Amplifier de TIGI + Woolshake de REDKEN.
    Je mets entre mes doigts une grosse pompe de TIGI, que j’applique sur mes cheveux en froissant les pointes vers le haut. Ensuite, je passe mes mains aux racines pour décoller les cheveux et pulvérise un peu de Woolshake une fois les racines décollées, ainsi que sur les pointes.
    Résultat: PARFAIT.
    J’ai cherché longtemps, et j’ai enfin trouvé.
    J’espère que ça te conviendra à toi aussi ^^

  • Et j’oublais: Démélage UNE fois après le shampoing, et une fois seulement.
    Ensuite, on laisse sécher à l’air libre après l’application du TIGI sur cheveux légèrement mouillés (surtout pas de sèche cheveux!)

  • Le French Hair c’est justement AUCUN PRODUIT, aucun truc, RIEN. Et si tes cheveux sont raides comme des piquets, l’accepter, les laisser AU NATUREL !
    C’est tout.

  • Le problème ici c’est que tout dépend de votre nature de cheveux.. On ne peut pas donner forme à la chevelure de la même façon si ils sont lisses, mousseux, ondulés, bouclés etc.. Il n’y a pas de recette miracle, il faut juste trouver la sienne!

  • Charlotte March, 21 2014, 12:03 / Reply

    Before I cut all of my hair off into a cute pixie-cut last year (which I LOVE), it was very long (mid-back), thick, and had a fairly wavy texture to it. I would wash and condition it only once every 4-5 days, comb it wet with a pick-comb, and blow-dry it loosely downwards to keep my natural frizz at bay. Over the next several nights, I’d sleep without it tied up and in the morning I would just use my dryer on a cool, low setting over the ends only to blow out the tangles. I would rarely brush it and almost never put product of any kind in it. I wish I’d known then that what I attributed to my own “laziness” was actually a chic French method of hair-care! I spend far more time on it now that it’s short than I ever did when it was long!

  • Hey Alex! Something that works really is to braid small sections of your hair (I’d say like 4/5 braids) and then you use a flat iron to heat them. When you do it just before you go to sleep, it’s really nice the next morning. With the surf spray, it should last all day. Good luck!

  • Joséphine March, 22 2014, 11:59 / Reply

    Oui, le taux de calcaire dans l’eau y est pour quelque chose

  • I often get comments/compliments that my hair look french. Here is what I do after washing it is:
    Put in a heat protecter from bumble &bumble, blow dry it and then curl it with a Flattening Iron (Ceramic). Five curls at each side and then two in the back. NO hairspray or other products, only some hair oil (I have the one from Rodin, but whatever works I guess). Then good to go.
    The second day I may need to go thru the hair with the Flattening Iron a bit but it will keep good for three days (third day may need some dry shampoo in the roots). On the forth day I put it in a messy bun. And then repeat the procedure on the fifth day :)

  • En tant que bonne parisienne, le secret quand tu as les cheveux lisses c’est de dormir avec une tresse bien serrée sur cheveux humides et de régler le lendemain avec quelques coups de lisseur. Ca marche a tous les coups

  • Alex,
    I am half french and have tried the easy going chic french hair for years. I have fine medium thickness hair and tend to have an oily scalp on day two. It is wavy mid way down and to the end but it looks frizzy if I don’t straighten it or work to make it curly. Something’s that I have found recently (from reading your and Garance’s posts) and my own experiments.

    1. KERATIN TREATMENT are amazing. They take out the frizz and make it so much easier to manage. I do the express treatment that is suppose to last 4-6 weeks but I can get 10.

    2. A GREAT HAIRCUT makes a difference. So basic and it seems sometimes to take a while to find someone who can do it well (especially when I move)

    3. I WASH THEN DRY my hair with a round brush. I try to stick with ONE OR TWO PRODUCTS. A mouse sometimes or maybe just a heat protectant on the ends. (Again keratin treatment makes this possible) Occasionally curling with a 1.5 inch barrel for easy waves. I have not been able to wash and let air dry. Frizzy mess (tried again last week and my husband said “what’s with the frizzy hair today”. I glared and he said “I mean curly”. Too late)

    4. Just discover…. BLOWTIQUE DRY SHAMPOO hair kit at Sephore (and their salons). It is the best I have used. I like it better than Oribe. I have in the past two weeks been able to go two and three days without washing my hair. I would try a fourth but haven’t been daring enough yet.

