Until this year, I’ve never been to France, but I have certainly heard about the way Parisian girls do their makeup. Natural glow, an absence of eyeshadows and a signature red lip – French girls are known for enhancing their natural beauty and accepting themselves for who they are. While I never claimed to be an expert on French makeup, over the course of the last few weeks that I spent in Paris I learned a trick or two. Today I’m collaborating with Clarins, my favorite French luxury cosmetics brand, to share with you my version of how French girls are doing their makeup.
Step #0: Skin Prep
But before we begin, I have to mention that perhaps the most important part of French beauty routine is skincare. While walking around Paris, I saw an enormous amount of beauty salons, perfumeries, SPAs, nail salons, and pharmacies full of skincare goodies. This observation combined with what I’ve read about French beauty secrets brought me to the conclusion that the first step of any French makeup routine is to properly take care of your skin.
Generally speaking, every French-style makeup starts from washing your face with a mild cleanser and toning it to restore the pH balance of your skin, followed by moisturizing and protecting your skin from the sun. Make sure that the products you use are suitable for your skin type and do not irritate your skin.
Products I Used:
Step #1: Glowing Skin
The thing that immediately caught my attention while in Paris is that French girls seem to avoid doing anything with their makeup that looks not natural. While they are definitely using a foundation and a concealer, you will never see anyone with a “cake face.” One of the tricks that I’ve learned on how French girls achieve such natural looking skin is to mix foundation with a moisturizing lotion for a lighter coverage. While many brands already produce light foundation formulas that do not require to be any lighter, the trick of thinning foundation with a cream seems to be prevalent among French girls until now.
Another idea that I borrowed from French ladies is to make your concealer look more natural by mixing it with an eye serum. In order to do so, you could either mix concealer with an eye cream in your palm and then apply it, or put on your concealer as always and then pat a few drops of light eye serum.
Finally, I didn’t see French women wearing contouring products or even bronzer. Maybe a bit of blush (again, it should be undetectable!) and that’s it. While talking with sales assistants at one of the luxury shopping malls, I’ve learned that many French women use dry face oil instead of highlighter to make their skin look naturally glowy. In order to achieve such effect, all you need is literally one drop of dry oil applied on temples of your cheeks. Please keep in mind that such technique will definitely move your foundation so use this trick only if you have perfect skin on these areas that do not require foundation or concealer. In other words, apply correcting products where needed and put on a drop of dry oil on the areas with perfect skin.
Products I Used:
Step #2: Simple Eye Makeup
Another important observation about French beauty habits is that French girls don’t seem to be obsessed about eyeshadows as many American girls do. Looking back now, I can’t remember even one person wearing a colorful eye look – French girls seem to stick to neutral eyeshadows. They do wear eyeliner and a thick layer of mascara though – but the wings of French eyeliner application technique are less dramatic compared to how American girls are applying their makeup. If you want to do your makeup in a French girl way, try creating as thin eyeliner line as possible and cut the wing of your typical eyeliner look in half.
To recreate French style eye makeup, I started by applying a new Clarins Ombre Matte Eyeshadow in 02 Nude Pink which is the most natural looking eyeshadow shade for my skin tone. The product features a lightweight creamy powder formula that you could apply in just a few seconds by using your fingertips. Since the finish of this eyeshadow is so subtle and natural, feel free to apply it all over the lid up to the brow. Since the eyeshadow is creamy and we will be using an eyeliner on top of it, I recommend setting it with translucent powder so your effortless makeup lasts all day long. By the way, for this look I’m not using tinted brow products at all – similar to what French girls do, I just brushed my brows and applied a clear brow gel.
Perhaps, the most important part of the French style eye makeup is an eyeliner. As I mentioned before, the idea here is to create an elegant thin line that emphasizes your lashes and doesn’t look too much. Meaning, you need a really good and super thin eyeliner to start with. My current favorite tool is Clarins Graphik Ink Liner in 01 Intense Black which allows creating a precise line as thin or as thick as you want. It’s an easy to use tool that guarantees deep pigmentation and effortless, all day wear eyeliner look.
Finish the look by applying a black volumizing mascara. While the rest of the makeup should be as delicate as possible, don’t limit yourself while applying mascara. Two, three, four, five layers are fine as soon as your lashes look super long and voluminous.
Products I used:
Step #3: The Red Lip
While exploring Paris, I made another important observation that French women might be as obsessed with red lipsticks as I am. In fact, I can’t recall any commercials that feature the lip color of any other shade. Brown? Only if it’s an undetectable nude. Pink? It doesn’t seem to exist in Paris! Being a true red lipstick addict myself, I obviously don’t mind it at all! In fact, while in Paris I’ve been wearing a red lipstick every single day – and definitely loved doing so!
To finish my French girls inspired look, I used a new hydrating lipstick Clarins Joli Rouge in the shade 742 Joli Rouge. This product features one of the most comfortable formulas out there: thanks to soothing Mango oil and Organic Marsh Samphire, you could wear this perfect shade of red all day long and do not worry about your lips getting dry. While this lipstick shade comes with a matching lip pencil shade (Clarins Lip Liner Pencil in 06 Red), I decided to wear the lipstick on its own – the French way!
Products I Used:
That was it for my easy to recreate French girl look. Red lips, toned down eye makeup, fresh skin, and tousled hair – to create effortless and natural looking makeup. This feminine and minimalistic makeup might be not as creative as colorful Instagram-friendly looks we American girls are so used to, but there is something so incredibly flattering about it. After all, we are all beautiful as we are – so why not using makeup only to emphasize this beauty instead of covering it in layers makeup that looks like makeup?