French Beauty Secrets Explained: Skin Care Expert Shares Advice, Tips in New Book

In "The French Beauty Solution: Time-Tested Secrets to Look and Feel Beautiful Inside and Out," Mathilde Thomas, the co-founder of the skin care line Caudalie, shares practical beauty tips and her overall take on how lifestyle affects beauty -- all rooted in her French upbringing.The books covers skin care science - including which ingredients work, which don't and which could be harmful, makeup, hair care and advice on relaxation and living a happy life.Thomas appeared on "Good Morning America" today to talk about the book. Below you'll find an excerpt of "The French Beauty Solution" plus four of Thomas' recipes for DIY mixes to help rejuvenate your skin and hair.Go to the end of this excerpt to see Thomas' recipes for an egg yolk and rum hair mask, healthy nails potion, a crushed Cabernet body scrub and an avocado and honey face mask (which may also be used on your hair).Book ExcerptINTRODUCTIONI grew up in Grenoble, a French village nestled at the foot of the French Alps where the air was pure and clean and the mountain water icy crisp. My parents, Daniel and Florence Cathiard, my younger sister, Alice, and I lived on a farm with my maternal grandparents, Yvonne and Maurice, where we tended a vegetable garden and raised chickens and bees. My grandfather took me hiking all over the mountains, pointing out which plants were edible and which mushrooms were toxic, which herbs could cure a tummy ache and which would staunch a wound, which smelled intoxicatingly minty and which were so pungent they made my nose run.I was lucky to have grown up in that magical place. Even though my grandparents were teachers and spent much of their time correcting papers and reading, they understood how to be one with nature, and they infused my childhood with their knowledge of plants and all growing things.This was also the place where I learned my first beauty secrets.Even though we lived far from the high-end commercial fashion world of Paris, we had access to dozens of the best beauty regimens right in our own backyard. My grandmother would make a luscious facial mask from the honey in the beehive at the corner of our garden and would always be certain to gently pat some on my cheeks whenever she applied it to her own, because she knew how soothing and clarifying it was. She'd whip up a super-moisturizing and nourishing hair mask from fresh, green, pungent olive oil and rum and we'd sit together, giggling at the scent, till our hair was saturated. She recognized early on how much I loved different fragrances-we would do blind tastings of different herbs, like tarragon, thyme, basil, sage, and mint, and I could always differentiate them, even as a very small child-and wasn't surprised at all when I told her I wanted to work in the beauty business.As I grew older my grandmother and mother started teaching me their time-tested secrets to looking and feeling beautiful, inside and out--secrets they had learned from their own mothers. I was taught that beauty is not something you turn to in a panic when a wrinkle or pimple appears, but that it's far more important to see it as a ritual, figuring out what routine works best and carrying that with us through our lives. I used those lessons as well as my love for the natural world when my husband, Bertrand, and I founded our skincare company, Caudalie, in 1995, and they were reinforced whenever I returned to the Alps, or went to the vine yard in Bordeaux that my parents bought in 1990.But it wasn't until Bertrand and I moved with our children from Paris to New York City to grow Caudalie USA in 2010 that I realized that the French attitude toward beauty was not the same as the American one. Learning about and understanding these nuances was absolutely fascinating to me, and as I traveled all over the country, visiting many of the 350-plus Sephora, Nordstrom, and Blue Mercury stores that carry Caudalie products, meeting personally with thousands of customers that year alone, I realized that American women could benefit from a little of my French beauty wisdom. That while millions of them consider beauty a priority in their daily routine, many of their habits are either too complicated, too expensive, too painful, or simply not effective. That is what inspired me to write 7he French Beauty Solution.Whether I was in Cleveland, Ohio, or Cleveland, Florida, the same issues came up time and again as the women I met candidly discussed their beauty needs and desires. Even though I was asking them specifically about what they wanted from a skincare product, without fail, the conversations always veered away from skincare alone. All my customers wanted the same things: To have wonderful skin, simply and quickly. To age with grace. To lead a healthy lifestyle. To be fit and trim. To know which diets work and which don't. To know how to do a cleanse if they feel the need. To man age their stress. To have a flawlessly made-up face and a doable hairstyle. And to have the kind of effortless beauty and sense of savoir faire that seem to be part of a Frenchwoman's DNA."How do you do it?" these lovely women would ask. "How can I be more, you know, like the French?" I'd laugh and say it really wasn't all that complicated, only to be met with skeptical smiles.2. Apply to your entire face. - ajpnphoto - 3. Leave on for 20 minutes.4. Rinse with warm water.*This can also be used as a hair mask. It'll leave your hair super shiny.Reprinted from "The French Beauty Solution" by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright 2015, Mathilde Thomas