The 5 make-up tips French women always follow for carefree cool

·4-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Make-up artist Violette is the poster girl for that quintessentially French brand of carefree cool. From her eye-skimming fringe and tousled hair to her rule-free approach to make-up, she has encapsulated the way women want to look today: authentically themselves.

“In France I think the main goal for us is to be happy,” she tells me. “And being happy doesn't necessarily mean being successful or being loved. We think it has to come more from within. Happiness is very much connected to our lifestyle – it’s more about how we can take pleasure in our own lives, and less about how we can look a certain way or do a certain thing to be loved.”

True to form, Violette’s hugely anticipated new beauty line, Violette_FR, chimes with her stance that make-up should serve as a creative tool rather than a corrective one: the line contains no “cover-up’ products such as foundation or concealer, and instead focuses on sublime metallic eye pigments, translucent glow-enhancers, and of course a single, perfect red lipstick.

“French women love being unique,” she says. “And the best way to do that is to be yourself, as we are all deeply unique to one another. You can’t fake it. So that leads us to working on loving ourselves and this very version of who we are right now. That's why, when I moved to the US and heard, “you want to be the best version of yourself”, I had a little bit of a culture shock!”

This innate self-confidence shines through when you look at the way French women typically approach make-up. To them, it’s a tool to enhance their innate beauty and express their emotions. When there’s no mould to fit into, the true joy of make-up comes back to the fore. Below, Violette reveals her top five make-up tips for encapsulating that easy-going French-girl look and embracing beauty without the standards.



1: Embrace your individuality

“I think that the things society labels as imperfections are actually what makes us unique – and when you’re different and unique, you’re irreplaceable. So my first tip is to not focus on fixing yourself or trying to improve yourself, but to instead focus on how you can love yourself. When you apply make-up, do it to celebrate who you are. What does this mean? No contouring, no false lashes, nothing that changes you. Maybe not even foundation. But, how about glitter for brunch? Or a strong red lipstick to go grocery shopping?”

2: Always go red

“A red lip is an electrifying and powerful accessory. When you wear it, you feel the magic inside of you. It’s really what wakes up the va-va-voom inside of us. After I apply red lipstick, I tend to smudge the edge of my lips to make it a softer look.”

3: Don’t touch up

“In France, we love a ‘bouche mordue’ look, which translates in English to ‘bitten lips’. The idea is to have a hint of colour, like you’ve just been kissed after wearing a red lip. It's meant to look like your own lip colour, not like lipstick. That's why I created my Bisou Balm.”

4: Prep correctly

Skincare is definitely essential to French women – we are religious about it. Take good care of what you have first: your skin, body, and hair. Make-up should always be secondary. The French pharmacy is our safe place and where we seek advice for results-driven, accessible products.”

5: Forget perfection

“In France, we love when our eye make-up isn’t perfect. We don’t want it to look too contrived, like we are trying too hard. So, if we wear a smokey eye, we won’t wear false eyelashes, and we love applying eyeshadow with our fingers so it feels a little more worn. That’s a very big French look. It’s the natural skin, a bit of messy hair, dark eyes and a super simple outfit, like jeans with a bodysuit and a pair of men’s shoes. It’s a totally classic French look.”

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