Ask the experts

7 Steps For Nailing Laid-Back French Beauty

Model smiling and applying foundation to her cheek

There’s many things the French are famed for: great wine, even better food… and of course, an enviably cool, laidback style that’s seen translated across beauty, from tousled {hair} to fresh {skin} to punchy, crimson {lips}. 

And, of course, who better to help us recreate that laid-back glamour of our friends across the channel than make up artist and founder of the uniquely French luxury brand {By Terry}, Terry de Gunzburg? Citing French icons like Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot — not to mention her grandmother — as her ultimate beauty influences, for Terry creating that irresistible ‘je ne sais quoi’ is down to simplicity.

By Terry make up - foundation, lipstick, mascara

“The secret to French beauty is to never overdo it,” Terry explains, “It’s all about balance. If you’re doing a bold lip colour, balance it out with a very natural-looking complexion. If you do a bold eye, go for a barely-there lip.”

Her second tip? Never skimp on skin care. 

“My mum always taught me that healthy skin is key. I look for — and create — make up that’s enriched with skin-loving ingredients, so your skin actually improves as you wear it!”

Ready to recreate laid-back glamour à la your favourite French beauties? Follow Terry’s seven easy steps…

1. Great make up starts with great skin care

“With eight weights of hyaluronic acid, this concentrated cream offers long-lasting hydration; it’s the best base for make up. Its totally fragrance-free which is great for sensitive skin but also means its less likely to interfere with the rest of your routine as you layer other products over it.”

2. Don’t forget a skin-protecting foundation

“Find a foundation that’s lightweight but buildable if you want a bit more coverage. A radiant finish is the secret to a ‘no make up’ make up look which is essential to perfecting French, ‘un-done’ glamour.”

3. Conceal (but don’t crease)

“The French look is all about enhancing your natural beauty. Look for a hydrating concealer infused with skin care ingredients which will brighten dark circles and hide blemishes without creasing or sinking into lines. A good concealer is so important, especially around the eyes as the skin is so thin and delicate there; it can very easily look cakey with thick, heavy products!”

4. Add all the radiance

“So easy to wear, this liquid formula adds a healthy glow to your cheeks instantly — without looking like you’ve piled on the blusher. It can even be patted on to your lids too for that little extra glam ‘pop’ of radiance. There’s two shades: ‘Rosy Flash’ which gives a “pinched cheeks” finish or ‘Sunny Glow’ which delivers subtle, sun-kissed colour.”

5. Define your peepers

“Typical understated French glamour includes enhancing your natural lashes with a really effective mascara. This formula — which is a bestseller for us for good reason! — gives extreme length and volume, depending on how you twist the brush.”

6. Channel your inner Parisian

“You’ll often spot the chicest French people out to dinner or drinks wearing a head-turning, Parisian red. Look for a long-lasting formula that will stay put all night.”

7. Sweep on the final touches

“I created this setting powder 10 years ago, and it’s still a favourite. Natural, clean and vegan, it has just two ingredients — one of which is hyaluronic acid. This is what will make your complexion look fresh and plumped even hours later. It will blur and perfect skin while fixing your make up in place — the pressed formula is particularly excellent for on-the-go touch ups.”


Chloe Lawrance

Chloe Lawrance

Senior Copywriter

Chloe is a Copywriter at Cult Beauty. She is a skin care fanatic and you can normally find her dispensing advice and recommendations to just about anybody that will listen (her cardinal rules? SPF daily; just say ‘no’ to face wipes; there’s no such thing as too much hydration). Chloe’s perfect day would be spent laying in the sun, a book in one hand and a cocktail (one spicy margarita, please) in the other. However, living in East London, the most she can usually hope for is sneaking 20 minutes with her Kindle and a pint in a pub garden.