    I have tried the surf spray (crunchy), the natural dry (did I mention frizzy) Unfortunately it takes a bit of trial and error to find the perfect combo but hopefully this helps. (Most of it has been from your suggestions. Just putting them all together and trying them)

  • Jessica March, 24 2014, 10:48

    Sorry reposted bc I put the wrong product for dry shampoo. Blowtiqu in chicago has Oribe and DRY BAR has DRY BAR. I prefer Dry Bar product. Both places great for a blow out though.

  • Alex,
    I am half french and have tried the easy going chic french hair for years. I have fine medium thickness hair and tend to have an oily scalp on day two. It is wavy mid way down and to the end but it looks frizzy if I don’t straighten it or work to make it curly. Something’s that I have found recently (from reading your and Garance’s posts) and my own experiments.

    1. KERATIN TREATMENT are amazing. They take out the frizz and make it so much easier to manage. I do the express treatment that is suppose to last 4-6 weeks but I can get 10.

    2. A GREAT HAIRCUT makes a difference. So basic and it seems sometimes to take a while to find someone who can do it well (especially when I move)

    3. I WASH THEN DRY my hair with a round brush. I try to stick with ONE OR TWO PRODUCTS. A mouse sometimes or maybe just a heat protectant on the ends. (Again keratin treatment makes this possible) Occasionally curling with a 1.5 inch barrel for easy waves. I have not been able to wash and let air dry. Frizzy mess (tried again last week and my husband said “what’s with the frizzy hair today”. I glared and he said “I mean curly”. Too late)

    4. Just discover…. DRY BAR DRY SHAMPOO at Sephore (and their salons). It is the best I have used. I like it better than Oribe. I have in the past two weeks been able to go two and three days without washing my hair. I would try a fourth but haven’t been daring enough yet.

    I have tried the surf spray (crunchy), the natural dry (did I mention frizzy) Unfortunately it takes a bit of trial and error to find the perfect combo but hopefully this helps. (Most of it has been from your suggestions. Just putting them all together and trying them)

  • that tiny bracelet… magic

  • Hi,
    I’m French.
    We have no secret. We did nothing spécial.
    Don’t wash your hair every days, use 2 or 3 different shampoo (Hair don’t like the habit).
    Let your hair alone ;) dont use too much hairdryer
    After, it’s a question of hair type…

  • Calcium water, true, less product, true, less washing, true–but for me the real clincher and defining feature of French girl hair? Sleep. Sleep lots, sleep messily, and think about how to wear your hair in bed (big messy pile up high, unwashed, with perfume–a little bit of dryness, a lot of root lift, a bit of wave for the morning). You have to experiment but that’s what jumped out at me from your list of experiments. Try moussing or spraying your damp hair before bed and just tucking it in a loose topknot or bun to sleep–the extra hours really set it and give that lived-in look, and the messy sleeping will add that bit of unstudied chaos (the laide in jolie-laide!)

    Also, if you’re brave and have a good eye (and we know you do, crafty lady) then cut your own hair. If it’s bad a hairstylist can always fix it. But–and this is such a not New York thing but I believe it’s still true–there’s so much charm in a beautiful but unprofessional cut. It’s like a crooked bang. Especially in manhattan our hairdressers tend to make everything too polished and symmetrical! An imperfect cut says you’re willing to take things not seriously enough to have fun with them. Actually haircutting is just sculpture (esp cutting dry) and sculpture is just aesthetics, which you can definitely do.

  • il suffit juste de ne rien faire DU TOUT après les avoir lavés, voire se coucher les cheveux mouillés…

  • I agree with previous comments, the Redken Wool Shake is unbelievable. I’ve tried it all, with long fine limp hair. It’s the only thing that doesn’t make your hair feel different, like you didn’t do anything. Magic.

