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The French are known for their admirable skincare habits. Beauty lovers visiting Paris usually have French pharmacies on their bucket list along with the Louvre and Café de Flore. And of course there are endless blog posts devoted to the subject of French beauty secrets. The thing is, even if you add each and every cult skincare pick to your face care routine, there’s more to French beauty than just applying the right skincare products. While having a good skin regimen is important, the way you actually touch your face—for example, how you apply your face creams and take off your makeup—matters too.

Let’s back up for a second. Unless you grew up in France (or Asia, where face massage is equally as popular), you’re probably wondering what this all means. Isn’t washing your face as simple as scrubbing your skin with a washcloth? And is there really more to applying an anti-wrinkle serum or hydrating face cream than just rubbing it in? French women take a lot of care when applying skincare, using specific techniques to gently massage and stimulate their skin. It’s just as important to the French beauty routine as any other step—get a facial in the City of Light or at one of the Lancôme Institutes around the world and you’ll find that much of the time is focused on this kind of face massage.

Being a French brand, we take face massage and proper product application seriously. There is a ritual designed for each one of our skincare lines, from the luminizing motions for Advanced Génifique to the firming technique for Rénergie. Discover Lancôme’s best way to apply you anti-wrinkle serum, below:

The Initial Anti-Aging Serum

The Face Serum: The Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector anti-wrinkle serum is the skincare product you’ll want to reach for when you start noticing the first signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. The best part: The velvety face serum also helps with some other changes that may be happening around the same time, such as enlarged pores, dull-looking skin, or rough texture.

The Face Care Ritual: Apply one pump of the anti-aging serum to your face and use long, sweeping, outward motions to work it into your skin. Next, use your hands to smooth the product down your t-zone, underneath your jaw, and down your neck. Then do the pinch and roll: Take a small amount of your skin, then pinch and roll it outwards. (Start by moving along your jawline and then working your way up in horizontal rows to your cheekbones.) Repeat three times. Continue with the same movement on your forehead, pinching the skin vertically (note: you don’t want to reinforce horizontal forehead lines). Repeat everything on the other side of your face.

The Multitasking Face-Lifting Serum

The Serum: The Lancôme Rénergie range is known for its ability to smooth lines and creases, but the lightweight skin tightening serum Rénergie Multi-Lift Ultra Full Spectrum Anti-Aging fluid also helps attenuate dark spots and dullness. Clinical tests prove it: In a test on 57 women, skin was 28% more even, spots were reduced by 30%, and coarse wrinkles were 27% less obvious (after only 4 weeks)

The Ritual: This technique is completely focused on firming skin (it helps to imagine your face defying gravity). Start by applying the face lifting serum to your skin, and use both hands to gently sweep your fingers diagonally from the bottom of your face up, alternating hands and working your way from your jawline all the way up to your temples. Repeat the motion six times. Do the same upward sweeping movement on your forehead, moving from the outer brow to the center. Do it three times before moving to the other side of your face.

The Anti-Wrinkle Serum

The Serum: Like the other Absolue L’Extrait products, the hero ingredient of the anti-wrinkle serum Absolue l'Extrait Ultimate Elixir and Absolue L'Extrait Elixir Concentrate is the rose extract from the Lancôme rose, created for Lancôme in 1972. It is still grown to this day exclusively in Châteaux de la Loire in France. The milky gel formula of this hydrating serum makes skin look more even, luminous, and soft.

The Ritual: This anti-wrinkle serum comes with its own gold-tipped massaging tool. To start, apply the anti-aging serum evenly all over your face with your hands, working from the inside out. Then, heat the massage petal in hot water, shake it dry, and use it like a pen to draw four upward vertical lines—first on the bottom half of your face (from the chin to the top of your cheekbone) and then on your forehead (from your brow bone to your hairline). After that, use the massage petal to make three long strokes under your eyes. Repeat three times on each side of your face. Next, use cool water to chill the petal and then make a zig-zag gesture from the middle of your face out—going back and forth and working from the bottom of your face all the way up to the top.

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