How To Look Like a Parisian Girl

Bon jour!

I’ve just come back from a 3 week long trip to Paris, where I was working with the amazing Wendy Yalom on several Personal Branding Shoots for some inspiring women entrepreneurs.

Going to Paris has always been a dream of mine, and to be able to go for my career is a makeup artist’s dream come true. To be in Paris for 3 weeks was truly amazing. I really got to settle in and get to know the city. I also felt so at home there, like I was a resident of this beautiful city.

Before my trip, I was honestly a little nervous about going. I had scoped out fashion blogs and re-watched the last few Sex and the City episodes, and was feeling a little insecure about my own style. I was convinced that my clothes and my casual boho style were not going to fit in there. (I know, so silly, but this is what was going through my mind). I felt like I needed to get a whole new wardrobe, but there just wasn’t time. And I didn’t want to spend all the money I was earning on new clothes for the trip.

So I packed my favorite pieces of clothing, and just decided that I was going look great just as I was.

When I got there, I realized there was no need to worry! Parisian girls have this casual, effortless, “I just woke up like this” style, and I felt like I fit in just fine. Other than the fact that I speak about 10 French words and have tattoos and my nose pierced, I could’ve been mistaken for a French woman. (From what I could see, the French aren’t into tattoos and piercings so much).

While I was there I thought it would be fun for me to bring back some of the Parisian style and beauty tips and share with you. It’s perfect for those days that you want to feel cool and put together but not have to look like you spent hours on yourself. So I’m going to do little Parisian series for you, starting with their beauty secrets.

Parisian beauty is very simple and classic, chic but not fussy. In the 3 weeks that I was there, these are the top 5 Beauty tricks that I observed. Adopt a few into your style, or use them all!

1. Natural looking makeup is all the rage. 90% of the women I observed had very natural looking makeup. The skin was very fresh and natural looking, no contouring or heavy bronzer, and light blush if any at all. In fact, I’ll bet that most women weren’t wearing foundation. I rarely leave the house without foundation, and if you feel that way too, you can still rock this and wear some makeup. Wear a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer. Skip the contouring and powder. Wear a tiny bit of blush, or just a little bronzer to give your face some color.

I didn’t see the women wearing a lot of eye makeup. I rarely saw any at all. Skip the eye shadow and just wear mascara to emphasize your eyes.

2. Wear red lipstick- all the time. Despite looking like fans of the no makeup look, the French women seem to love their red lipstick. And it wouldn’t be a stain, it would be bold. I rarely wear red during the day, but when in France….. I wore my new favorite red lipstick, Annabella by Nars, every day and felt fabulous in it. If you’re looking for a new red to wear, check out my blog post on The Perfect Lips for Valentine's Day to see some of my favorite reds.

3. You can skip your foundation but don’t leave home without doing your brows. Parisian women had naturally beautiful and full brows. They must have missed the grunge over-plucked look of the 90’s, lucky girls. And even those with light colored brows still enhanced them a bit with a little pencil or powder. Having great looking brows always makes you look more polished than unruly brows.

4. Natural looking hair is best. Most Parisian girls wear their hair natural. There wasn’t any perfect looking curls or smooth Kardashian waves. Girls with straight hair didn’t use a straightener to get smooth, stick straight hair. And curly locks weren’t defined with huge amounts of serum or cream. They were just left free to be as wild as they wanted to be.

If the thought of doing nothing to your hair leaves you with the chills, don’t worry. You can embrace your natural texture and still look cool. Don’t overstyle your hair so it doesn’t have movement. Put the flat iron or curling iron aside and use a little teasing and some hairspray to get control over your hair without it looking too perfect. Or if you do curl your hair, leave the ends out of the curling iron so it looks more natural. Grab random sized sections of hair rather than uniform pieces.

5. Wear your hair in simple, effortless styles. When Parisian girls are not wearing their hair down, they wear it in either a top knot, low bun (chignon) or pony tail. Each style is slightly messy and not perfect looking. Which is the best kind of style to do since it’s easy and quick! Use the texture of your hair to your advantage to create an unfussy updo or pony tail. Just make sure you have a little volume in your hair around your face so they style doesn’t look too severe.

I also saw a lot of middle parts in the hair. If you want to change things up in a very simple way, trying out a middle part is a great way to experiment.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is observing the trends and customs of the local women in the area. And France is one of the places I identify with a lot. I love that French women are all about embracing their natural beauty, and look effortlessly chic. And while it’s great to really go all out with your hair and makeup and fashion, sometimes it’s nice to feel beautiful with minimal effort.

I’d love to hear from you now. What are your thoughts on Parisian Beauty? If you identify with this style, what’s the one thing you can do (or love to do) to make yourself feel effortlessly chic? Let me know in the comments below.

Next week I’ll be talking about how you can bring more of Paris into your fashion and style! Ooo la la!

Merci bien!

Xo,
Melissa