Here is your ultimate guide to recreating French women’s natural makeup look. French women have a particular approach to beauty and especially when it comes to makeup. Remember: less is more! Indeed, French women don’t rely on makeup to give them a complete makeover, but instead, they prefer it to enhance their natural features. In reality, au naturel makeup can take a little bit of work to look effortless and requires specific products. Also, this natural makeup look can be the perfect makeup look for everyday wear. As in this look, it’s all about switching up your usual approach to makeup and using fewer products.
What Is Natural Makeup?
Natural makeup is a simpler approach of makeup that focuses on key areas – skin, eyes, and lips – using fewer products to enhance your best features rather than covering everything. It’s all about applying makeup that looks like you’re not wearing anything. This look directly goes against the typical “Instagram” beauty looks bold brows, full coverage foundation, winged liner, contouring, etc. Instead, this natural makeup look is something more subtle and low-key. And it has some benefits that include less time, less product, and simpler techniques. It’s an excellent option for casual days, lazy mornings, or when you’re running behind schedule. Keep scrolling to read my step-by-step guide to getting that French natural makeup look.
9 Steps To Achieve That French Natural Makeup Look
1. Prep Your Skin
With this natural look, everything starts with glowing, great natural skin. Start by looking after your skin with a proper skincare routine that includes cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, but that also tackles issues such as spots, aging, or dryness. Next, prep the skin with hydration will create a plump and smooth canvas to work on. To do so, you can use a hydrating face mask (I love the Avene Tolérance Extrême Mask) before applying makeup to make sure the skin is already supple and moisturized. Also, to give your skin an added boost in radiance, I recommend using a hydrating primer under your makeup. I have several great moisturizers that work wonder under makeup: the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, the Avene Tolérance Extrême Emulsion or the A-DERMA Crème de Soin.
2. Use A Lightweight Foundation
To create a natural makeup look, choose a foundation with light coverage, as a heavy foundation can almost erase your features. Also, you can opt for a tinted moisturizer, BB, and CC cream that gives your skin some extra hydration and still allows some of your freckles, redness, and imperfections to shine through. To create a fresh, dewy glow, prefer a liquid formula that generally has the most natural finish and steer away from any formulas that are heavy or matte. My ultimate favorites are the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow foundation, or the Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint.
Also, it’s essential to choose a formula that will suit your skin type, as well as the shade that’s closest to your skin. One way to get a more natural base is to mix a little moisturizer into your foundation. It’ll dial down the coverage and give skin a dewier, natural finish. Finally, use your fingers to apply your foundation and make sure you blend particularly around your hairline, brows, and jaw.
3. Use A Lightweight Concealer
A tip to ensure a more natural finish when using concealer is to only use the tiniest amount of product. Indeed, just apply your concealer sparingly to problem areas: under the eyes, but also anywhere else to cover blemishes or pigmentations. You can even use a thicker foundation as an alternative to a concealer if you want to get multi-purpose with your makeup bag. Just blend with your fingers as the warmth of your skin makes the product melt right in, so the application looks seamless against the rest of the skin.
Also, it’s very important that the color of the concealer matches correctly your skin’s color. Indeed, you want the coverage to be seamless and blend in to the point of invisibility. I recommend buying your concealer in real life and testing the color match in daylight. If you’re still unsure of the right shade, always opt for a shade lighter. For a very natural finish, my favorite concealers are the Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer and the YSL Touche Éclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen.
4. Add A Touch Of Blush
This natural makeup look is all about natural glow and a little flush. To get that look, just add a little bit of blush exactly where you would naturally flush: to the apples of the cheeks, up onto the temples, and right on the bridge of the nose. Blend until you have a very subtle color and natural finish. Opt for a blush with the same texture as your foundation: powder or cream. When it comes to choosing the color, opt for a blush that is soft in color and as close to your natural “blush” as possible (from pale pink to apricot, deep rose, or even mauve). It’ll give you a youthful and healthy glow. Personally, I’m in love with Glossier’s Cloud Paint which is a buildable gel-cream blush that’s very easy to apply and to wear.
5. Add Definition With Bronzer Powder
To create a more natural finish, just apply a bronzer —preferable one without shimmer— around the outside edge of your face and whip it lightly under your cheekbones. Also, when you want to contour, apply a bronzer with a kabuki brush from your forehead to your cheekbones and then from your cheekbones to your chin and also on the bridge of your nose. My ultimate favorite bronzer is the Terracotta Sunkissed Natural Bronzer Powder, which gives a natural healthy sun-kissed look. If you prefer bronzing cream I really recommend the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream.
6. Brush Up Your Brows
For a natural look, simply use a brow gel with fibers (I love the Glossier Boy Brow) and brush your brows up and into place. This makeup look is all about enhancing the beauty of your natural brows by keeping them natural and not over-filled. And it’s essential not to have a strong line. If you have very light brows or patches, you can fill in your shape with a pointed brow pencil (like the Diorshow Brow Styler) and brush through with a brow gel. Only use the tiniest amount of product and blend the color sparingly to give a little shape. Also, to keep eyebrows shape as natural as possible, avoid plucking and trimming them.
7. Opt For Nude Eyeshadows
For a very natural look, opt for nude or neutral eyeshadows. Indeed, neutrals like soft browns, beige, peach, and taupe suit all eye colors. To instantly brighten and open up the eye shape, use a gold eyeshadow (like the Chanel Les Chaînes Eyeshadow) to the inner corners of the eyes. Just keep the eye really simple with a neutral shimmering taupe eyeshadow or with soft brown eyeshadow on the upper lid for that upward eye makeup direction. You can even use your bronzer as an alternative to eyeshadow; it will always warm up the crease and brings out any lighter tones in brown eyes.
8. Go Light On The Lashes
To recreate this au natural makeup look, curling the eyelashes can be enough. But if you do like a little more definition, apply a maximum of two coats of mascara to each eye (I’m using the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara). Unless you have super dark lashes naturally, always prefer brown mascara that just lightly opens the eyes without looking too heavy. After applying your mascara, use two cotton buds with a little makeup remover and pinch the lashes between them to remove some of the excess mascara. On the other hand, you can really go for the natural look and skip mascara altogether.
In order to get a natural-looking lip color, first, exfoliate away any dead skin with a gentle, hydrating lip scrub (like the By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Scrub). You can also buff them with a very soft toothbrush. Next, apply a balm and let it sink in for a couple of minutes. I love to use the Uriage Bariederm Fissures and Cracks Stick and the Avene Cold Cream Lip Butter). Then, apply your favorite lipstick (mine is the Chanel Rouge Coco in color Cecile), dampen a small fluffy makeup brush, and use the brush to buff the color into your lips creating a diffused, long-lasting, lip stain.
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Et voilà! Now you know everything about how French women do a natural makeup look. Are you loving this style of makeup as much as I am? Let me know below!
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Bonjour! I’m Leonce, I’m French and I’m a Parisian expat currently living in the city center of Amsterdam (I previously lived in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, on the Ile-Saint-Louis). I created Leonce Chenal back in 2018 when I was living in London and missing my home country way too much. Because I truly believe you don’t have to be French or to live in France to experience the French art de vivre, Leonce Chenal is a French digital magazine to help you live your French life, wherever you are. Enjoy <3