French lessons

Their sexy, easy glamour is leg­endary. Learn from those Gal­lic girls, here.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Beauty Flash Trends -

We South African women may not wear trench coats on sunny days, quote Voltaire or view but­ter as a food group, but we are as fas­ci­nated as the rest of the world when it comes to the abid­ing al­lure of French beauty.

And the off-hand el­e­gance and pouty sex ap­peal of icons like Brigitte Bar­dot and Cather­ine Deneuve are only the be­gin­ning of the in­spi­ra­tion. A new, chic wave of Gal­lic in­génues and trend­set­ters have de­vel­oped a softer, looser, cooler and even more in­de­fin­able aes­thetic.

The hair is full, but not quite vo­lu­mi­nous; lips are clas­sic red, but smudged; moody eye makeup stops just short of smoky. And the whole look is nu­anced, home-grown, ef­fort­less and as hard to ob­tain as a bot­tle of the award-win­ning French wine Château-gril­let.

That’s why we’ve de­cided to stop ad­mir­ing from afar and get closer to our chic sub­ject mat­ter. We asked French ac­tresses, de­sign­ers, blog­gers, makeup artists and hair­styl­ists to break down the in­tri­ca­cies of their beauty rou­tines, re­veal their best prod­ucts and spill their beauty se­crets. Fol­low their fool­proof ad­vice and take a lit­tle of the “I don’t know” out of that cer­tain je ne sais quoi.

When a woman heads to a bar for a blowout in­stead of a glass of wine, rest as­sured, she isn’t French.

1Press your cof­fee, not your hair

“The ideal here is bouncy and full,” ex­plains Parisian stylist David Mal­lett. “French women don’t ever use straight­en­ing irons.”

2Use masses of the cult L’oréal Paris El­nett Hair­spray (R84.95)

“I have some at home, the of­fice and in my car,” says model and L’oréal Paris spokes­woman Inès de la Fres­sange. A quick blast at the roots adds vol­ume.

3Ease up on the sham­poo

“French women wash their hair three times a week, max,” re­veals Parisian colourist Christophe Robin.

4Try a splash of white vine­gar

“It adds shine and pro­tects colour,” ex­plains colourist So­phie Ge­or­giou. “It’s our best trick.” Di­lute three drops in cold wa­ter and ap­ply af­ter con­di­tioner. And it’s cheap, too! Don’t think of a fringe as a school-girl look. “It’s a tool of se­duc­tion,” says Christophe. “It’s sexy when a woman pushes back her fringe. You see her eyes for a minute, then they’re gone. Ex­cit­ing!” Here’s how to get the style.

1Keep it long

“The most flat­ter­ing fringe length grazes the eyes,” rec­om­mends David. Ask your hair­styl­ist to dry-cut so that you can see where it will fall.

2Keep it light

“French women de­spise thick, blunt fringes,” re­veals David. “They just sit there.” Have your fringe cut in a soft arc with feath­ery ends.

3Keep it lifted

“My clients style their fringes with a Vel­cro roller,” says Christophe. Roll it un­der (not up) while your hair is dry, do your makeup, and re­move the roller five min­utes later, comb­ing through with your fin­gers. “It adds great vol­ume at the roots,” he says. The sig­na­ture French smoky eye isn’t all that smoky, but it is al­most ef­fort­less. “We like ac­ci­den­tal beauty,” ex­plains makeup artist Vi­o­lette. “Too much dark, heavy makeup looks forced.” French women are known for sim­plis­tic beauty. Style icon and edi­tor Carine Roit­feld fol­lows this clas­sic makeup style, and her motto in life is: “Do what you’re not sup­posed to do.” To rock this sul­try fin­ish, be­gin here.

1Start with a creamy eye pen­cil

Draw the liner along your up­per eye­lid, squish­ing the tip be­tween your eye­lashes to fill in any gaps. Re­peat on the bot­tom lashes. We love Dior Dior­show Khôl in Smoky Black (R415).

2Smudge the line

Us­ing pe­tro­leum jelly or lip balm on your fin­ger­tip, rub your liner back and forth and up to the crease. TRY La­bello Lip But­ter Orig­i­nal (R32.99). “This cov­ers your lids in trans­par­ent black­ness,” ex­plains Vi­o­lette. Easy!

French fash­ion blog­ger and model Marie Gil­liot.

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