TikTok is going wild for the au-naturel 'French girl makeup'—here's how to achieve the lived-in look

Think a red lip and brown eyeliner, that's the 'French girl' way...

Léa Seydoux pictured alongside Lily-Rose for a piece depicting French Girl makeup/ in a pink template
(Image credit: Getty Images: (L) ike Marsland/WireImage/ (R)Taylor Hill/WireImage)

While the 'clean girl' aesthetic has had its moment over on TikTok, users are now turning to a regime with a little more je ne sais quoi. Here's your complete guide to nailing 'French girl makeup', from the overall vibe to that iconic red lip.

Though we're already planning to channel the 'Italian girl' style with our summer capsule wardrobes, there's another European country inspiring our beauty look. Meet the classic 'French girl makeup' vibe, that's all about accentuating your natural beauty...

What is 'French girl makeup'?

'French girl makeup' literally refers to the natural, 'I just woke up like this' beauty look that has been famously attributed to the French since, well, forever. Yes, perhaps it is a tad stereotypical but it's a concept we've all heard at one time or another and personally, from all our social media scrolling, we're yet to see it disproved.

There's an effortlessness to French beauty and it's no coincidence that some of the biggest names in the biz—like Lancôme, Chanel, Clarins and Clinique—were founded in France. 

So, what does this natural makeup look entail? Traditionally it's all about letting your natural features shine through—less is always more. 

A Parisian gal, for instance, would want her skin to still look like skin but with a hint of coverage and radiance. Skincare takes precedence over everything, hence why French pharmacies are also of great interest over on TikTok. 

There are also a few iconic elements that are synonymous with French beauty, like the blue-toned red lip (think Lily Collin's fave red lipstick from Emily In Paris), the natural flush and the soft, smokey eye.

As Saffron Hughes, makeup artist at False Eyelashes explains: "French girl makeup is all about looking effortlessly beautiful." It's usually centered around a few key, staple looks, like the red lip, which Hughes says, "becomes the center of attention without looking too overdone."

@aliciabreuer0

♬ Mon Soleil (from "Emily in Paris" Soundtrack) - Ashley Park

As many recent trends indicate, like 'vanilla girl' and 'gentle makeup', 2023 seems to be the era of more natural, barely-there makeup, which is why the OG look of 'French girl' beauty is getting some much-deserved attention. In fact, the hashtag alone has garnered over 34 million views, with users sharing tutorials on achieving the look...

@julianashiel

♬ original sound - Juliana Shiel
@manonlagreve

♬ original sound - Manon Lagrève

MIL's pick of 'French girl' makeup products

How to do 'French girl' makeup?

Luckily for anyone wanting to recreate this look, MUA Saffron Hughes says that it's, "really easy to achieve, the key to achieving this makeup look lies in the use of cream blush or cheek tint," and has broken down each iconic element... 

Step 1: Flawless base & glow

To achieve the classic, nonchalant 'French girl' look, opt for either a tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or a non-comedogenic foundation—or alternatively, just use a glowy concealer where you need some extra coverage.

Hughes then advises starting "by applying your preferred base makeup to even out your skin tone and create a smooth canvas." For a very natural finish, apply your base with either a damp beauty blender or your fingers.

Then, she says to "use a cream contour product to subtly enhance your features. Apply it underneath your cheekbones, along your nose, and gently trace your jawline. Remember, the French girl look embraces natural beauty, so avoid heavy-handed application while still defining your features."

Step 2: Blush!

Next comes the most important step, according to Hughes: "The key product for this look is a cream blush. Apply a generous amount to your cheeks, and don't be afraid to extend it up along your cheekbones. While you don't want to go overboard, don't shy away from building up the color for a healthy, flushed effect."

For a uber cohesive and lived-in look, Hughes recommends adding your cream blush to your eyelids, "using your finger or a dense eyeshadow brush, to tie in the colors on your cheeks and lids," then gently blend it out with a fluffy eyeshadow brush, "to add dimension to the eye whilst still keeping the makeup soft."

Step 3: Eyes

For your eyes, you can either opt for a simple, gently curled, mascara look—the Vaseline eye-lash hack would also work perfectly—or try the classic, siren-esque smokey eye, using nudes and matte brown shades and followed by a brown or black, smudgy eyeshadow liner.

To create the TikTok-fave siren eye look, Hughes instructs to "go in with a pencil eyeliner on the outer corner of your lash line and create a thin wing outwards. Apply a small amount of eyeliner to the inner corner of your lashes as well. This step helps accentuate the shape of your eyes and adds depth to your overall look. 

"Avoid using the eyeliner between where your iris starts and ends when looking at yourself straight on. By doing so, you can maintain the elongated and foxy appearance of your eyes. Complete your eye makeup by coating your lashes with a lengthening mascara."

Step 4: Lips

As Hughes notes: "The French girl makeup look wouldn't be complete without a classic red lip."

She also tells us not to be afraid to try different shades of red to find the right hue for our skin tones, adding: "Some people may think that red lipstick doesn't suit them, but it's likely they just haven't found the right shade for their skin tone. The great thing is that red lipstick comes in a wide variety of shades and undertones."

To recreate that classic red lip, we'd also recommend using a lip liner (as red can be a tad unforgiving) but it's okay if your line isn't perfect. The whole point of French beauty is to look effortless like you didn't just spend half an hour painstakingly lining your lips. 

And for a super kissable look, apply your red lipstick with your finger or blot it out slightly once applied—to create a post-smooch effect or like you've just taken a sip of wine!

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.


Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.