We always like to seek the food, skincare and style advice of a beautiful French woman; model Aymeline Valade was no exception. How to be more French? Apparently it all has to do with looking more undone than done: Yes, imperfect is actually perfect. Valade also filled us in on why she never carries a bag and how natural skincare and hair is the only way to go…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
I would get breakfast made by my good friend Nahim, who cooks great eggs and vegetables for brunch, like they do at Café Mogador. For lunch, I would travel to my friend Jonathan’s home for his plate of Lentillas – which is a traditional meal from Spain, and so good – made of lentils, tomato, chorizo and herbs. It is super simple but so tasty. He also makes a great pea soup.
Then my guilty pleasure – which is truly guilty because of the fact that I could go there three times a day – is my favorite bagel in town from Tompkins Square Bagels. They have a gluten-free plain bagel and dairy-free cream cheese that is delicious.
At night for dinner, anything cooked by my Dad would be ideal. My favorite is what he often does for Christmas, which is lobster tail and rice cooked with a butter, lemon and cayenne sauce. It is just so yummy!
How do you always start your day?
In the morning when I wake up, the traditional hot lemon water is a must. I shower, then I love to have fresh fruit, like banana, strawberry, mango or raspberry with a small squeeze of lime. A bit later, I will have plain oatmeal, another cup of water and lemon, and a side of avocado.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
Fortunately I do not have to do anything to stay fit so I work out more on my spirit. I read a lot of books about ethnology, sociology and psychology. I try to be a better person everyday by opening up to others and having more tolerance and understanding. But I can tell you, I still have a long way on that! (Laughs)
What would you say is the fundamental difference between how French women and American women approach beauty and lifestyle?
I would say that American women have a look that is very “done” and French women look more natural. The idea is to pretend we naturally look good without artificial help. So we do natural nails, natural makeup and natural hair. All of it must seem effortless, which is actually a lot of work.
American women are always trying to be more “French.” What are some tips to get us there?
The hair can send a strong unconscious message, even more so than one’s clothing. Hair is directly connected to you as a person, so what you do with it is very significant. I would say not perfect is perfect…
I often see girls who are very done up – they do their hair with a curling iron and their makeup and nails are overdone. It is very impressive. Right away to me it looks superficial and not relaxed, which is the opposite of the French way. The best is to have really loose hair that is a bit messy. It’s like saying ‘I don’t care’. You obviously balance it more or less regarding the circumstances, but it’s better to always look a bit undone…a bit off.
What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?
On my face, I use rose water as long as it’s natural like Honey Girl Organics (they add neroli and propolis, which are good for my skin type) and some under eye cream from Three Cosmetics, a Japanese brand I’m in love with. They make everything you need for beauty; the quality is so good, and the smell and feel of the products are so nice.
To finish, a few drops of rose or hazelnut oil – or both – along with two to three drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil works well and is not harsh on my skin. It really helps with alleviating pimples.
At night, I clean my skin with the face cleanser from Fresh and nothing else. I like to let my skin breathe and wake up fresh. At least once every week before I go to bed, I use this great mask from Fresh called Sugar Face Polish. It smells so good you almost want to eat it. It’s made of brown sugar, strawberry and oil, which exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time.
What products are always in your bag?
Nothing. I don’t carry a bag. Just my phone, keys, and credit card in my back pocket. I’m free like a bird!
Your seventy-two-hour food routine before a big photo shoot…
I just avoid gluten and dairy, as I have reactive skin, which helps eliminate pimples for the day.
Words to women getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror and getting dressed…
Don’t look in the mirror! (Laughs)
Where do you love to travel? What won’t you travel without?
I’m pretty common in my taste in travel. I love an island with an empty beach, or a National park. I love forests and big landscapes like in Colorado, Montana or Canada.
A quick one-day cleanse to get one back on track after the weekend…
Sleep, read, relax, and eat or drink only fruit and vegetables.
Any health trend you love right now? What is it?
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ what’s the new potato right now?
A seventies haircut and suede are the new potato.
Do you wish you were French? Read about the very chic French jewelry designer Aurelie Bidermann. Also check out these ten French beauty tips. Looking for more models? Read about Laura Love, Kelly Rohrbach, and Erin Heatherton.