Two Lipsticks And A Lover is a book written by Helena Frith Powell.
It’s a guide to help you “unlock your inner French woman.” Another version of this book was published under the title “All You Need To Be Impossibly French.”
Helena Frith Powell is a British writer and journalist who lived in France at the time of writing this book. In this book, she set out to investigate what exactly makes French women so elegant, glamorous, chic and super thin?
But are they really?
Again, as with my other article on 5 Classic French Beauty Tips, I have to start out with a caveat. These stereotypes of French women are just that. Stereotypes. And during her investigation, Helena mainly talks to illustrious, upper class and super wealthy french women to reinforce these stereotypes.
I would safely bet that the majority of french women do not live according to these stereotypes.
Nevertheless, the book is an entertaining read.
And there are a lot of cultural and lifestyle observations here that we can learn from and perhaps, even adapt into our own lives.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the zen approach that french women have towards exercise.
The gym culture and the marathon culture really hasn’t taken off in France as it has in the U.S. Instead, women prefer more serene forms of exercise. Like walking, cycling, ballet floor barre exercises, yoga, playing with their children, and especially making love!
As Helena put it, french women “treat exercise rather like they do food; a little everyday.”
When it comes to food, they never deprive themselves. But the key is that they eat some kind of fruit and vegetable everyday, they eat small portions and they stop when they’re no longer hungry.
In order to maintain their figure, they also make use of slimming creams and gels. I’ve seen these a lot in the pharmacies and parfumeries. While I’m here I probably ought to just try one.
If you’re curious as to which slimming creams to try, Helena cites a study that rank L’Oréal’s Plénitude Perfect Slim and Elancyl’s Concentré-Lissant Chrono-Actif as the top two most effective creams. Both are available in the UK.
Another admirable french characteristic is their positive attitude towards aging.
Older women in France are still looked upon as sexy and desirable. In fact, lots of older women past their 50s still take very good care of themselves and even take on younger men as lovers.
The absolute key to the French way of ageing? Staying natural. French women don’t fearfully cling on to their youthfulness or try to completely eradicate the passage of time. Also, they see beauty as something to work on.
If you want to age gracefully, start early by protecting your skin from the sun and eating well.
The book focused a lot on french women’s obsession with sexy, matching lingerie.
There was also a chapter on fashion and observations about how french fashion has adapted to modern times. These days, it’s quite normal to pair a Chanel jacket with jeans and a t-shirt. Ironically, although haute couture originated in France, french people these days can no longer afford them. Haute couture is now made mainly for the delight of foreigners with money.
There were many other cultural observations in the book that I found fascinating, but not really having to do much with beauty or style. Things like cattiness among french women and work ethics (or lack thereof).
It would be interesting to hear what french women have to say upon reading these observations about themselves.
Many times I found myself laughing out loud while reading some of the observations about french people. Especially because I personally have had the pleasure of experiencing the truth behind them. For example, the stereotypes about horrible french customer service? I’d say 75 percent of the time, it’s true.
The part that made me laugh the most though were Helena’s observations on the french tolerance for taking on lovers and extra-marital affairs.
While Americans and Brits have puritan and rigid attitudes towards marriage, french people see fidelity as “arbitrary and sterile”. To the french, love (or lust) excuses everything.
French men and women can have lovers outside of their marriage. Provided that they keep things on the DL, of course.
While writing this book, Helena herself flirts with the idea of having an affair with a mysterious french man, who she anonymously refers to as B.
And do their flirtatious games turn into something more serious?
Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.