How French women stay young at 50

How French women stay young at 50: Parisian author reveals the secrets their British counterparts need to know – including changing your NAME and never admitting your real age

  • Mylène Desclaux, 59, from Paris shares secrets of French 50-somethings in book
  • Why French Women Feel Young at 50 is published in the UK this week 
  • Paris-based author said disclosing real age immediately makes you look older
  • Advises against wearing glasses on a date or putting up with ‘ageing’ name 

Fifty is supposedly the new forty and if there’s anyone who can navigate the tricky waters of maintaining age-appropriate glamour in any decade, it’s surely the French. 

Blogger and author Mylène Desclaux, 59, from Paris whose book Les Jeunes Femmes de Cinquante Ans or Why French Women Feel Young at 50 is published in the UK this week reveals the secrets British women can learn from. 

But rather than attempting to hold back the hands of time, Mylène’s light-hearted advice is all about navigating the world with confidence, and if you want to escape society’s judgments about older women there are a few key tricks you’ll need in your arsenal. 

For instance, you might want to cover up the factors that will see you perceived as ‘older’, which could even involve changing your name to something more youthful. 

While her book isn’t prescriptive, it reveals the tips that have helped Mylène feel youthful and she insists that if you want to do the opposite 

From being coy about the exact number of birthdays you’ve celebrated to never wearing glasses on a date, these are the subtle tricks you can use to grow older glamorously, the French way. 

Blogger and author Mylène Desclaux, 59, from Paris whose book Les Jeunes Femmes de Cinquante Ans or Why French Women Feel Young at 50 is published in the UK this week reveals the secrets British women can learn from


My experience has taught me that you should never, EVER, tell people your age. Nothing ages you like announcing your age gratuitously, especially if you’re not that young anymore. The minute you proclaim how old you are, it sticks to your skin and becomes imprinted on your face as if by magic. The great thing about something left unsaid, on the other hand, is that it doesn’t exist. 

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On the chronological scale your first name betrays at least your generation, if not the year of your birth. 

If you are lucky enough to have a youthful name in your 50s you have your inspired parents to thank, or your lawyer for taking care of the legal necessities.  

Mylène has become the poster girl for French women in their 50s who don’t care for society’s judgements on older women 


Should we throw a party to celebrate this extra year? Yes, because it’s always good to have a party. No because someone will always ask the right person how old we are and in ten years’ time, they’ll remember the figure and add ten to it.   

However, there’s nothing to stop you celebrating ‘the event’ without giving a reason. An elegant solution that will suit all your friends who won’t have to cough up for a present. 


Do you let your hair go grey or not? Yes, if you’re 35. Yes, if you have 200,000 followers on Instagram and you can turn your decision into a book, a success, make the nine o’clock news and have enough money to compensate for the unwanted effects of age on your hair. 

But no. Because fashionable or otherwise, salt and pepper hair will always equate to someone older. 

According to Mylène, most French women over the age of 50 are on a diet, whether they admit it or not, and her own personal method for staying slim is lots of foods containing water to make her feel full 


With the exception of a few women with pituitary gland issues, we’re all more or less on a diet after fifty and those who aren’t but still manage to stay thing should keep it to themselves. 

Losing a few kilos is possible, but putting them on is so much easier. There are solutions, diets, strategies. To each her own. Mine is to stuff myself with things that don’t make you fat and are full of water. 

The feeling of fullness is immediate, and even if it doesn’t last, it will help you get by until the next meal. 

Going grey is going to age you, unless you’re genuinely young and cool enough to pull it off and turn yourself into an Instagram sensation 


With the exception of sunglasses, which cover up tiredness and mean you don’t have to say hello to someone you’d rather avoid, and for those under 30, glasses aren’t a good look for anyone, far from it. 

For a first date, here’s a tip. Rather than getting out your glasses in the restaurant to read the menu, use the torch function on your phone or simply order the dish of the day. After that, who cares? Love is blind. 

Why French Women Feel Young at 50, Headline, £16.99

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