French Girls’ Must-Wear Makeup Essentials

Tips on how French girls are doing their makeup and the beauty essentials you need to recreate the look.

French girls deserve a round of applause for their ability to turn out beauty looks with built-in ooh-la-la. With a track record of iconic faces through the decades, starting with the first supermodels in the 1950s, French makeup trends have come to define covetable glamour. Today’s Parisian stars are carrying on the beauty legacy with a simple, fuss-free philosophy. Their secret? A focus on flawless, glowing skin and a commitment to minimal enhancements. The end result is an effortless boost to a woman’s unique traits. And, drum roll please, it’s an approach that can easily work for anyone. Inspired by the women who rule the City of Lights, we’ll show you how to enhance your natural beauty and unleash your je ne sais quoi unto the world. Beret optional.

The first thing you’ll notice about a French girl is her skin. Words like “healthy,” “radiant” and “flawless” come to mind. To get there, start by applying a moisturizer suited to your skin type. Choose an oil-free lotion if your skin is oily or prone to breakouts or a rich cream if your skin tends to be dry or reactive. All skin types will benefit from taking a minute to massage moisturizer into the skin, increasing circulation for a plumped-up effect. Gently massage using an upward motion from the centre of the face along the jawline and cheekbones to encourage a subtle lifted appearance. Light pressure applied with the ring finger under the eyes from the inner to outer corners can decrease puffiness, and small circles across the forehead soften lines. Next, to even out skin tone, choose a lightweight foundation with medium to full coverage, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation. The long-wear liquid has oil-absorbing properties and a thin texture that creates a second-skin finish. To prevent unwanted shine, finish with a light dusting of translucent powder only where you need it, such as the sides of the nose.

Once skin tone is consistent, it’s time to add a touch of radiance to your complexion. French makeup trends favour a delicate form of brightening that is best achieved with a liquid highlighter, such as L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Amour. The ultra-lightweight formula melts into skin to create a natural lit-from-within glow, plus it contains shea butter to deliver a hydrated sheen. It’s available in two universally flattering shades: Choose Golden Hour if you want to add warmth to your skin or Daybreak should you prefer a glow with icy notes. Concentrate on accentuating the high points of your face. Skip the beauty sponge and use your fingers to dab and blend the highlighter along the tops of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose and under your brows. Blending is très important here: A gentle sweeping or tapping motion with the pads of your fingers will diffuse highlighter and lock a seamless finish in place.

French girls know their way around minimal details that manage to pack a punch—it’s the reason Breton stripes are so alluring. To accentuate flawless skin, they make subtle makeup choices for eyes and lips. It all starts with classic black eyeliner to add definition to eyes. Choose a pencil formula—it makes the softest line—and use it to fill in sparse areas between lashes along the upper lash line. Run liner just past the outer corner for a petite version of a cat eye, and then use an angled brush to gently smudge the line. Once lashes are curled and a coat of mascara is applied, the finished result is a whisper of liner that has a slight emphasis at the outer corner of the eyes. For the last step, connect with the French girl’s everyday lip essential: a perfect nude lip colour. A soft matte finish gives nude lips an edge, and a liquid lipstick like L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick drenches them in non-drying high-pigment colour. Plus, the precision-tip wand helps shape and line lips with the ultra-comfortable long-wearing formula. Seek out a shade that’s inspired by your natural lip tone, whether slightly tawny, like 414 I Rule and 418 I Empower, or with more of a pinkish hue, like 416 I Create.

Et voilà! The secrets to modern French girls’ makeup essentials have been unlocked. From even, radiant skin to subtly defined eyes and a natural-but-better lip colour, these beauty tricks will work no matter where you live!

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