The Last Word on French Girl Beauty
According to the most Parisian makeup artist of them all, Violette.
Blame it on slavishly working on upping our Jane Birkin Pinterest board. French girl beauty is the phenomenon we know is not only impossible standard to live up to; it's been discussed and done to death. Or so you'd think. And yet, give us a striped boatneck, leather skinnies, blunt bangs and an applied-in-the-back-of-a-cab red lip or smudge-y liner and we basically lose it.
So when we had the chance to speak with makeup artist Violette, who collaborates with brands like Dior and paints the faces seen in French Vogue editorials on the regular, it was only natural that our conversation quickly descended into how skipping regular manicures and blowouts still means looking like... well, that. Here, she explains all (we'll never see a face wipe as so decidedly American again).
ON SKINCARE ALWAYS COMING FIRST:
"For me, skincare is like the most important thing. In France, where I’m from, you learn how to make the best with what you have. [Your] skincare routine, what you eat and drink is pretty important, so that you can enhance your skin first, before finding a solution through makeup. The idea is to be, as much as you can be, yourself, and not be costumed with so much makeup or hiding behind a mask. I have so many products, you have no idea, but most of the time, I use French pharmacy products."
ON THE ULTIMATE COLD WEATHER MORNING ROUTINE:
"In the morning I [use a] mild [makeup] remover, just to clean the face. It’s called Roséliane Dermo-Cleansing Fluid. Then I use thermal water spray—Tata Harper's [Hydrating Floral Essence], it’s like a spray. Now, because it’s winter, I use this new oil that I love from La Mer, the Renewal Oil for the face. It’s pretty amazing because it settles in the skin right away, so I’m not going to have, like, greasy skin. It’s just going to moisturize and give nutrition to my skin, no matter what, which is what I need in winter, especially now that I’m based in New York. The winter is so much harder, so the skin needs a different routine. When it’s super cold, I’m use, on top of that, Roséliane Anti-Redness Cream, which is really amazing."
ON USING MAKEUP AS AN ACCESSORY:
"During the day, when I’m just working, I just like to use just a little bit. I only use makeup as a way to enhance my face or as a beauty accessory, like an amazing red lipstick or something like that. I have super sensitive skin, so most of the time I cannot even wear foundation. It’s so annoying, but I think in a way it’s good, because you have to find other ways to make your skin look great."
ON THE BEST CONCEALERS & IT BEING OKAY TO USE YOUR FINGERS:
"I have two concealers that I am obsessed with—the Dior concealer, I love because the texture is liquid, but it’s not too watery or too oily at all. It’s so easy to work [with]. I only use my fingers when I apply concealer, because I feel like with fingers is the best way to really settle the concealer into your skin and hide pigmentation issues, and make perfect, even skin. The texture is amazing.
The other one, that is not out yet is from Sephora. It’s high coverage, with a natural finish. It’s very pigmented, but it’s so easy to use. You just put a little bit under your dark circles and around your lips and it’s like, boom, there is no pigmentation anymore. It’s like liquid in a stick. I don’t really use any powder, because my skin is not oily, so I don’t need that."
ON—YOU GUESSED IT—THE IMPORTANCE OF BROWS & BLUSH:
"To me, brows are super important, so I use the brow pencil from CHANEL to thicken my eyebrows. And then I use the Glossier Boy Brow. It’s amazing. It’s so good because of the color. The only problem I have is that everything related to brows is like a color that is never good for me. But with this, the color is perfect for me and the product makes your eyebrow feel thicker and a little bit more boy-ish. And it stays all day. I’m obsessed with it. It’s really, really great.
Then, it’s blush. I use the Dior Blush or I use a Bobbi Brown pink blush. It’s such a fresh pink, if I’m tan or pale, it will fit my skin no matter what. The texture is not too dry. It’s perfect. When I do that—so basically it’s only concealer and blush on my skin—it looks really like it’s my own skin, I don’t have any texture on it, but I look rested."
ON NIGHT OUT MAKEUP & HATING CONTOURING (!):
"When I go to a party or something where I know I want to take pictures, I always think of highlighting my face, more than bringing any shadow. I really hate contouring. I feel like you really change your features, and I understand that for some women it’s good. On some celebrities, I used to try a little bit of contouring, but I’d rather put some highlights and lighten the face than shadow. On [myself], I’m never going to put any shadows.
The only products that I use, though, are the Dior Blush Sculpt Powder #2—I’m just going to push under my cheekbones a little bit, but that’s it. Just to push my cheekbones back. That’s it. Basically for the skin, I’m going to do the same routine. I’m going to use a concealer. The only foundation that I wear—I think there’s two foundations that I could wear that are pretty light: the Glossier foundation or the Nude Air Serum from Dior is pretty good. I feel like it’s like water with pigment. I know that it’s not water for real, but it feels like it. It’s super fresh. I just put it on my skin. It will enhance my skin texture and make it so even, without adding any extra texture to my skin. You can’t feel it."
