French Summer Makeup: Tips And 25 Must-Have Products

french summer makeup

Here are my French summer makeup tips, plus my favorite makeup products that will guarantee you’ll look glowy and golden all summer long. Being French, I love to write about makeup, and especially when it comes to natural makeup look or French-girl makeup look for everyday wear. Today, I wanted to dive a little more into the specificities of the French summer makeup look and how to recreate this look with my favorite makeup products.

The French summer makeup look is more effortless and quick. Indeed, when it comes to changing up their makeup for summer, French women focus on super-lightweight, sheer and creamy products —think tinted moisturizers and cream blush— as this helps lessen the chances of their makeup turning into a sweaty, cakey disaster the second the sun hits. Also, for the French sweatproof and water-resistant products are key, as is multitasking makeup they can bring with them to easily touch up throughout the day.

And perhaps most importantly, the French love a gorgeous just-back-from-the-beach bronzed glow all summer long. French women usually stick with natural colors —think gold, bronze, terracotta, light pink, beige— but they experiment with just one area of their face, like a punchy blush on the apples of the cheeks, a copper eyeshadow, or a poppy sheer lip color. Indeed, adding sheer, intense color to your eyes, cheeks, or lips is an easy way to brighten your face without wearing much makeup.

25 Must-Have Summer Makeup Products

Discover my favorite makeup products for summer; brilliant hues, iridescent effects, and refreshing textures that evoke the radiance of a sunny day on the French Riviera.

7 French Makeup Tips For Summer

1. Glowing, Dewy Skin

For the French, summer is really all about makeup that allows your actual skin to peek through it. That is why it’s key to keep formulas on the lighter side to feel comfortable. You can switch from a full coverage foundation to a tinted moisturizer or you can switch from a tinted moisturizer (Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF30) to a CC cream (Chanel CC Cream SPF 50), a water tint (Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint), or a sheer powder (Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder). Or you can just apply concealer (Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer) where you need it on bare skin without foundation or tinted moisturizer. Remember, if you want to prevent your makeup from creasing and caking: less is more.

2. Glow Up With Some Highlighter

For a natural dewy look, French women use highlighters with parsimony. Also, the French prefer highlighter in cream and liquid formulas to powders. Indeed, a water-light liquid highlighter like the YSL Touche Éclat Brightening Pen or the Chanel Les Beiges Highlighting Fluid can be mixed in with a tinted moisturizer for a delicate dewy finish. Also, French women usually opt for brighter gold, copper, and rose gold shades for a natural look. Just apply a little bit of highlighter above your cheekbones; it will give that definition as if you’ve sculpted out your cheeks.

3. Brushed-Up Brows & Neutral Eye Shadows

When it comes to brows, the bigger the better. For the French, fluffy eyebrows are the go-to look. And in summer, French women use gel-finished brows like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Eye Brow Gel rather than a lot of formula such as pencils and powders, which require more layers. French women like to keep their brows groomed, polished and combed through with a tinted or clear brow gel.

Even if vibrant and bold eyeshadow shades are in for the warmer months, French women opt for sheer, nude, and tan eyeshadow shades. Indeed, rich, deep colors can look heavy in summer. And, to lighten up their look, the French switch to sheer versions of their go-to eye colors. In terms of formulas, I’m a huge fan of cream and liquid eyeshadows that can be roughly applied with fingertips like Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eyeshadow, Chanel Ombre Première Cream Eyeshadows, and Ombre Première Laque. You can blend one color all over the eye area, from the lashes to just above the eye crease. Or you can use the subtle nudes as a base, the shimmery shades for a pop of color in the center of the lid, and the darker shadows as a smoky liner under the lower lash for a night out.

4. Flushed Cheeks

In summer, French women love the idea of glowing, radiant skin displayed through the use of highlighters and plenty of blush for flushed cheeks. Indeed, blush adds balance and healthiness to any look. For summer, the idea is a softly invigorated flush, like that healthy vibrance your cheeks get after a jog out in the cold.

In terms of formulas, creams like the Chanel Les Beiges Sheer Colour Stick enhance dewy sheen, stains are great for longevity in hot weather, while powders like the Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush last longer, especially on oily complexions. Apply your favorite formula slightly higher on your cheekbones and across the bridge of your nose to fake a sun-kissed look. Then blend upward at an angle for a soft, lifting effect. Also, if you want to increase its wear, you can dust a light, invisible setting powder on top like the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

5. Bronzer For A Sun-Kissed Look

Powder bronzers are the easiest to apply and least likely to slip around in summer heat. Bronzer makes your eyes look brighter, your teeth whiter —I do think everyone looks better with a little warmth added to their skin. And to keep the result looking fresh and natural, French women apply bronzer just to the high points of their face, where the sun naturally hits: forehead, cheekbones, chin, and nose. You can also sweep a little bronzer onto your neck to blend, especially if you have short hair. The major bronzer mistake is to cover all your face with bronzer; it’s exactly what gives you that fake, baked look.

When it comes to choosing your bronzer, look for one that contains varying shades like the Guerlain Terracotta Light Powder —they’ll blend together for the most natural-looking results. Also, matte bronzers like the Guerlain Terracotta Matte Contouring Powder or the Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing Cream are great for contouring, but if you’re looking for a warm wash of color with dimension, try a shade with fine flecks of copper and gold. This summer, my favorites are the Chanel Les Beiges Illuminating Powder and the Clé de Peau Bronzing Powder Duo.

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6. Natural Lip Color

In summer, French women opt for lip products that bring out their natural lip color as opposed to adding on a lot of bold pigment. Try sweet pink or peach shades for a traditional summery look, or go bold with tangerine and grape colors for something more daring. You can use a lipliner pre-application if you need extra definition but go for a nude shade to keep that carefree feeling.

French women like to use cream formulas that keep their lips hydrated. Indeed, these formulas offer sheer coverage that can be built up, making them super versatile. To get that French summer makeup look, try a hydrating formula like the Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm, the Addict Stellar Lip Gloss, or Chanel Les Beiges Lip Balm. Chanel Rouge Coco Flash Lipstick is another great option if glosses aren’t your thing.

7. Natural Nail Colors

If summer nails are all about brighter, warm colors, French women wear more classic and natural shades —you can read my previous article on how French women do their nails. These shades, which can include blushes, mauves, and taupe hues, are muted, but the minimal color allows you to play around with detail or not, depending on your preference. Sometimes the best polish to use for your manicure is a natural shade, and the beauty here is in the simplicity. I’m in love with the latest Chanel nail colors from Les Beiges Summer Light collection: Glimmer, Sunlight, Golden Sand, and Solar. For a more natural look, French women apply a nail lacquer in a universal shade that enhances the color of their natural nails like the Dior Nail Glow Enhancer or Diorlisse Ridge Filler.

Et voilà! I hope these French tips and those must-have makeup products will help you achieve that French makeup look this summer!

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