How to Achieve the French Girl No-Makeup Look, According to a Real-Life ‘Emily in Paris’

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It’s no secret that French women have that certain je ne sais quoi. After building out our own wardrobes with très chic staples, we’re now turning our focus to another French hallmark: the complexion. Known for their minimalist approach to beauty, French women are masters of the no-makeup look. And with spring upon us and summer fast approaching, sweating off even our light-weight foundation just doesn’t sound that appealing. So we met with une Américaine turned Parisienne (Emily in Paris wishes!) and the founder of French Girl Daily, Victoria Petersen, to get all the secrets on mastering the French no-makeup look.

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1. Prep Le Visage

First things first, in order to have a beautiful canvas, you must put in the prep work. Petersen begins her makeup routine with the most important step: skincare. If you want to achieve that glowing Parisian look, it’s important to create a smooth, plump base for your makeup. After washing her face with a gentle cleanser like Bioderma Créaline Gel Moussant cleanser, Petersen lathers on Avene Hydrance moisturizing cream with SPF 30. Lastly, she dabs on a generous coat of NUXE Rêve de Miel's ultra-nourishing lip balm for the softest lips.

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2. Conceal And Blur L’imperfections

Don’t let your eyes deceive you. French woman are, in fact, wearing makeup. The secret to their even skin tone? Concealer and tinted moisturizer. After her skincare is complete, Petersen applies the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer under her eyes and around her nose (where there's the most redness and discoloration). She then follows up with the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 all over her face to further even out the skin tone, focusing primarily on the T-zone.

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3. Enhance Your Features

Next, Petersen focuses on enhancing her features. Lightly adding the ILIA Multi-Stick Cream Blush and Lip Tint to her cheeks, she blends the color on the tops of her cheekbones using her fingers for a natural, rosy finish. One key tip Petersen shared: “The French don’t pack on the blush,” so use a light hand. She then curls her eyelashes and applies one to two coats of ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara. Lastly, Petersen fills in her eyebrows with the Laura Mercier Eyebrow Pencil using small, light strokes. The biggest takeaway here? Less is more.

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4. Add The Finishing Touches, Et Voilà!

Last but not least, Petersen lightly dusts the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder over her T-zone to keep the shine away and set her makeup in place for the day. She then completes the look with the most critical step in her routine: lipstick. “I think the key to getting the French ‘no-makeup’ look is to use a matte lip color,” Petersen says. So, the next time you’re perusing the beauty aisles, pick a stain-like matte shade rather than a gloss, and opt for a softer, pinkish-red hue that enhances the natural color of your lips. (One of her favorites is from Yolaine.)

Ready to try the French no-makeup look yourself? Our only answer is oui!

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Stephanie Meraz

Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie Meraz is PureWow’s Associate Fashion Commerce Editor. Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She has over 22+ years...
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