It’s no secret that many tourists come to Paris in search of discovering the best French makeup brands. If you’ve ever visited France, you’ve probably noticed that most French women have something in common: luminous skin, subtle and elegant eye make-up and a perfect red lip. So, what are the best French makeup brands and where can you discover them? Below you’ll find our complete guide to French makeup and beauty including what’s inside a French girl’s makeup kit, where you can find the perfect red lipstick, and more INSIDR tips you won’t find anywhere else!
Most Popular French Makeup Brands
BY TERRY is a French luxury skincare and cosmetics company that started in Paris. This brand was founded by Terry de Gunzburg who is best known for having invented the best-selling YSL Touché Eclat concealer that was considered a game-changer in makeup. Since having left YSL Beauté, Gunzburg has launched her own successful brand, BY TERRY.
The brand focuses on skincare and cosmetics that have anti-aging formulas and innovative color palettes. What everybody loves about BY TERRY is their personalized approach to applying makeup. Visiting their boutique at Galerie Véro-Dodat, you’ll be able to choose the right shades for your skin-type with the help of their skin and makeup consultants.
Chanel makeup holds the same iconic status as the brand’s clothes, and for good reason. The beauty branch was founded in 1924 with the launch of their still-popular perfume, Chanel N°5. A face powder and lipsticks followed soon after, establishing Chanel Makeup as a leader and innovator in the global makeup game. Some of their most popular products today are the Huile de Jasmine beauty oil and of course their red lipsticks. Try the Rouge Allure Intense Long-Wear Lip Colour for that perfect Parisian red lip.
Since its founding in 1969, Dior has long been considered as one of the best French makeup brands in the market. When they started, their mission was to create makeup in unique shades and colours for use in couture runway shows. Today, their best selling products are basics like mascara, eyeshadow, nail polish and lipstick. If you ask a make-up artist what is the best mascara out there, they’ll probably answer Diorshow. The mascara is a cult favorite and has been since the early 2000s.
Lancôme is one of oldest french makeup brands in operation. What started out as a perfume company has grown to become one of the top luxury beauty companies in the world after they were acquired by L’Oréal in 1964. In January of 2015, Lancôme appointed the highly-respected makeup artist and YouTuber Lisa Eldridge as its Global Creative Director. This a great French makeup brand to check out if you want high quality makeup basics without the luxury price tag of companies like Chanel and Dior.
What’s inside a French girl’s makeup kit
1 – concealer
The French girl’s makeup kit can be broken down into four must-haves. The first is concealer which brightens, color-corrects and gives you a natural finish. For a French girl look, combine your concealer with a lightweight foundation for a simple, dewy look. We love the Stylo-Expert Click Stick concealer from BY TERRY. It comes in an ergonomic applicator which makes it extremely easy to apply on top of foundation or on bare skin!
2 – mascara
The second must-have is an awesome mascara. Luxury brands like Dior and Chanel both make great mascaras, but at a hefty price. For a more affordable option, try the Lash-Expert Twist Brush Volume & Length Mascara from BY TERRY. It’s actually a dual-action mascara that you can twist 2 different ways: one for volume and one for length. It’s particularly great for those who don’t have very lengthy lashes as it coats even the smallest and shortest lash hairs.
3 – pencil eyeliner for a smoky eye
A touch of eyeliner can go a long way. For French girls, a light smokey eye or a well-blended line on the upper lid is a staple look for a night out on the town. Lancôme Crayon Khol is great for a smokey, smudged effect while their Grandiôse Line is best for a razor-sharp application. Equally well-ranked is the Dior Artliner and their felt-tipped Art Pen. To complete the look, blend red and brown shades from the NARS Skin Deep Eye Palette into the crease line. It’s a smokey eye done the Parisian way.
4 – red lipstick
Last but certainly not least is an iconic red lipstick. Our favorite comes from NARS. For a touch of colour, pick up the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil available in 29 different shades. The shade Cruella is perfect for a night out on the town while the brighter shade Dragon Girl effortlessly goes from day to night. Another fantastic option is the Rouje Paris Lip Palette. It has four multipurpose shades that can be used as lipstick, blush and cream eyeshadow. Le Rouje de Paris was founded by French it-girl Jeanne Damas so you know you’ll walk away with that perfect Parisian ‘je ne sais quoi’.
