French beauty secrets and tips
The beginning of all French beauty tips must start with foundation.1. Wear less makeup
The first French beauty tip I learned when I came to Paris was that in order to not stick out like the obvious tourist I was – but desperately trying not to be – I needed to wear less makeup, or more specifically, to not be so made-up.
For those who know me, this is a pretty remarkable suggestion since I never thought I wore much makeup to start with. Certainly compared to many of the 'southern belles' I grew up around, I hardly indulged. But it's not really about all makeup. It's about foundation. And it's about application. Thick, cakey foundation is a no-brainer for the French. The men hate it, makes them think – according to my husband and his friends – of a clown or a girl you'd take out to a club but would never bring home to meet the parents. I started to look around and noticed that French women, for the most part, don't wear foundation. Or, if they do, they apply it so sparingly that you cannot tell they have any on.2. 'Naturally' flawless skin
If you need a foundation to cover spots or blemishes, I'm with you. And there are some tricks as to how to make it look like you have that French perfect skin without the 'cake face'. I use, for instance, a cream foundation stick (by Terry) well matched to my skin tone and just dot it on the spots that need camouflage with my index finger. This works really well. The trick is finding the perfect colour for your skin tone and blending. Here's another guide: I discovered a makeup artist who does a terrific job in her videos explaining how to achieve flawless coverup. Although she is British and we're talking about French beauty tips, she is excessively talented (and her videos are in English). So for a fabulously French, perfect complexion, take a peek; it's worth your next 10 minutes.3. Accessorise but not overly
The second French beauty tip I noticed after moving to France was that Parisian woman are not thoroughly put together like some of us Americans. Save for the rather aristocratic ladies who wear matching designer suits, scarves, bags and shoes, most French women mix and match to achieve an effortless look. This advice, ironically enough, comes straight from Chanel herself. She once said, "Before you leave the house, take one accessory off your body." This is a fine line. Simplistic elegance is the key – but so is accessorising:
- For those of you who never put on a necklace or a belt, or have worn the same studs in your ears everyday for the last few years, think about introducing a long strand of pearls with a navy blazer, tee and jeans.
- For those of you who align yourselves more with Elizabeth Taylor, try focusing on one main eye-attracting accessory at a time.
- If you've got gorgeous earrings, leave the necklace at home.
- If you have a busy patterned dress, forgo other accessories except for perhaps a few bangles.
- Less is more.
The same rule applies to your makeup: If you are going for a red lip, lay off of the blusher and smokey eyes. If you want a dramatic eye for the evening, think of going for a pale lip. (Read more.)