The mythical allure of the fabled ‘Parisienne’ has endured countless reinventions; from the original French ‘It girls’ of the 1970s, through to the modern models and muses of current French fashion, we seem to be endlessly fascinated by the beauty secrets of the effortlessly chic set.
The funny thing is that you don’t actually need to be Parisian, or even French, to attain this iconic status and, as a whole slew of French style and beauty books will tell you, the French attitude to beauty is quite simple.
Skin is in
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the better your skin, the better your make-up will look. Investing in skincare is something French women are taught from a young age. It’s never too early (or too late!) to find your ideal skincare regime; cleanse morning and night using the right cleanser for your skin type, always moisturise and, if possible, follow with a good eye cream and neck cream. Don’t forget the décolletage; take your cleanser and moisturiser down past your collarbones, as the skin on your neck and chest is just as delicate as the skin on your face.
Keep it fresh, keep it natural
French women tend to steer clear of slathering their faces in layers of foundation, concealer, powder and highlighter. In fact, many prefer to embrace a relatively bare face and opt for a tinted moisturiser (or very light foundation, diluted with their favourite cream) and cover any blemishes with a good quality concealer. Blush should be kept neutral (think peach or nude shades) and applied sparingly. If you cannot bear to part with your highlighter, try a luminising balm, like Mecca’s Enlightened Illuminating Balm; dab lightly along cheekbones, brow bone and Cupid’s Bow for a subtle lit-from-within glow.
Don’t neglect your hands
Polished or au naturel, French women know the importance of a well-manicured hand; nothing screams ‘good grooming’ like neat nails and well-nourished cuticles. If you want to be really French about it, French cult beauty brand La Mer does a gorgeous hand cream ‘The Hand Treatment’ which contains their famed ‘Miracle Broth’ formula.
When in doubt, add red lipstick
A relatively bare face and a red lip makes for an iconic French beauty look. The key is to keep the rest of your make-up simple; a clean base, defined lashes and brows, and a slick of true red (blue or orange based, depending on skin tone) is enough to take you from day to night without overdoing it.
Classic red shades that never go out of style include MAC’s Ruby Woo (blue based) and Lady Danger (orange based); we’re also loving the newly released Rodin Olio Lusso in Tough Tomato, a bright orange-red with a soft matte formula containing Rodin’s signature luxury oil blend.
Main Image Source: Matilda