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Where to find French makeup brands
A great place to get many of the products we recommended in this article is: Marionnaud. They have a huge selection of skincare and makeup products in their stores! You can get your hands on the best products in French skincare and have access to high-end makeup brands like YSL, Dior and more! Best part about Marrionaud is that they have over 200 stores in Paris and its surrounding areas so it won’t be hard to find them! They have stores on popular streets like Rue de Rivoli and Avenue Champs-Élysées! Marionnaud is your one stop shop for all your make-up, perfume and skincare needs!
If you’re planning on shopping at Marionnaud during your next Paris trip, download your INSIDR voucher! Enjoy a sweet 15% discount off any purchase plus another 12% tax refund for purchases over 175€!
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By Terry at Galerie Véro-Dodat
BY TERRY has become an increasingly popular luxury French beauty brand across the world. Beauty-lovers visiting Paris shouldn’t miss the chance to pop-by its beautiful boutique in the equally gorgeous Galerie Véro-Dodat which is one of Paris’ oldest shopping arcades. While BY TERRY products are available at many department stores in Paris like Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, their boutique in Paris is where you can really enjoy the brand’s full range of services.
Apart from a free skin and makeup consultation with their makeup artists, shopping at the BY TERRY boutique also lets you walk away with gifts. You can get a free travel set of the brand’s best-selling products with every purchase of 2 products! I’d hurry over there if I were you.
Major Department stores in Paris
Major department stores in Paris offer a huge selection of national and foreign beauty brands. They also enjoy exclusive partnerships with many beauty companies meaning they almost-always carry limited-edition products and deals that are not available anywhere else. Large department stores like Galeries Lafayette Haussmann also offer complimentary makeup services for their customers. This is also where you’ll find exclusive seasonal makeup collections. Plus, if you’re visiting from outside of the EU, at Galeries Lafayette you can get an instant tax refund in Paris on any purchase you make in-store. Besides Galeries Lafayette, other French department stores accessible in Paris include Le BHV Marais and Le Bon Marché. Our Top Paris Shopping Guide shares all the important shopping details
Oh my cream!
Oh my cream! is a French beauty concept store with locations across the country. Their skilled team cherry picks amazing, clean beauty products and aims to educate and demystify the customer about the beauty industry. They carry a wide range of lesser-known beauty products including makeup and skin care lines. If you’re tired of the ordinary makeup shopping experience, Oh my Cream is for you. You can visit one of their Paris locations at 17 rue Debelleyme, 3 rue de Tournon, 104 rue du Bac, 2 rue Guichard, and 4 rue des Abbesses.
Top tips from French makeup experts
Terry de Gunzburg
BY TERRY‘s founder Terry de Gunzburg has been dubbed the “Steve Jobs of beauty” for her ability to create beauty products that grow a cult-following. She’s the brilliant mind behind the revolutionary YSL Touché Eclat that launched several other highlighter pens from multiple beauty brands. Terry de Gunzburg’s signature look is all about having perfect skin, rosy lips, and expertly curled ebony lashes. According to the beauty maven, “There is nothing like a classic red lip to make me feel beautiful” which is why she is never without her BY TERRY Rouge Expert Click Stick in 17-My Red.
Jeanne Damas is a makeup guru in her own right. She’s one of those responsible for putting ‘French girl chic‘ in the spotlight with her classic and effortless style that you can actually shop at her clothing label, Rouje. Even with much success in fashion, it’s no surprise she has branched out to beauty. Her recently released Rouje lip palette is just the tip of the iceberg. In a recent Vogue interview, Damas took fans through her entire makeup routine. Her signature look is as simple as natural skin, thick, gelled brows, and a dab of rouge on the lips and cheeks. While it doesn’t take much to look stunning when you’re Jeanne Damas, some of us might need a little extra help.
For the Parisian makeup artist and Estée Lauder’s new Global Beauty Director simply known as ‘Violette’, makeup is all about accentuating what’s already there. For her, as she says for many French women, every beauty routine starts with the ‘base’ by which she means, great hair and ever better skin. She uses a potent cocktail of French pharmacy staples on her skin to prep, then adds a few dramatizing touches like a bit of smudged eyeliner and a red lip. Another rule? Violette is absolutely against contour. She prefers adding a bit of highlighter to create dimension rather than weighing the skin down with bronzers and concealer. If you wanna know the basics about French skincare, we have a guide on the Top 20 Products!
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