French Women Don't Get Facelifts Review

I've been reading French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude by Mireille Guiliano, the former President and CEO of Clicquot. She has also written several other books on this theme of French women and their amazing lifestyle abilities, and I think the most famous is French Women Don't Get Fat.

This book goes into the style and self-care that French women do so that they can look great as they age. It's got a lot of great advice, like when she goes into skincare regimens and gives very good advice about style as  you age. But in some ways, it's kind of a mixed up book. The author is very against facelifts and Botox, so much so that she named the book after not getting them. But she goes on to say..... unless you are a person who makes her living on TV.  To me, this kind of sells out the whole premise.

If you make your living on TV, I wish you would stop getting Botox and facelifts right away. A lot has been made about young women looking at models and underweight ingenues on TV and getting eating disorders, but as a 40-year-old woman, I think it's equally as sad to see women trying to keep up with the Jennifers by getting Botox, plastic surgery, and all kinds of wacky procedures to try to stay young looking. Older people with plastic surgery do not look young. They look like older people with plastic surgery. It's like a new category of looks. Maybe at best it makes you look like you have money, but it certainly doesn't make you look like you are 25 again.

Meanwhile in France, there are beautiful actresses like Juliette Binoche, who will celebrate her 50th birthday this year. I recently saw Camille Claudel 1915, where Binoche plays Claudel in her later days in an institution. The role calls for no makeup, no glamour; the film is very austere. It's full of closeups of Binoche's beautifully, naturally aged face, and she uses her face quite expressively. I couldn't stop thinking throughout the film that few American actresses could play such a role, both because their faces have been marred by surgery and because it has left them without the ability to use it to act so subtly.

Not all American actresses have permanently disfigured their faces. Both Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz, who are both about my age, seem to be aging gracefully. And we don't really know what Paltrow, Diaz or Binoche for that matter, have had done or declined to do. But I think overall the approach described in French Women Don't Get Facelifts could be a long-term approach that works much better for everyone.

Even though I don't agree with the author about people on TV being the exception for facelifts, I do think the book is worth a read for the rest of us ordinary mortals who have to deal with the aging process. I've focused a lot on one small aspect of the book in my review, but there are some very helpful chapters when it comes to thinking through changing your style and approach to skincare as you age without completely giving up. Like any style book, some things are personal, but I think a lot of women could gain something from reading it.

This book was provided to me by the publisher for review, and this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.


  1. It's interesting that they would have this knowledge that they pass on to each other. I should read it or maybe it's too late for me!