What’s in a French girl 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 eye shadows 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 to have 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 adapt the colour to the different area 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 though 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 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 make up, 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 tatoo on your eyelid and will not smudge. It is a little difficult to apply though and takes a bit of practice. The other eyeliner absolutely I 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. Funnily enough, my favourite mascara cannot even be found in France! Maybelline Full ‘N Soft mascara is simple, lengthening, black and doesn’t smudge.

Maybelline Full 'N Soft mascara

A lip balm

Most days that is all I wear on my lips, I cannot really be bother 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 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 the actual ‘nudy’ nudes just don’t flatter me at all, so my favourite shades are usually the 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 occasion, all have one. I usually use the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red as it just doesn’t move. 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 bed head to natural French look. All I applied was concelear, bronzer, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and a bit of lip balm.

All in all my makeup routine using this 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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Skincare & Cosmetics – 11 Japanese Must-Buys

Not writing beauty posts often, actually I have only done it once before, but I couldn’t not write this one.

Asia is known to have some of the best skincare and cosmetic products. Japan in particular is renowned among beauty-lovers (yours, truly) for it’s very high-quality, yet affordable, cosmetics. For a beauty product addict like me, it was heaven! I visited the drugstores about 4 times. The first 2 times I found it really intimidating and rushed out – with mountains of products, their drugstores are overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. A few moons later and after watching about 10 YouTube videos and reading a plethora of articles, I had a list and I was ready! Japanese drugstores here I come!

Once in and armed with a list and a credit card, I faced another issue – packaging! Bloggers and vloggers will talk a lot about Asian beauty products but they will often show you the actual product, not the box which contains it, and some time the difference is huge.

So in this post you will find a list of skincare and cosmetic products I recommend buying in Japan, with a picture of the packaging when needed. I also tried to find a link to the products when I could find it.

Japanese skincare and cosmetics

Another tip, you can buy all cosmetics tax-free as long as you don’t open the bags before leaving the country. Great way to spend more!… I mean save more!

1 – Sunscreens, sunscreens, sunscreens

Japanese women look ridiculously young, I know it is mainly thanks to genetics but they do wear sunscreen religiously. The minimum SPF available is 50+ in most shops!

I myself wear sunscreen as a day cream everyday, so I thought I would try some that are not available in Europe. I went for the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence which is a bestseller there and came highly recommended by Gothamista, who I adore. I also got a couple of the Biore mists which will be useful to have at my desk for lunch breaks this summer. My future self will thank me in 20 years.

Japanese sunscreens
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/PA++++

2 – Eye-makeup

One thing Japanese are good at is eye makeup. Japanese love a very thin eyeliner and very long lashes, a look right up my street!

I have hooded eyelids which means my makeup constantly crease or smudge, and with the promise of smudge-proof everything I had to get a few products. So I went for the Dolly Wink eyeliner which is SO GOOD I bought a second one on my last day in Japan. I also got a Avance lash serum (because who doesn’t like long lashes?) and a Shiseido lash curler (Shiseido is a lot cheaper in Japan)

Japanese eyeliner lash serum and lash curler
Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner Deep Black New
Avance EyeLash Renewal Re growth Serum EX 7ml
Shiseido Eyelash Curler + Refill Set

3 – Masks

An obvious one! Like in South Korea, Japan has a lot of sheet-masks on offer. I got the pink LuLuLun which has excellent reviews and is a bestseller. I also got some Kose ones with the ‘top 1 bestseller’ logo.

I also saw the Black GelPack Materic mask and had to have it! It’s black, sticky and promise to leave your pores squeaky clean.

Japanese face masks
Lululun JAPAN NEW face mask Rururun 7 pieces (balance moisture type)
Kose Clear Turn Vitamin C Whitening Mask—5pc

4 – Nail clippers

Wait, did she just said nail clippers? Yep!

For some reason nail clippers are excellent quality in Japan so I bought a few. I have to say, they feel very sturdy and the blades are really sharp, it doesn’t break the nails instead of cutting them.

Japanese nail clippers
Takuminowaza High Quality Nail Clippers L Size

5 – Eye drops

If it’s good enough for Lily Aldridge it’s good enough for me! I heard about the notorious ‘minty’ Japanese eye drops. People describe the feeling they give as a third-degree burn followed by the clearest vision.

I can attest that the third degree burn feeling is a massive exaggeration. Yes it feels very cooling, yes you will tear-up for 30 seconds, but it really isn’t that painful. I got two types, a normal one and a contact lenses friendly one (did I tell you that I am completely blind?). After the first 30 seconds, the relief feeling kicks off and it is amazing! Your eyes feel fresh and moist and they look whiter than usual. My new best friend to deal with a sleepless night!

Japanese eye drops
Rohto Lycee Contact Eye Drops 8ml for contact lens users (Japan Import)

6 – AHA

AHA is great to gently exfoliate the skin. As an alternative to an aggressive physical scrub, I bought the BC AHA soap and the Rosette AHA face mask/scrub. They should be perfect to peel off my winter skin!

Japanese AHA skincare
B C Cleansing Research Bar Soap with AHA – 100 g

7 – Kose Medicated Sekkisei

I heard very good things about that serum, a best seller in Japan. With summer around the corner, I thought I could do with a light serum/moisturiser which is supposed to make me look flawless.

Kose Medicated Sekkisei
Medicated Sekkisei 200ml/6.7oz

8 – Lip stains

A big trend in Japan is the ‘lollipop lip stain’ effect. Young women have a little hint of colour on their lips just like after sucking on a lollipop. It’s a cute (‘kawaii’) and natural look, I liked it and I bought it!

Japanese lip stain
Visee Richer Lip & Cheek Cream – PK-2 (Green Tea Set)

9 – Camellia oil

A best seller in Japan and supposed to be great for hair. I hope it will tame my frizzy hair.

Camellia oil
Oshima Tsubaki Oil 60ml

10 – Oily skin little helpers

Combination skin means mid-day greasy shine, a problem Japanese people are familiar with. To help tame my mid-day ‘glow’ I bought some Shiseido blotting papers (once again, MUCH cheaper there) and a nose primer, you read that right, a primer dedicated to the nose area.

Japanese oily skin products
Shiseido Pureness Oil Control Blotting Paper Sheets – Pack of 100

11 – Very random things

Japanese drugstores are full of very random surprises! You can find detox masks for the bottom of your feet for instance (yep). My feet being fine, I went for a warming lavender eye mask, because why not?

Japanese lavender eye mask
Kao Megurhythm Steam Hot Eye Mask 5 Sheet – Lavender

I wanted to buy many more things but my bank account didn’t let me, so for now, here are my 11 Japanese must-buys! Until next time Japan!