Want to reenact Parisian life wherever you are in the world? Here are my 5 tips on bringing home Paris.
From a young age we're accustomed to thinking that Paris is full of glitz and glam, People drenched in expensive perfume and clinking around the streets like wind-chimes, sporting époques of jewellery.
Well, this is all very untrue as I found out - dressed in my London gear upon arrival, six years ago. I had neck-scarfs, pointy-purple shoes, waistcoats... You know, the whole nine, and how was it perceived? Nothing less than an array of dirty looks from a swarm of glum colourphobes... Hence to say -- London did not work in Paris!
Be under no allusions that the streets sparkle like Cinderella's vanity table. Paris is like any big city, and in some cases worse. The streets are used as public toilets for not only dog, but man too. Using public bins is a rare pastime, and the gleaming beige walls that you see in all those over-exposed Instagram posts are, without filters, blackened by the smog from the overpopulation of cars that will harass your eardrums until you find the next café to dive into.
... All that being said, the food is good!
Paris just doesn't care. It's like that old lady in the local pub who's dressed in her rare few jewels, smokes like a chimney, has a vast array of stories to tell, and has a truck-load of opinions to go along with them. She's nice, it's best to spend limited amounts of time with her, and she doesn't care about your opinion...
STEP 1 - Foundation:
Many people say to me; "French women just look so effortlessly chic" and the reason for that is because the effort level is kept to a time saving and simple minimum. Heavy makeup is out those big Parisian windows in this case, unless you have skin concerns; like acne, pigmentation or anything else where you may want more coverage, then go for a full coverage foundation.
Makeup is to make you feel more confident and ready for anything, so if hiding any flaws is on the top of your list, skip to step two.
The first step to an even looking skin tone is a simple BB cream or tinted moisturiser. French women do not wear a lot of makeup at all, so something lightweight that looks like skin and can be applied with your fingers is the best way to go. Summer is on it's way and the Spring has finally started to show some signs of life, so using a BB cream with an SPF will start you off on the right foot for the season.
Who does natural better than Bobbi? This 'Nude Finish Tinted Moisturiser' contains SPF 15 and is in a handy tube which is nifty to keep in your bag for touch ups throughout the day. Choose a shade that matches your skin exactly and then use a bronzer if you want to warm it up a little.
STEP 2 - Powder
I'm not a huge fan of really matte makeup, but powder is your best way for a long lasting look. Using a brush will give you a sheer finish and using a velour puff (I like using these... I feel a little more old fashioned) will give you a more matte finish and will help press the makeup into the skin.
I've been using the Makeup Forever Loose Powder for a while and I can honestly say that I'm loving it.
If you're looking to touch up during the day, it may be better to go for the compact version.
STEP 3 - Brows
If you have a Kiko nearby, it's time to pay them a visit! Recently I found the perfect brow kits from them and they are really not expensive at all. They come in three different shades and are once again in a compact, so it can come along for the ride. You rarely see full-on painted brow in Paris, which is why I like this.
Using a shadow will give you a softer look. Using the slanted brush; follow the natural shape of your brow whilst brushing along the growth of the hair. Use the brush at the bottom to comb the brows in place and soften the colour, blending any harsh lines.
There's even a mini pair of tweezers for those unruly strays!
STEP 4 - The Parisian Liner
There's no time for shadow here, so you can breathe a sigh of relief and send your blending brush on a long awaited vacation after your difficult relationship together. But just to keep the eye clean-looking, I'm going to suggest using a eyeshadow that's half a shade lighter than your skin tone all over the lid, to give us a good base to work with.
For the precise line accompanied with a mini flick, we're going to need Bobbi Brown once again, because I find there's nothing better than Bob's gel liner in 'black ink' for this task.
You'll need their ultra fine liner brush for this. I find it much easier to use than those pens.
Take a small amount of product on each side of the brush and wipe of any excess from each side (to flatten the hairs) on the rim of the pot.
Start thin on the inner corner of the eye, making the line thicker towards the outer corner. Look up and draw a small flick from the very outer corner.
Close your eye and join the lines, pulling the line out to a very fine point. Finish up with a few coats of mascara and breathe a sigh of relief. It's time for the final step and then you're free to go.
STEP SIX - Blush, and of course... the red lip!
The signature of the Parisian woman and my favourite of all time, the red lip. But before we do that, let's pop on a bit of blush. I tend to like the MAC blushers as they have a good colour pay off and you don't need to use a lot of product.
Mocha is one of the shades I find that it works well with light to medium skin tones and compliments a red lip nicely.
Richer skin tones could try using MAC's 'Flame' another firm favourite of mine.
Apply to the apples of your cheeks by smiling and moving the brush from the centre, downwards and outwards, to give yourself the most natural flush, think about where you naturally flush after exercising.
Last and certainly not least is the lips. And there's only one person for the job... well I'm sure there are thousands, but this one here be my go to when it's red lip time.
As seen in the picture at the top of the page, Ruby Woo is one of those reds that works for most people. It's matte and long lasting so you won't find the need to touch up too many times in the day.
If you're very fair with auburn hair, you might want to try Lady Danger. It has a touch more warmth to it and can work with well with this combination.
Whip it on and you're now ready to be Parisian in Norway, India, Hong Kong, Peru, or wherever you are on the planet. It's about simple makeup that looks done and requires little effort.
I would love to hear about your favourite products and statement lip colours that you have in your makeup case.
Have a lovely day and enjoy this Spring weather! I'm off to get yet another coffee and play with the cat... exciting afternoon. Yes, it all happens in Paris.