3 ways to get perfect French girl make-up and glowing skin

There's a reason why the French coined the term Je ne sais quoi and this is it...

French girl beauty Lea Seydoux.jpg
French girl beauty Lea Seydoux.jpg
(Image credit: REX/Shutterstock)

There's a reason why the French coined the term Je ne sais quoi and this is it...

There’s a reason why the French coined the term je ne sais quoi, because quite simply, sometimes it’s hard to describe how effortlessly beautiful they are.

The way they dress, their chic hair and their on fleek eyeliner (that is so synonymous with the ideals of French beauty), is just a few of the elements that have long fostered our admiration.

So much so, that recently Pinterest reported a 20% increase in Pins for ‘French Style’ – up by 12% this year alone, which is shocking to, well frankly, nobody.

Want to get that French girl look? Here’s how…

Skincare From the age of 15, most French girls are initiated into a routine of regular cleansing, toning and moisturising by their mums (the average British woman doesn’t start until she’s 25!). And by the age of 20, nearly two-thirds of them are using mild anti-ageing creams.

(Image credit: LaurentVU/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Clémence Poésy

So, if you want glowing skin like Clémence Poésy, it's a good idea to do your research and invest in the best moisturiser for dry skin. It contains ingredients that are like super foods for your skin (Cedarwood Bark Oil, Camellia Leaf Extract and Lavender Oil - just to name a few) and is light in texture, making it easily absorbed.

The most committed French skincare obsessives don’t use water to rinse their cleansers away either – they use spritzers instead, like Avène Thermal Water Spray, £10. “It softens the skin to allow better penetration of the toner, serum and moisturiser that follow,” says Avène’s pharmacist, Bao-Tam Phan.

Sounds high-maintenance but the French morning skincare routine is actually pretty speedy compared to the night before. There’s no full-face wash, just a simple swipe with Micellar Water (single-step cleansing waters that you use on a cotton pad) – basically their version of face wipes and a lot better for your skin. Try La Roche Posay Micellar Water, £11 – it’s effective enough to remove the oils your skin produces while you sleep without drying it out.

(Image credit: LaurentVU/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Melanie Laurent

Hydration is also key. A good face oil, like Decléor’s Aromessence Neroli Super Serum, £45, will actually balance your sebum production, making it ideal for both oily and dry skin.


French women consider masks a necessity and they don’t just apply them to their face. “The skin on the neck and décolletage is just as fragile as the skin on your face, so most French women look after this area just as well,” says Karine Berlioz, global marketing director of Filorga.

French women are very committed to their aestheticians too. Visiting their skin-care specialist on a regular basis is as important as the daily routine they follow at home.

(Image credit: Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock)

Vanessa Paradis

One of the most popular treatments is a mesotherapy facial, which shoots vitamin cocktails into the middle layer of the skin using micro needles. Try the Meso Glow treatment at Dr Sebagh.

Make-up French women take a 'less is more' approach when it comes to make-up. According to the Colour Cosmetics Market Report, British women spend more on cosmetics than their French counterparts.

For them, make-up is about highlighting what they like, instead of hiding what they don’t, so they’re more likely to dab foundation just where it’s needed and leave the rest of their skin bare. Lancôme’s Miracle Cushion Compact, £30, gives you all the benefits of a BB and CC cream in a foundation and is super-light, making it perfect for creating that bare-skin look.

Brows are crucial to the French-girl aesthetic and err on the fuller side, so don’t get too tweezer-happy. If you haven't been blessed with face frames like Audrey Tautou, just fake it with a good pencil like Benefit’s Precisely My Brow Pencil, £18.50.

Find the best eyebrow shape for your face

Eyes are the biggest focus in French beauty (they spend £156 million a year on eye make-up compared to £46million on lips), which is perhaps why they’re so famous for their chic cat-eye flick and alluring smokey eye.

(Image credit: NIVIERE/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Laetitia Casta

Go for neutral eye shadows over colour because they add depth and definition that looks natural and to finish, always swipe on a good mascara but don't go over board with it the general rule is one coat for the day, two for night, so put your falsies away...

Natalie Lukaitis