  • If you want something natural, RnB from Lush is really nice but for hair already a bit fluffy !

    And about bio beauty, you must know that the Weleda rose deo is awful ! I smell !!!

  • Adopte le chignon express, sans miroir,sans épingle!
    J’ai des cheveux très bouclée et je ne me fais pas de brush tout de meme!Entortille tes cheveux puis enroule les autour d’une queue de cheval…Tu savais sûrement comment faire mais kon.Je n’ai que 12ans ?

  • Hi Alex

    Ahhh, French hair. Btw, the Scandinavians do a pretty gorgeous tousled natural long hair look too.

    This is what I have found works for me, and I have fine, straight, boob length hair too :-)
    Wash and condition every third day. While hair is wet, apply a little Phyto 7 hair balm (it’s brilliant) and only half dry with the blow dryer – no brush, only fingers. Twist the entire length of your hair at the nape of the neck and bring the end up to the crown, and then secure with one of those long hinged ‘claw’ hair clips so it looks a bit like a french roll. The ends will cascade out of the top of the clip. Leave this in until the hair is dry. Take the clip out and some lovely random waves / curls will have formed, voila!

    Good luck! Beth

  • Ana_Parisienne April, 29 2014, 6:14 / Reply

    Le secret c’est de se laver les cheveux le soir, les démêler, puis se coucher les cheveux mouillés… le lendemain ils seront nickels. Et surtout ne pas les coiffer le lendemain.

  • Only blow dry a little! I have wavy hair, and drying it only makes it more straight. For natural-looking, “didn’t even try” hair, get some curl mousse or texture spray, and use your hands to scrunch your hair. Use a diffuser dryer attachment to help the waves set. Also.. when I twist my hair, I divide it into two sections like I am going to braid it. Instead, I twist these out and clip them to the back of my head. This works well when you are going to sleep.

  • J’adore cet article aha ! Très divertissant et amusant ! :-)
    Personnellement, mes cheveux font l’effet recherché par la bloggeuse au naturel et je déteste ça x) je les brush le matin, mais le naturel revient au galop..
    Peut-être que tout est dans l’eau finalement ?;-)


  • je ne sais plus si cela est la troisieme ou la quatrieme fois que je lis cet article, je suis mdr!!! Je voudrais avoir des cheveux à la française moi aussi et tes experiments me font penser aux miens!
    j’adore le blog,


  • Nice information..lets try and hope I look to be like a Frenchie..haa..Thanks for posting :)

  • Hello,
    Je vous livre ici mon avis (enfin cela fonctionne pour moi depuis toujours) :
    – ne pas se coiffer, ne pas brosser ses cheveux. La seule fois où tu les coiffes, c’est avec un gros peigne démêloir (jamais de brosse) après le shampoing, sur cheveux mouillés. Et tu ne les coiffes plus jusqu’au prochain shampooing. En attendant, tu te coiffes avec les doigts.
    – utiliser uniquement des produits naturels pour tes cheveux, sans silicones ou autre produit chimique (qui lissent et disciplinent artificiellement le cheveux), soit : shampoing naturel naturel et/ou bio sans additifs chimiques, après-shampooing ou masque idem, et arrêter d’utiliser tout autre produit pour les cheveux (à part des huiles végétales pour les pointes), car cela ne sert à rien.
    – pour nourrir ses cheveux, utiliser uniquement des huiles végétales sur les pointes (jojoba, dattier du désert, coco…) disséminées avec parcimonie sur les pointes (pour ne pas graisser le cuir chevelu).
    – lors du shampoing, prévoir une dernière eau de rinçage, de temps en temps, constituée du vinaigre de cidre (bio).
    Voilà, si jamais ça peut aider et apporter des pistes… :)-

  • sophie June, 15 2014, 4:04 / Reply

    I suggest following everyones advice of simple shampoo and go, however!! if you have fuzzy fluffy hair i honestly believe that a bit of pure argan oil on the lengths of the hair fully stops it from fluffy up and becoming embarrassingly puffy

  • Try a shot of oatmilk (health shop) in one and a half litre of water as a leave-in-rinse after washing your hair. let air-dry. it works fabulously and is healthy for your hair.

