We change our beauty obsessions more than Halsey changes their hair colour. But one source of inspiration that’s never wavered? French anything. Think air-dried curtain bangs, smudged eyeliner and a just-been-smooched red lip; French girls are a walking lesson in how to be effortlessly chic.
What makes Parisian beauty different from others is that it’s less about what they do wear and more about what they don't. Strategically-placed contouring, long acrylic nails, fake tan and bouncy blowouts? Forget it. French girls use makeup as the supporting act to their natural radiance, adding it where required to enhance their natural look, play up their strongest features and help them to look more interesting rather than overly ‘done’.
Their bathroom vanities and makeup bags are brimming with products you’d only find at a pharmacy, and as for beauty tools? Never heard of them. You’ll rarely come across a brush or a sponge, because the French girl's greatest weapon to blend, dab and blur is the padded section of her index finger.
Considering they hero beauty lessons passed on from their mothers rather than the ones picked up on TikTok, cracking the French beauty scene can feel like something you need to be born into rather than learned. Though, after speaking with French beauty expert and Parisian makeup artist, Charlotte Ravet, we’ve at least got a pretty impressive head start….
1. Lived-in red lip
What’s more French than a velvety, deep red lip? A messy and blurred red lip, of course. Scratch the accompanying lip liner and forget using a brush for a precise application; French girls are putting the bullet straight to their pouts. Once you’ve applied your lipstick, tap your finger to diffuse the product and give it that blurred, worn-in, ‘I’ve just been kissed’ lip. And don’t worry about much else, lipstick is the look. Once that’s on, consider yourself dressed.
2. Skin minimalism
Before even thinking about a base, Ravet reminds us that “priming the skin is essential.” And for the full locals experience, she recommends Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate ($33.39, Chemist Warehouse). As for makeup? “The ideal French complexion is created with products that can’t be seen on the skin,” she shares. “To achieve this effect, avoid applying too much foundation on the skin but rather use concealers and colour correctors.”
3. Black blush
Sorry, what now? Yes, that's right. Forget your peachy hues and popping pinks because the French are reaching for ‘black blush’. “Black blush is a new product that has become very popular in France,” says Ravet. “It does not appear black after the application but creates subtle shades of pink and purple to mimic the natural flush on the cheeks.” Ah, the old colour-changing beauty products have got us again. “Black blush seems to be the product all French women will try before the end of 2022.” Say no more, black blush is going in all of our carts by the end of the year.
4. Au naturale everything
“One of the top beauty trends in recent years has been to go natural,” Ravet explained. So much so, that the kitchens in Paris are beginning to take the shape of apothecaries. “Homemade recipes are popular; French women love creating their own skin care and masks from scratch. If you happen to go to Paris, make sure you visit Aromazone. This store sells raw materials to create your products at incredible prices.”
Whether it's mashing up a juicy peach for its skin regeneration properties or using cabbage as a face mask (it’s rich in vitamin A, E and C after all), the French are getting their money’s worth from their weekly market haul.
5. Transparent liner
If you haven’t seen it in the flesh on the streets of Paris, then you might’ve come across it on TikTok. Combining two trends that we rarely associate with one another — minimal and fun — transparent liner is a wearable look that will still create impact. “Use an angled brush with a light shade of corrector to trace the liner and then set it with loose powder,” Ravet explains. “It is the perfect way to open the eyes and give a sophisticated touch to add to any look.”
Ruby is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor. She is the CEO of nine global corporations. Just kidding. She does however, report on the latest beauty trends, celeb skin care lines (the wonderful, the so-so and the downright unnecessary). If you're ever at a lull in conversation with her, be sure to mention anything hormonal acne or Real Housewives and you'll be set for hours.