French-Girl-Approved Summer Lipsticks

Here’s how to achieve that perfectly imperfect quintessential French-girl summer beauty look—without having to try too hard.

There’s no greater beauty fixation than the French girl. What is it about French beauty? Is it her slightly unkempt hair and perfectly tailored yet uncomplicated clothes? Maybe, but one thing’s for sure: Our intrigue stems from her effortless approach to beauty. The truth is, the same less-is-more ethos that applies to French-girl style also extends to makeup. The French girl’s goal? To be her best possible self (in other words, natural makeup looks) rather than transforming herself into a made-over version.

When it comes to French-girl summer makeup rituals, think minimal yet perfectly imperfect. What does that mean? Lit-from-within skin, slight definition on the eyes and effortless yet vivid washes of colour on the lips. Here, we break down how to achieve the classic beauty look, complete with the best shades and techniques to master the French-girl pout.

French-girl-approved shades and textures

Why do Frenchwomen flock to bold lipstick? Simple: It takes little effort but provides big results.

It may sound strange, but summertime is the perfect time to go matte with your lipstick because your skin is at its dewiest. The juxtaposition of matte and glowing is a French-girl makeup mainstay. The best matte lipsticks last for hours and can give you that just-blotted French-girl pout in a few simple swipes. For major impact with little upkeep, try L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick in I Don’t (seen on the model in the photograph). This bold orangey-red shade can make you feel like you’re the kind of person who wears red lipstick every day. Matte formulas can be drying, but this one is highly pigmented yet ultra-lightweight and super-comfortable.

In winter, French girls love to apply their lipstick as if their pouts have been naturally stained by the tannins found in red wine. In summer, same idea—but think naturally stained by rosé. Try blotting lips with L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Plump and Shine in Watermelon Plump. The idea is to apply the lipstick like a balm, blurring the edges a little.

Red is never really just red. In its purest form, the shade can look blinding against pale or fair skin. The best red lipstick for summertime is one with an undertone—or, in this case, a little bit more than that: an orange undertone. Go bold with L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Liquid Lipstick Les Macrons Collection in Mademoiselle Mango. This orangey red adds warmth without becoming your entire makeup statement. The long-wear liquid lipstick offers full coverage and dries down quickly, so you’re never left with a sticky finish.

How to apply lipstick like a French girl

To emulate effortless French-girl makeup, you need to know more than what products they use; you need to know how they use them. Application is key, especially when we’re talking about lipstick. The French like to colour in their lips in one of two ways: crisp, clean and precise or with blurred lines.

If you’re going for the precise version, start with a smooth canvas by sloughing off dry, dead skin before you apply any colour. You can use a sugar scrub like L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Cocoa Scrub for Dry Skin. Then, apply a lip balm or treatment to your lips; this will help fill in any cracks. Next, get the perfect shape with a matte lip liner. Try L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Pencil in Matte in Manhattan. Then colour inside the lines with a matte red colour, like L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick in I Don’t. Finally, blot with a tissue to remove excess colour or leftover shine.

The more low-maintenance version is the blurred lines. When done right, your mouth should look fuss-free and have a je ne c’est quoi wash of colour. Your formula shouldn’t be too glossy, but it should be ultra-soft and almost melt into lips. You may be tempted to smear on your colour directly from the bullet or applicator, but French girls often dab it on with their finger and spread the colour just outside the edges of their lips, giving them an even tint and full pout. The goal? To look like you just wrapped up a steamy make-out session.

The rest of your face

When it comes to makeup, French girls keep it light and simple—especially if they’re sporting a bold red lip. Typically, they’ll skip foundation and opt for a good concealer instead. (We recommend pro favourite L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer). They’ll also wear mascara, like L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, and a subtle glow of highlighter on cheekbones. (L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Nude in SunKissed is a must-try.) Basically, the French like a less complicated and more pleasurable and natural approach to beauty. Which means it’s faster and easier. Now that’s something we can get behind!

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