Monday, August 22, 2016

No Foundation Redux #3: Obligatory Red Lip

USA-based beauty bloggers and fashion magazines seem to have a constant hard-on for "French girls." It's not totally without cause, since Paris has earned a reputation as the fashion capital of the world, and I'm told it's a very beautiful, romantic city. But the constant OMG FRENCH WOMAN!!! articles, ranging from "How to Wear Skinny Jeans Like a French Girl" to "Ask a French Girl About Friendship," strike me as bizarre. Unless I'm missing something, these are just articles about exceptionally pretty women who do things in a cool, stylish way...which isn't native to France. I've definitely seen a skinny jeans-leather jacket combo on the streets of Pittsburgh, and I don't think anybody feels comfortable fighting with their friends.

I say this somewhat bitchy stuff because one of the makeup looks that's very Vogue popular is a minimal base with sloppy hair and bright red lipstick. I often scoff at this look because, like many Americans who blog and watch YouTube, I'm quite attached to a red lip with a carefully perfected face. See my Christmas card/engagement photo outtakes, for instance (which feature the same lipstick I used above):

Why am I marrying this idiot?

Yet for all of my holier-than-thou attitude and stuffy sneers, I have to admit that I can actually kind of get behind this look. When I was in graduate school, I was forever enamored with the chic middle-aged barista who wore only three products (mascara, blush, red lipstick) on a daily basis. Furthermore, I like the idea of just using what you have instead of fundamentally altering your face. To quote Violette, apparently a mononymous French makeup artist:

What we want is to be ourselves—not a better version of ourselves. We feel like it’s better to be used to something than to try to change it. So we think: What style can I have with this face, and with this hair? That mentality is 100 percent French.

I dunno if it's 100% French, given my time trolling around makeup forums of all sorts, but for better or worse, it's the beauty attitude that is almost always attributed to France. And, hey, I kind of like it.

I decided to use my personal favorite red lip combo, MAC Scarlet Ibis lipstick and Basic Red pencil, for this photo, and because it's so bright, I figured I needed heavy eyebrows to balance it out. The Milk Makeup brow pencil is my darkest, most pigmented pencil, which makes drawing those puppies on a breeze. Then I can set them with the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel.

You know, I probably do my eyebrows too heavy these days. It's hitting me now.

Anyway! I used the Milk Ubame mascara and some Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon to darken up the lashes. I was a good girl and I didn't do much base--I left a bit of post-acne pigmentation uncovered, for instance--and just swiped some of the Kat Von D Concealer Creme in L3 on my undereyes. I almost patted some on my nose, too, since it tends to be darker and more red than the rest of my face, but I resisted, mostly because that concealer isn't the right shade for me. Finally, I felt a little naked without something on my cheeks, so I tapped a dollop of MAC Strobe Cream across my cheekbones.

Easy, hot weather friendly, and surprisingly brightening. As an added bonus, skipping most base makeup makes it very easy to switch out your lip color. You don't have to worry about scrubbing off the foundation or powder around your mouth!


  1. Your eyebrows don't look too heavy to me! But it's all personal preference, like most of this stuff.

    Based on the first two photos, I'm surprised that you bother wearing foundation at all. (Which is not to say you shouldn't, when you want to, just that you have lovely skin as-is.)

    1. My face is much darker than my neck and chest and it drives me BANANAS. Also, I like the little bit of evenness that comes from a light foundation.

  2. Replies
    1. Maybe I'm just now noticing the difference! Thanks.

  3. I still can't get over how great Scarlet Ibis looks on you! I wish I could pull off those hot warm reds.

    I've devoted my own share of snark to the "French girl" ideal, but I really do feel more comfortable with a bold lip and minimal makeup elsewhere than I do with any other kind of look. It's just a shame that that look has been fetishized and associated with the mythical (always skinny, always white) "French girl."

    Congrats again on your engagement!!

    1. Always-skinny-always-white is the key. Let's not pretend they're being picked exclusively because they're from France, right?