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La Rentrée: The Summer-to-Fall Shift, French-Style

In typical French fashion, this fresh start embraces a chic blend of lifestyle and beauty.

There are few things as enticing (or fun) as a fresh start. For this reason, we all relish a good before and after, love a great makeover, and every year, we make our New Year’s resolutions with new hopes, goals – and the best of intentions.

In France, there’s a very particular way of approaching the fresh start. And, in typical French fashion, this fresh start embraces a chic blend of lifestyle and beauty. Lifestyle has become a buzzword everywhere in recent years, but you could say the French mastered the art of living well long ago. It’s called joie de vivre, and we all aspire.

This fresh start à la Française is called la rentrée. It marks a particular time, typically in September when the traditional summer holidays in August wind down and thoughts turn to the return (or re-entry) to work and school – voilà, la rentrée.

Embraced as a new phase, la rentrée brings with it new projects and social events.

Because the month of August tends to be a period of extended travel or at least a more leisurely pace, the beginning of September is indeed an event with a palpable shift that’s propelled by that welcome summer recharge. Embraced as a new phase, la rentrée brings with it new projects and social events – from new art exhibits, books and restaurants to gatherings with friends we didn’t see over the summer.

Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

Beauty-wise, the French like to greet the season with their best foot forward (and face). So, skincare transitions are a must – from lighter formulas to more luxurious moisturizers and products that nourish skin and prep for a more polished look – and perhaps just a touch more makeup. Tinted moisturizers are also a popular choice to hold on to a summer tan or glow a little longer.

This lightweight with a little more coverage hybrid adds a lovely hint of tint to enhance a post-summer complexion. The multitasker is made with antioxidant botanical extracts to help shield skin against environmental stressors – a smart choice for that shift back to city life.

Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish

A summery look can also extend beyond the face to show off sun-kissed legs and arms. For a subtle all-over radiance, we love this chic go-to for a smooth, glowy look.

Just as the name would suggest, think of this genius multitasker as a final free-spirited spin with summer. Like a BB Cream for your body, this is technically a self-tanner, but its effects are so perfectly subtle, it’s more about a sun-kissed “lift” to your skin tone. Plus, there’s a bonus blurring effect to reduce the appearance of blemishes and imperfections. The result is a soft glow and a flawless look. This non-toxic formula also washes right off in the shower.

Yves Saint Laurent Vinyl Lip Cream Stain

When it comes to color cosmetics, the French beauty ideal is known for its restraint and less-is-more approach. The proverbial red lip often makes a reappearance at this time. Both striking and polished, nothing elevates a look so effortlessly and with such sophistication.

This dressed-up gloss is just the thing for a more dressed-up season. A creamy, vinyl-like texture glides on for saturated, sophisticated color that stays in place for up to 10 hours of wear. A brilliant choice as days (and nights) get busy. Our shade pick, “Psychedelic Chili,” is stunning – and also completely fun. Saying goodbye to summer doesn’t have to be so serious.

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask

First impressions are formed in a matter of seconds. And hair is a big part of that impression. Knowing the French talent for presentation, preparations for a new season call for special attention to hair. Here’s one way to repair and nourish post-sun or beach hair.

A glamourous go-to when strands need special attention, this forever-French classic deeply moisturizes and revives dry, damaged hair with a rich repair cocktail of nourishing prickly pear seed oil (rich in Vitamin E) and Inula flower extracts to enrich hair pigment. A definite post-summer save.

Finishing Touch

The excitement for new clothes and a little shopping is a universal delight at the start of Fall. A French wardrobe is a smartly edited one with quality always given preference over quantity. With that in mind, a sophisticated refresh can be achieved with just one well-selected item. A new tote or handbag for example, to carry those back-to-work essentials and that new book you’ll be reading.

Above all, the best way to welcome a new season is with positivity and a healthy curiosity for what’s to come. Wishing you a Happy Rentrée!

Beatriz Zimmermann

Beatriz Zimmermann has written extensively about all facets of beauty. She has partnered with leading brands and companies, where she has served as a brand storyteller and copy specialist. Recently, her storytelling has taken an editorial turn with her work appearing in Town + Country Magazine, Coveteur and various fragrance publications. In addition to the beauty stories and trends that always fascinate and inspire, she is interested in merging her love of history and culture with the deeper truths about beauty in her writing.

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