There’s a reason everyone waxes poetic about French-girl style, and it’s not just because of that timeless uniform of ballet flats and bateau tops: it’s because the French-girl beauty aesthetic celebrates individuality. They use products to enhance their favorite features—to create the best versions of themselves—instead of trying to fit into any sort of idyllic mold.
This, of course, falls completely in line with the “you-but-better” wedding-beauty philosophy we talk so much about. So we turned to the quintessential French girl, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, whose recent collaboration with NARS helps to achieve just that. (Gainsbourg explains: “I created this collection around my exact beauty needs, which is all about getting a natural, effortless look.”) Here, she shares her top French-girl beauty tips that you can use not only on your wedding day, but throughout your entire engagement year.
- When it comes to skincare, French pharmacies are gold. (Luckily, you don’t have to be in France to get the goods—you can buy lots of those products online, especially Gainsbourg’s favorites.) “In France, pharmacies are the best stores. Those are the ones I prefer; I trust everything. I like using Biologique Recherche; they have quality products for your skin. I also use Avene Thermal Spring Water. It’s great for hydrating your skin and touching up throughout the day.” [Ed’s note: We also are huge fans of both brands—especially Biologique Recherche’s glow-getting, pore-refining P50 Lotion. Start using it now and you’ll thank us on your wedding day.)
- Master two go-to makeup looks: one for day (your bridal shower, wedding brunch) and one for evening (your bachelorette, rehearsal dinner). “In the morning, my routine is minimal,” Gainsbourg says. “I use concealer, a little bit of mascara, and something to enhance my lips. [Ed’s note: Her Lip Tint in Ephelide is the ultimate you-but-better lip color.] For the evening, I like to have a bit of a smokier eye, so I just swipe on eyeliner.”
- Use base makeup to strategically perfect—not cover—your skin. “Concealer is a great way to enhance your skin in a natural way; to camouflage spots and dark circles, which really suits me,” she says. Instead of wearing heavy foundation, try a tinted moisturizer, like the Hydrating Glow Tint, which evens skin tone and adds a dewy glow to your complexion without making it seem like you’re wearing any makeup at all. (It’s one of Gainsbourg’s personal favorite products from her collection. She wears it in Fair, but it also comes in Light, Medium, and Medium-Dark shades.) This mantra also extends to blush: Gainsbourg created light, sheer versions of the Nars Multiple sticks so that “you can get a flush of color while still letting your complexion shine through—and you don’t have to be a professional to apply it,” she says.
And when in doubt, wear wine-colored lipstick—a universally flattering shade that’s not as bright as red, but not as subtle as pale pink. (Plus, Gainsbourg’s mom, Jane Birkin, wore it.) “The Multiple Tint in Jeanette was inspired by a nickname my father had for my mother. It’s just a lovely shade that I associate with her—it creates a stain similar to the one you get from drinking wine,” Gainsbourg says. Try using it on your cheeks and lips for a pretty, monochromatic look—and then you won’t have to worry about drinking red wine that evening, because the stain will blend right into your lips!