10.13.2009

Makeup- Comme les Français


Madame Bohemienne had it… Madame Chic had it… practically every French woman I observed in Paris had it! “It” being what is commonly referred to by Francophiles as “le no make-up look”.

Do you know which look I am talking about? It’s the look that says, “yes my cheeks are flushed, my lips pouty, my skin tone flawless and my lashes ready to bat but I didn’t lift a finger to get this look. This look is au natural- it’s just me! I have better things to do with my time than spend an hour in front of the mirror every morning applying makeup. I go to art galleries! Read Proust! Embrace my lover by the Seine!" (Okay, this scenario is getting a little out of hand but you do get my point, don’t you?)

The truth is, most French women do wear makeup every day- they just look like they aren’t wearing any. The look is polished and pretty- a slight definition of the eyes, an accentuated lip... I have been embracing this look during the day for quite some time now (thanks to Carmindy for teaching me the 5-Minute Face!). But when I was living in France- I actually (horreur) didn’t wear any makeup. Yes, you heard me right. I was a fresh-faced bohemian college student- an idealist- a dreamer! I didn’t have time for blush and lipstick and other such mindless pursuits!

That is until I dropped my preconceived notions about what it means to be a well-rounded woman and realized that doing things like reading Proust and visiting museums is a lot more fun if you look good! Now every morning I spend five to ten minutes applying powder, blush, lip gloss and mascara (oh, and eyeliner…. I can’t live without it). It is a minimal look- my version of le no makeup look.

Madame Chic would be so proud…


Audrey Tautou, one of my favorite actresses, sports le no makeup look above.

22 comments:

Rebecca said...

I love the fresh face, minimal makeup look. Though I'm still searching for the perfect lipstick and or pencil that gives one the rosy pink/neutral, bitten lip look.

I know so many women that go to either extreme. Either no makeup at all or they are a total slave to their "mask" and can't be seen without it. I do see what you mean by how effortlessly French women are with makeup. It's probably something they learn well before they start wearing makeup.

I've also been meaning to pick up the Carmindy book you recommended.:)

Rose said...

in my experience most French woman won't be seen dead without make up. Although I suspect Audrey Tatou actually isn't wearing any, she just looks incredible without any effort- in fact it's almost as if she has contempt for how beautiful she is.

Bonjour Madame said...

Yes, how do they do it? I noticed this when I was there too. My interpretation is to take better care of my skin so I can wear less makeup, create an even canvas with powder, mascara only without eyeshadow, a little blush and lipstick. I can't give up the lipstick, but I will venture into more natural shades.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Yes I observed in Paris how make up was very understated (a lot of women had pale lips) but their skin was always wonderful. I had believed all French women wore bright red lips before I went there! Juliette Binoche is a perfect example of looking beautiful with pale and bright lips. I do love the pale lips look but every time I wear it people ask me if I'm feeling ill. They are used to my bright lips! xx

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Rebecca- your observation about the extremes of makeup are so true... it's so often either not at all or waaay too much! I am all for glamming it up for evening- I love a dramatic eye or dramatic lip. During the day (especially in California) a dramatic face of makeup for day seems like overkill. I am always in search of the best lip colors too. My favorite rosy pink/ neutrals are: Bobbi Brown in heather mauve, and Lorac in Wild Orchid (that one is less neutral but has a lovely just bitten look to it).

Rose- Audrey Tautou is so wonderful isn't she? I just saw her in Coco Avant Chanel. They tried to make her more homely looking with unkempt eyebrows but she was still stunning!

Bonjour Madame- You have it spot on. They really emphasize skincare over there... which allows them to "cover up" their flaws less.

Josephine- I am so with you and Bonjour Madame on the bright lips thing. I love bright lipstick... I can't really wear red but I love deep plum shades and berry shades. I think this look can really contribute to "le no makeup look" because it brings the illusion that you simply swiped on a brilliant color of lipstick and walked out the door ;)

Crystal said...

Audrey Tatou is one of my favorite actresses too. So happy you found my blog, because I love yours! Consider me a follower.

I wish I looked good makeup-less, but alas I think I look tired and somewhat sickly sans makeup. :P Must haves for me are eyeliner, a light foundation and blush...all applied to look as natural as possible. (So jealous you lived in France!)

Dulce said...

HI!! Help! I need that make up that seems not make, urgently, for It is always too much or too little... it never seems to work properly... but I guess those French girls have some god gift in their skins...and I am 44 so... which miracles am I to expect? (Shame)
Smiles

ScentScelf said...

Poking my head out from behind my Proust (okay, Steig Larsson, but the idea)...

I am one of those who wrestled with this question in a younger decade. One of the things that became a factor in my own thinking was that I have pale, but good, skin, and--naturally rosy cheeks. Not perfectly placed red with a darker bit underneath the cheekbone to make the bone seem that much more defined, but nonetheless...fair, with coloring.

