French women have a particular idea of what beauty is. We don’t rely on makeup but instead, we want makeup to enhance our natural features, that’s it. French makeup isn’t over-sculpted or too transformative, and you will rarely see a woman in the streets of Paris wearing a full face of foundation, with contouring, smoky eyes and lipstick.
First, you need to know that French makeup always starts with skin. To have an effortless and natural makeup you’ll need to pair it with a healthy skincare routine. Yes, French women emphasize skincare over makeup [see French Beauty Routine], that’s why French makeup is all about minimalism and discretion.
5 French beauty tips to prep your skin for makeup
Always cleanse your skin in the evening to remove makeup and impurities. Not doing so can damage your skin, cause breakouts and can accelerate the aging process. Double cleanse is the best thing to do: use a micellar water (like Bioderma Crealine H2O) to remove the makeup, and then remove all impurities (pollution, dead skin cells) by using a foaming cleanser like the Vichy Purifying Foaming Water.
Hydration is key to keep your skin radiant and to well prepare your skin for makeup. That’s why it’s really important to buy a good day/night cream as the healthier your skin will be, the less makeup you will need to use. I’m currently using two products from Clarins: the Multi-Active Day Cream and the Beauty Flash Balm. When my skin is very dry, I swap my daily moisturizer for face oil like the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil specially formulated for oily skin and made from 100% pure plant extracts.
French women consider masks and serum as a necessity. It’s essential to use targeted treatments to clear the pores of impurities and toxins and to revitalize and invigorate the complexion. Twice a week, use a gentle exfoliator like the Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask to active cell renewal, or the Instant Detox Mask to eliminate toxins, tighten pores and to smooth out features. Then, use a serum to hydrate, regenerate and protect the skin. I like the Clarins Double Serum, an amazing anti-aging treatment enriched with more than 21 active plant extracts.
4. Eat well
Food plays a very important role in beauty. It doesn’t matter how effective your beauty products are if you don’t have a healthy diet. Here is a very simple rule to follow for a healthy skin: not too much sugar, fat, alcohol, gluten, and lactose. One of the biggest problems for the skin is sugar. An excessive consumption of sugar, not only encourage acne-causing bacteria but also break down collagen and accelerate the aging process by affecting the skin’s density and firmness. So remember to have a healthy diet and to enjoy sugar in moderation.
5. Visit your esthetician
French women are very committed to their estheticians. I love to visit a skin-care specialist on a regular basis (like once a month) for a deep facial cleansing. I’m always amazed by the result and the softness of my skin after the facial. I think regular visits to the esthetician are a must if you want to enhance your skincare routine.
If you live in London, go to Katia’s Beauty at Tomoyuki & Co at Oxford Street and try the Ultrasonic Peeling & Deep Cleansing Facial, amazing result and very relaxing treatment!
How to do makeup like a French girl
My french makeup look is very minimalist and simple and doesn’t need too many products. Usually, French women use makeup just to give a natural glow and to emphasize the eyes.
Face: Un petit peu of foundation
On a daily basis, I wear a little bit of the Clinique Superbalanced Makeup foundation which is a balancing and oil absorbing foundation, perfect for combination skin. I like also to wear the Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective which is a long-wear foundation, suitable for minor to moderate skin concerns including acne and blemishes, dark circles and scars.
I really recommend these two foundations as you can build the coverage desired. I usually mix my foundation with my day cream for a more natural finish, and I don’t use any beautyblenders or brushes to apply my foundation. I always carefully blend my foundation with my fingers for a very natural look.
Cheeks: Blush and bronzer powder
I typically use a little bit of blush, like the L’Oreal True Match Blusher, Rosewood 145 on the cheeks to give a fresh and healthy look. Then, I apply with a kabuki brush (the only makeup brush I have) a bronzing powder from the forehead to the cheekbones and then from the cheekbones to the chin.
I like the Guerlain Terracotta Light in Light Warm 01 or the Sephora Bronzer Powder for summer only, as Sephora’s one is much darker. I really like the combination of blush and bronzing powder as it gives a natural healthy sun-kissed look to the face.
Eyes: Eyelash primer and mascara
For my eyebrows, I’m using the L’Oreal Paris Brow Artist Plumper in medium dark by following the natural shape of my eyebrows. Nothing dramatic, nothing too structured. I like to use this product as it defines and plumps my eyebrows by intensifying both brow’s color and shape.
On my lashes, I apply an eyelash primer before using any mascaras in order to leave lashes soft and supple and to boost the look of mascara. I like to use the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara Primer and then a little bit of Maybelline Lash Sensational Lash Multiplying Mascara. No more, no less.