French Girl Beauty Staples You Need to Look Effortlessly ChicDecember 04, 2023
Parisian style is all about looking effortlessly and naturally polished — loose waves and radiant, bare skin may come to mind. French girls are the queens of minimalist beauty, relying on a few makeup essentials like red lipstick and black mascara. According to L’Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist Allan Avendano, the key features of the look include “smudged definition on the eyes (maybe a smudged wing), a bit of a rosy cheek and a stained or low maintenance lip.” (Yes, red lipstick constitutes a low maintenance lip in the world of French beauty.)
In fact, Avendano frequently uses the French girl makeup aesthetic as a reference when creating looks. “It’s simple, effortless and doesn’t take too much time to create this look,” he explains. “It’s a versatile look for every day and can also be worn for formal events. You really can’t go wrong.”
But before makeup comes into play, a true Parisian beauty look starts with hydrated, glowy skin. Making sure you have a prepped and hydrated base is key to flawless makeup application. Ahead, with the help of Avendano, we’re breaking down how to nail the French girl beauty look in just a few simple steps. Plus, keep scrolling for our Parisian chic product picks.
How to Get the French Makeup Look
Step 1: Prep Your Skin
With a focus on skincare first and foremost to get your base, French girl beauty is all about hydration and nourishing the skin for a youthful, healthy glow. “Moisturized, hydrated skin always helps the skin look healthier and helps the foundation to go on smoother,” says Avendano. You’ll want to cleanse, tone and moisturize the skin to prep for makeup application.
“I like to use a hyaluronic acid serum like L’Oréal’s Revitalift Derm Intensives Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Caffeine Eye Serum to keep the skin looking plump before applying moisturizer,” he notes. As the last step in your skin prep, follow with a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your complexion — it’s a Parisian staple.
Step 2: Apply Your Base Makeup
If you’re not big on base makeup like foundation and concealer, the good news is that bare skin is totally aligned with the French beauty aesthetic. However, you can also stay true to the look with a lighter coverage foundation with a natural finish or a bit of strategically placed concealer. If you like a fuller coverage foundation, that works, too — just try to opt for luminous or radiant finish formulas as opposed to matte to maintain that glowy skin vibe.
Step 3: Do a Smudged Eyeliner Look
A sultry, smudgy eyeliner look gives off that effortless lived-in effect. “Smudge a bit of liner close to the top lash line and bottom lash line to create definition,” says Avendano. There’s plenty of room for flexibility with this step. You can choose the color you prefer, whether that’s black, brown or gray. You can also play with the shape and try a subtle wing or cat-eye. Pro tip: Stick to a pencil or gel eyeliner. Liquid formulas are not ideal for smudging.
Step 4: Amp Up the Drama With Mascara
“Flirty top and bottom lashes are key to any French girl look!” says Avendano. After you curl your eyelashes for a dramatic lift, swipe on a few coats of the lengthening or volumizing mascara of your choice.
Step 5: Add Some Color to Your Lips
Next, it’s time to do your lips. For a classic glam take on the French girl beauty look, reach for a bold red lipstick with a matte or satin finish. Or, you can opt for a more understated stained lip. “For that stained lip look, I love to dab on lipstick to get the desired shade and opaqueness,” says Avendano. “Get a lipstick like L’Oréal’s Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick, which has great color payoff and hydrating properties. Dab it on until you're happy with the coverage and spread it with your finger.”
Step 6: Give Your Cheeks a Rosy Flush
“We didn’t forget the cheeks,” says Avendano. “Take that finger you used to diffuse your lipstick and dot it on the apples of your cheeks. Add more until you get that flushed cheek look.” If you don’t love the idea of using your lipstick as a blush, a buildable cream or liquid blush can help you achieve a similar natural-looking flush.
The Best Products to Include in Your Routine
Got oily skin? Opt for a lightweight gel moisturizer like the IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Gel Cream Oil-Free Moisturizer. This breathable formula effectively delivers up to 48 hours of hydration to the skin while reducing shine and excess oil. It also improves the appearance of skin texture and enlarged pores.
The L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation “has a bit more coverage, but still looks like skin and is never ever cakey,” says Avendano. It’s a great medium-coverage option if you like to have a bit of a boost to even out your skin tone and texture. Formulated with up to six pigments, it offers the brand’s most precise shade matching for a natural-looking effect.
Or, you can skip the foundation and use concealer to even out your skin tone and cover up any blemishes. The Valentino Beauty Very Valentino Concealer is a comfortable, care-infused concealer that provides full coverage for up to 24 hours. The creamy yet lightweight consistency and luminous finish are just two things we love about this formula. Use a lighter shade to brighten up your under-eye area, a darker shade to contour and a shade that matches your skin tone to cover up skin imperfections.
Introducing: Your secret to the perfect smudged eyeliner look. The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Liner is easy to use and comes in eight stunning shades. “Apply the liner to your lash line and use the built-in smudger tip or your finger to smudge before it sets for a lived-in, effortlessly defined look,” says Avendano.
The iconic Lancôme Monsieur Big Volume Mascara volumizes and lengthens for your most dramatic lashes ever. Coat just your top lashes for a natural look or apply the mascara to your bottom lashes as well for a doll-like look. In just one stroke, it gives you instant, buildable volume with big, bold lashes, and eyes that look wide awake.
If you’re looking for a drugstore mascara option, the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Washable Mascara is Avendano’s pick for this makeup look. He recommends applying two coats to your top and bottom lashes “for lift, length and separation.” It comes in two shades of black, as well as a black brown.
While we love the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick, for a diffused, stained look, this lippie from Lancôme is our pick if you want to go the fiery red route. The luxurious, hydrating lip adds a comfortable pop of color to your lips that lasts through long chats with friends, sipping coffee and eating as many croissants as your heart desires. This creamy red hue is the key to looking chic and pulled together in just a few minutes.
This ultra-blendable lip and cheek tint from YSL Beauty instantly gives your cheeks a sheer, natural-looking flush. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and shea butter, it feels nourishing while leaving your skin soft and hydrated. Bonus: On days when you don’t feel like committing to a full red lip, you can dab this balm on your lips for a subtly pretty dose of color.
Looking for more of a pink shade? The Urban Decay Hydromaniac Dewy Liquid Blush in Wrecked is a gorgeous dusty rose with a glowy, dewy finish. Enriched with kombucha and marula oil, it gives your complexion a plumped, youthful appearance.