What’s in a French girl’s makeup bag?

French women are famous for their natural beauty. There seems to be a myth where people assume that we just roll out of bed looking fresh and polished.

What is true is that less is always more when it comes to beauty in France. Extreme contour, thick foundation, glittery eyeshadows or sophisticated nail art design are just not really a thing in France. Our ultimate objective when it comes to beauty is to look like the best version of ourselves.

The reality, however, is that it takes a lot of work to look naturally healthy, mainly with the use of efficient skin care products. We like our fancy French pharmacy cosmetics. This is also why French women can then get away with less makeup. We invest in a good canvas so we can use less paint.

So what makeup will you find in most French girls’ bag?

Longchamp French makeup bag
Longchamp makeup bag

A concealer

Forget about foundation, it’s just too much work! Commonly us french girls will only cover what needs to be hidden. A pimple, redness, dark circles, etc. Whatever doesn’t need to be hidden, we don’t cover it! If your skin is good why bothering spending time applying a cream of the exact same colour on top of it?

I personally even go as far as using my concealer as a foundation if I have an event that requires having a full face of makeup. In 30 plus years, I have never ever bought a foundation.

Nars Soft Matte Complete concealer

My favourite concealer at the moment is Nars Soft Matte Complete concealer. It gives good coverage and doesn’t crease. I have it both in Vanilla and Custard so I can tailor the colour to the different areas of my face.

Nars Soft Matte Complete concealer in Vanilla and Custard

A bronzer

That’s how we get the glow! A good bronzer is the secret for the healthy ‘I just woke up like this’ look. A lot of my French friends (including me) use bronzer only and don’t even bother with blush.

My favourite is the Guerlain Terracotta! I have been using it for years. Unfortunately, it slipped off my hand the other day and crashed to the ground in tiny pieces. So at the moment I am using The Body Shop Honey Bronze powder, which is good as it is completely matte.

The Body Shop Honey Bronze powder

A powder

This one is only used by the women who, like me, are on the shinier side. If you are French and have beautiful matte skin, chances are you don’t even have one of these. Unfortunately, my forehead easily goes from dewy to greasy so a powder is a must in my bag!

My favourite at the moment is the Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot powder. It does the job without any powdery white cast.

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot powder

An eyeliner

French women like classic looks when it comes to makeup, a small eyeliner wing, a bit of red lipstick, boom! Done! That’s why most of us go-to look involve a good eyeliner.

Being lazy with make-up, I need an eyeliner that will last all day as I will very rarely bother to reapply anything. I love MAC Liquidlast liner, once set it is like a tattoo on your eyelid and will not smudge. It is a little difficult to apply though and takes a bit of practice. The other eyeliner I absolutely love is a gem I found in Japan. Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner is a little bit easier to apply and will stay put until the evening.

MAC Liquidlast liner and Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner

Neutral eyeshadows

As I mentioned earlier, the less is more look is the ultimate goal, therefore a few natural toned eyeshadows are all a French woman need. Shades of browns and greys are usually our go-to. And forget about blending colours, the easier the better! That is why I love the Kiko Long Lasting stick eyeshadow, they require minimum work and last all day.

Kiko Long Lasting stick eyeshadow

A mascara

Not too volumising or thickening, a good mascara needs to simply lengthen and separate lashes. Ironically, my favourite mascara cannot even be found in France! Maybelline Full ‘N Soft mascara is simple, lengthening, black and doesn’t smudge (when will it be sold in Europe Maybelline????).

Maybelline Full 'N Soft mascara

A lip balm

Most days a lip balm is all I wear on my lips. I cannot really be bothered with applying lipstick. It’s too much work! So once my makeup is on and my teeth are brushed, I swipe a bit of Dior Addict Lip Glow, it is very hydrating and gives a subtle rosy glow.

Dior Addict Lip Glow

A natural lipstick

When I need to look a little bit more put together, for a work meeting or date, my go-to lip product is an almost nude colour. In my case ‘nudy’ nudes just don’t flatter my skin tone at all, so my favourite shades are usually very subtle pink or mauve lipsticks. My all-time favourite is Revlon ColourBurst Balm Stain in Honey, it’s a cool shade of mauvy pink and is super simple to apply.

Revlon ColourBurst Balm Stain in Honey

A red lipstick

Last but not least, the main and only statement makeup item most French women have is a red lipstick. Some of my friends wear it every day, some keep it for special occasions, all have one. I usually use the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red as it doesn’t move once set. You can eat and drink with it and be confident that your face won’t look like Pennywise the Clown by the end of the meal.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red

As you can see below, it only takes 6 products to go from the ‘I woke up like this’ to natural French beauty. All I applied was concealer, bronzer, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and a bit of lip balm.

All in all my makeup routine using these products takes about 10 minutes. This is why French women can just roll out of bed and be ready a cup of coffee later.

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