Universally Flattering Looks: Parisian Chic

Let me preface this by saying I am neither cool nor French. I am an ungainly Midwesterner in every sense of the term. But, if I were a cool French girl, I have a pretty good idea how I’d do my makeup. It would be imprecise, but classic. It would work with a variety of sartorial choices. It wouldn’t be too harsh, nor too subtle, nor too complicated. Above all, it would make me look effortless, like the kind of young, urbane woman who wakes up, lounges around with her lover for a bit,  smears on a bit of lip color, and pulls an Isabel Marant sweater off the floor of her adorably disheveled apartment and meets her friends for an espresso (clearly, I have given this mental picture far too much detailed thought). Basically, I want to look fabulous, but like I just threw everything on without trying, and I really don’t want to try to have to achieve this look, either. Which is why we will be skipping a full face of foundation and opting instead for lighter coverage. Begin with a bare face.

If I don’t look to pleased to be parading my naked face on the internet, it’s because I’m really not.

Next up, apply the BB or CC cream of your choice. If you’ve got some blemishes or stubborn redness, feel free to cover it with some concealer. I decided to forego taking such liberties with the spots on my forehead in favor of truly embracing that I don’t give a fuck spirit (also, because I’m lazy, which is what I think this whole look boils down to). The below featured picture is me wearing Stila CC Cream in Fair, which neutralizes redness like whoa.

I pulled up my hair to facilitate application. The black background seemed appropriately minimalist.

Below is me, plus elf eye primer (we’re about to get some shadows up in this bitch) and elf eyebrow duo in medium (which is probably a touch too dark/warm for me, but whatev).

Fun Fact: I sneezed immediately after taking this picture.

Next I swept a light, shimmery pink from lashes to brow bone (specifically, the pink shade in Sephora’s golden pink N0. 10 duo eyeshadow) using a medium-sized flat shadow brush. Then I deepened my eyelid crease and darkened my outer corners using a domed eyeshadow contour brush and elf eyeshadow in Driftwood. Blend that shit (I used my MAC 217 brush, but any big, fluffy, and most importantly clean eyeshadow brush will do the trick). I also lined my upper lashes with Sephora Long-Lasting 12HR Wear Liquid Eyeliner in 06 Dark Matte Brown.  I finished off the shadow portion of this look by softening the liquid line with the darkest shade of Revlon’s Colorstay Eyeshadow Quad in Brazen. Using an angled liner brush, I lined over my liquid on my upper lash line and gently defined the outer third of my lower lash line. You could use black if you like, but brown reads a bit warmer and doesn’t have the same “I put in at least a minimum amount of work to achieve this look” vibe as a black liquid line. Either way, the shadow over the liner will provide great staying power and dampen some of the liquid liner’s I-made-an-effort crispness.

Now that I think about it, two shadows and two liners is kind of a lot of effort to look effortless. I now feel more than a little pretentious and hypocritical.

To finish off the eyes, you want two coats of your choice of mascara. A lengthening mascara for a more doe-eyed effect would be great with this look, but I chose BUXOM Buxom Lash. Beware; it’s not for the faint of heart (or the faint of volume). Any more than two coats and you might have difficulty blinking.

I probably should have reevaluated my commitment to two coats after I finished the first one. One coat may have been ideal.

Next up: smear on a bit of red lipstick. No liner, no brush. Lip tools are not how [my narrow and completely fictional concept of] cool French girls roll. Straight from the tube and smudge into your lips with a fingertip. Blot if necessary. I used Albeit lipstick in Vermilion, which (the name would suggest) sounds pretty orange-y, but is actually a fairly true red.  You can tell I really reeeeally love the classic gold packaging (so much simpler than the YSL and Geurlain lipstick tubes, but just as luxe) because it’s the header image for my blog!

Finally, you want to pat on some gel cheek color (with your fingers, because we’ve already established that French Girls don’t use lip or face brushes). I’m wearing Tarte Cheek Stain in Blushing Bride below.

Then, shake your hair loose and pose on a balcony, thinking cool-French-girl thoughts.

I’m scowling because I can see how terrible my under-eyes look in natural direct sunlight. I probably should have opted for some concealer during step 1 of this whole exercise. I AM NOT AN EXPERT JUST SOME GIRL WITH A BLOG OKAY.

In case you skimmed with anything less than rapt attention, here is a visual aid of products used in this tutorial:

Shown but not previously described: Vaseline (for moisturizing your mouthflaps pre-lipstick); eyelash curler (well duh); eyebrow brush and eyelash comb (for taming your eye-mantles and combing between mascara coats).

And a swatch party, just because:

Sephora 12HR Liquid Eyeliner ; Revlon Colorstay 16-Hour Eyeshadow; Sephora Golden Pink Eyeshadow; elf Driftwood Eyeshadow; Tarte Blushing Bride Cheek Stain; Albeit Vermilion Lipstick, which is photographing kind of coral-y, so, my bad.

Time to go hang out in cafes and smoke clove cigarettes and discuss existentialism and do other hot French girl things. After I take a nap (how French).

EDIT: It occurs to me that I accidentally used a RIMMEL eyeliner in Sable for the product picture and swatch. Totally my bad. However, I can assure you that I used the Sephora Liquid Liner for the tutorial pictures. I will post updated swatches to correct this egregious oversight in the near future.

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