7 surefire ways to nail the je ne sais quoi of Parisian style

From skincare to fragrance to the classic red lippie, here are the seven dos and don'ts for mastering French-style beauty.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O, $25 / La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution, $20

Bioderma Sensibio H2O, $25 / La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution, $20

DO: Obsess over skincare

“I love shopping in French pharmacies,” Lancôme creative director Lisa Eldridge says. “They have an Old World charm about them and are full of amazing skincare products.” Stacked with fragrance-free formulas that focus on skin health, these pharmacy brands are a must-have for celebrity makeup artists. Micellar water, which works to cleanse skin and remove makeup, dirt and impurities without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture barrier, is the hottest item from France since Ladurée macarons. “These waters are great for sensitive skin, especially for models or celebrities who tend to wear a lot of makeup,” she says.

DON’T: Share your secrets

“For a French woman, beauty products are like a private secret, it’s very intimate,” street-style star and author of bestselling book Love, Style, Life Garance Doré says. “[The shade of lipstick] you wear is the kind of personal detail you maybe tell your best friend, but no one else.” In addition to guarding the identity of your beauty products like they’re rare gems, French women tend to use the same products year after year. “It’s very French, I suppose, to develop a signature look and have a sort of consistency,” Garance says.

Caroline de Maigret (Julien Boudet / BFA / REX / Shutterstock )

Caroline de Maigret (Julien Boudet / BFA / REX / Shutterstock )

DO: Wear rouge

“No Parisian look would be complete without a statement red lip!” Lisa says. To get a low-maintenance stain, apply colour with a lip brush, blot off colour with a tissue and reapply your favourite shade on top.

DO: A quick change

Just like their wardrobe — which can be worn from the office to dinner and dancing afterwards — the key to Parisian beauty is consistency and versatility. “In North America, there are more extremes when it comes to style and beauty. You spend the day in sweatpants and a ponytail then get all glam in an ultra-sophisticated dress,” Garance explains. “[French women] are more consistent in their beauty approach. It’s never too casual but also never too dressy. A red lip or maybe a smoky eye and a pair of heels is all you need for a night out dancing.”

DON’T: Use heat tools

Natural, undone and air-dried hair texture is a hallmark of French beauty. To create a natural wave, Parisian tastemakers like model Caroline de Maigret sleep with their hair in a braid and use dry shampoo to add a gritty, lived-in texture.

Klorane Dry Shampoo

Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo, $18,

DO: Exude confidence

“The key is to always look like you’re gazing at the most beautiful sunset,” muses Caroline. “It’s an attitude, an outlook; like you’re living this beautiful life and always thinking about something inspiring.”

DO: Have a signature scent

“Find ‘your’ perfume before you turn 30. Wear it for the next 30 years.” —How to Be Parisian by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret & Sophie Mas

Chanel No.5 L'eau, $119

Chanel No.5 L’eau, $119

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