Which meant that unless I used pancake as a base, I looked like a clown if I tried foundation and/or rouge.

Between that, and my attitude in general, I also generally wore no makeup. To this day, I kind of appreciate the extra drama that simply adding (muted) eyeliner and mascara, or a punch of extra color on the lips, can offer when following this plan.

Though I do find there are more days in this current decade when I want a punch...(hello, Dulce)...so now I am sure to try to keep the 1-2 punch combo for "special," and pick only one or the other for daytime.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Crystal- Thank you for your comment. I love your blog too! I think most of us look tired and sickly without makeup... after all, wasn't it Cindy Crawford that said "Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford"!

Dulce- Didn't you know? 44 is the new 24 (or so I hear:) Both Madame Chic and Bohemienne were well past 40 and both still looked gorgeous rocking their no makeup look (they were wearing makeup after all- they just looked radiant- like they weren't)

Scentscelf- It sounds like your complexion is a fair as a character from a Jane Austin novel- how romantic! If I had flawless skin I would only use mascara/ lip gloss but alas...

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR / ARTIST said...

I agree, less is definitely more.

The thing I remember most about Paris (I spent four days there on a college trip) was the women. Chic! How do they do it? Well, I am learning their secrets from reading your blog ... Yipee!!!

When I was 15 I went on holiday with my best friend and her family to a little place called Massube (I may have mispelt it). Anyway I fell in love with a French boy of 15 with golden skin and long blond curly locks. I can still remember his name to this day - Souvie (I bet I have misspelt this also). I have always held a soft spot for France. Loving your blog.

Tom Bailey said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I like the way you write.

Opinion only to follow:

Being in LA sometimes can make a woman feel they need make-up. From a male viewpoint if a woman is in shape make-up is not all that important.

Best regards

Jo Lynne said...

Love it. Have been doing the same - and though I am a "mature" woman (older than 18, younger than 40) I feel this accentuates what looks I have, far more than lots of makeup ever did!

Following your blog, now. This post and your tweet about the messy top-bun did it.

tishjett@yahoo.com said...

Yes, I definitely know the look you're talking about and I have never met a French woman of any age who doesn't wear makeup. But, it seems to like everything else with them -- it is so subtle, as you said, and so much a part of the extension of their fascinating personalities like their clothes, homes, perfume and on and on.

Lovely blog you have. And you are capturing the joie de vivre you seek.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Sharon- thank you so much. I would love to hear more about your French adventures with Souvie (sp) I hope you fill us in on your blog one day... xo

Tom- I am thrilled to get a male's perspective- thank you for your comment. You bring a very valid point- being healthy and in shape is the number one most important thing... then enhancing the features with subtle makeup (for many women- a must) is secondary. I do hope you will return to give more insights to us women...

Jo-Lynne: Thank you! I am now following you on twitter and your blog as well... looking forward to getting to know you better xo

Tish- thank you for your comment. You observation is so true and is similar to Tom's thoughts- subtle makeup is just an extension of an overall look- the right clothes, being in shape etc. It is the icing on top of the cake ;)

The Coastal Chicster said...

I love the less is more look, as well. Although I could never quite perfect it until I jumped on that Bare Escentuals bandwagon. I thought that Bare Minerals stuff was just a passing trend...and then I tried it, and, VOILA! I love it. :)

P.S. I had the pleasure of seeing that Nars eyeshadow in real life today - it's even prettier in person. :)

Gary Heller said...

I've always preferred when woman wear less make up. I like the natural look most.
No make up is ok, slight make up is great and too much not good.
I can't believe I'm commenting on make-up.
Anyway, thanks for your good words and support.
Soon again

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Gary- we women love to hear what men have to say on these subjects (see Tom's comment above) so I (and I am sure others) are thrilled that you left a comment on my makeup post :) It seems to be the consensus- no makeup = washed out and slightly sickly looking. Just the right about? Hot. :)

Coastal Chicster- I love Bare Minerals. I am a huge fan- their makeup really helps with the no makeup look. I love 'warmth' and can't live without it! xo

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I meant right 'amount' not 'about' ;)

ParisBreakfasts said...

Thanks for the Carmindy tip!
Must run to CVS when I get home :)

Dining on Deals said...

I am not at all appalled that you didn't wear makeup when in France - I'm sure you didn't need it and still looked gorgeous! I wear light makeup at work (in case I get called for an audition) and for evening events but otherwise try to avoid it. Probably laziness, but I try to tell myself that if men don't need it, then neither do women!

Clarity said...

Just jumped on Le No Make-up from your previous post. What is the 5 minute face? Do share.

As for this, interesting, Tatou has full but groomed eyebrows, so natural and a good frame for big - bigger looking eyes.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Clarity- My five minute face involves powder foundation, concealer, blush, eyebrow powder, mascara, blush and lip balm. I am probably going to do a post soon describing my 5 minute, 10 minute and 20 minute face :) Hope you're well! xo

 
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