ON THE BEST LIPSTICK MONEY CAN BUY:
"I have big lips and they have a natural color, so as soon as I change my lip color, it’s like I’m wearing something. It’s not that I’m extreme, but I’d rather go as natural [as possible], like look like me so that no one can tell, or I’ll put on something like a very strong red or flame lipstick.
But I don’t really use lipstick anymore. But I used to always do like a really strong red matte lipstick or brown-y, plum lipsticks. My favorite is the Sephora Longwear Lipstick #1, because it’s matte and the red is really intense, like everytime I’m wearing people ask me where I got it. Everytime I say Sephora, they’re like, ‘What?!’ And you can kiss your boyfriend with it. "
ON WHAT YOU'LL FIND IN HER WARDROBE:
"I’m obsessed with leather. I’m obsessed with heels. Usually I wear leather pants or a perfect leather jacket, but I have to get leather somewhere. It’s like a need! [laughs] I guess I love when it’s very feminine-slash-boyish look. I love a very masculine tuxedo pant, and then I’ll wear an amazing bodysuit from Kiki de Montparnasse to break it [up] with something very feminine, and then I’m just going to wear like a leather jacket from Burberry. Honestly, if I could just dress myself up with Saint Laurent, Burberry, and Kiki de Montparnasse, I’d be happy.
And Gianvito Rossi for shoes. I’m such a fan. But also sometimes, I feel like if I just wear jeans with amazing Gianvito Rossi shoes and I also have this huge Joseph coat, just this huge coat and heels from Gianvito Rossi and jeans with a cashmere sweater—I feel good too."
ON HER (FRENCH GIRL) HAIR ROUTINE:
"With my hair, again we go back to the French girl [way]—you don’t want to blow dry your hair crazily everyday. You want to have an amazing texture. You really want to have the best hair texture. So I’ve tried everything that exists! Keratin treatments, everything.
My hair is pretty easy—if I want it to be straight, I just brush it and dry it at the same time; if I want it to be curly, I just dry it [upside] down and I press the hair between my hands to catch the curl. It’s super easy. I have a lot [of hair], but it’s pretty thin. So if I put heavy products on it, it will destroy my hair. I will look like a weirdo. "
ON WHY WE SHOULD ALL START INTERROGATING our HAIRSTYLISTS:
"The day I stopped using silicon changed my life, honestly. You know, how actresses freaks out and asks everything they’re wearing, I’m the same way. When [a hairdresser is] washing my hair, like, ‘Do you use silicon? Are you sure? Can you check?’ [Laughs] But it changed my hair so much! I lost my color. I lost all my brightness. I lost everything when I was using it. It was in all my products, and I didn’t know. Then I found out silicon stays on your hair forever, like you need a few months to get rid of it. So I did, and now my hair looks amazing."
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PRE-NIGHT OUT BANG TRIM:
"When I go out, now I just cut my bangs, so it’s a huge change in my life [laughs]. Now that I have my bangs, I feel like my eyes are better."
ON THE PRODUCTS THAT GET EVEN HER STYLIST TO FREAK OUT ABOUT HER HAIR:
"[For] three months, I’ve only been using shu eumera products for my hair. They cost a lot. Honestly a little bit of a sacrifice, but even my hairstylist is like, ‘Oh my God, what did you do? Your hair is looking amazing!’ It’s so rare that you hear, ‘Your hair looks amazing—what did you do?’ but honestly since I did this, that’s what I’ve been hearing."
ON HER NIGHT ROUTINE:
"At night, I use the La Roche-Posay makeup remover. I don’t even use cotton pads or anything, I just put it on my face and massage it in for like three minutes. It’s like a gel to remove everything, and it’s not aggressive on the skin. And then I rinse it off with a lot of water to really make the skin very clean. From the same brand, I have this Calming Lotion, from La Roche-Posay as well. And I use an antioxidant serum that is called [Jaldes] Oxelio Topique. Then once a week, I use the Glossier masks, both of them. They’re so good. I love them. And then I think that’s it!"
ON HER THOROUGH MAKEUP REMOVAL METHOD OF CHOICE:
"You can ask my boyfriend, I am such a pain in the ass. Even if it’s at 5 A.M. and I’m a little bit drunk, I will never, ever go to bed without taking off my makeup. The foundation drives me crazy. Honestly, I really put a ton of milk cream on my hands and face and then massage, massage, massage. I rinse off with cool water, and I feel, in two minutes, really fresh."
ON NEVER USING FACE WIPES (LIKE, EVER!):
"Never! I don’t use wipes because they’re too drying. Even cotton pads, I’m kind of against them. Imagine. [Laughs]"