  • Can any of you french or otherwise ladies recommend a good hair mask to be done monthly, either home made or pharmacie bought? I only wash my hair twice weekly, comb after with Argan oil and place in a low slung knot before bed – it works – however by the pure injustice of it, not being French means I inherently lack the natural comfort that my Parisian counterpart has wih her hair – there is no product we can buy for this!!!

  • Jennifer August, 26 2014, 9:14 / Reply

    I love all the comments regarding loving the hair you have. I do believe that French women really take what they have and make the best of it, no fuss. Hair, style, life! You should have fun with what makes you, well you.

    That said I absolutely believe a great haircut and good products can help a lot.

    I love the Kerastase line. Great shampoos, I cannot go without their conditioner and most double as a mask. Especially in Summer, I leave it in my damp hair and let the sun “bake” it in and when I rinse it out later my hair feels and looks refreshed and silky. They make a great sea salt spray, dry shampoo and I’m playing with their mouse. Just to find ways to play with texture.

    I have been wearing my hair a similar way for years, a long bob style either blunt or with some layers, maybe side swept long in front. Classic simple easy. But recently I needed something more. I got bangs! It’s a huge chance for me and although I am sure I don’t look like the French girl I’d like to be, it makes me feel like it and I love.
    Sometimes maybe we need a refresh, to reinvent ourselves. It’s amazing that a great cut or a lipstick can make you feel so amazing.

    Get a good cut, some products (whether it’s just a mask) and have fun no fuss.

  • Je suis parisienne avec les cheveux toujours un peu fous et sauvages. Matechnique ? Comme beaucoup te l’ont déjà dit : 2 à 3 shampoings par semaine, des produits bio, laisser sécher à l’air libre ou se faire un tresse avant de dormir. Le matin tu te réveilleras avec de jolies ondulations très naturelles ;)

  • Pour moi, le secret, c’est la flemme. Flemme de rincer les cheveux au vinaigre pour éliminer le calcaire, flemme de passer plus de 30 secondes sous un sèche-cheveux, flemme de faire plus de 2-3 shampooings par semaine, flemme de faire le combo shampooing/après-shampooing/masque, etc. Somme toute, mes cheveux de parisienne, ce sont des cheveux un peu négligés…

  • I’ve learnt the secret.
    I was walking on Saint Honore one week ago near the Lanvin office and went into a salon. The senior guy taught me how to get french hair.

    1. Trim it regularly so it looks good.
    2. Take care of it with good products so it looks good.

    Voila…French Hair!
    I do it now…it works.

  • Natasha June, 1 2015, 4:49 / Reply

    In all the articles I have read and “street’ photos I have seen, I have not seen anything for curly hair. Can you write something about how curly haired Parisian ladies style their hair so that its sexy and effortless looking?

  • Élise May, 2 2016, 8:27 / Reply

    I love your hair! So pretty~???? I did it on my friend and it works great! I also tried to sleep with wet hair as some comments suggested, but it does not look good. It seems like I haven’t wash my hair for a week!????

  • Essais de faire 2 tresses françaises sur le côté, puis tu relâches un peu ta tresse pour que sa fasse plus naturel et enfin tu dors avec ! Le matin tu te coiffes avec tes mains pour casser un peu l’effet et TADAM !

  • Astrid D June, 1 2017, 9:34 / Reply

    Notre secret?
    We don’t wash our hair every single day. Maybe twice a week. We all know that the day we wash our hair will not be a good hair day. But the next day… ah oui alors ! C’est superbe !

From the Archives

This or That
  • This or That
  • Holiday Gifting
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
  • How To...
atelier dore this or that summer sandals chunky sandals vs. delicate sandals

This or That / Sandal Edition

This or That: American or Française?

This or That: American or Française?

atelier dore this or that lingerie lace or cotton sex month

This or That / Lingerie Edition

This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

This or That: The Beanie

This or That: The Beanie

This or That: Nails

This or That: Nails

This or That

This or That

This Or That

This Or That

Silja Danielsen Photo

This Or That: Low Knot or Top Knot