A French It Girl Just Told Me Her Secret to Minimal Summer Makeup (Nope, Not a Red Lip)

French-girl makeup is practically synonymous with an iconic red lip. A French beauty beat is known for being natural and effortless (like you just threw on mascara and fluffed your hair before strolling out the door), and a bright-red pout provides the perfect juxtaposition to the otherwise minimal look. In it lies the essence of that coveted, dare I say, je ne sais quoi.

So consider my surprise when French It girl Jeanne Damas, founder of editor-loved beauty brand Les Filles en Rouje, tells me she's steering away from a classic red lip at the moment. "You know me, I love red lips. It's my signature," she shares with Who What Wear. ("Les filles en rouje" loosely translates to "girls in red," so clearly Damas has a special place in her heart for the vivid hue.) "But in the summer, I prefer very nude, glowy skin and lips to play more with eye shadows." It must be kismet, then, that she decided to launch a brand-new eye palette today, right before the official start of summer.

Jeanne Damas at a French cafe

(Image credit: @jeannedamas)

Eye shadow might not seem as low-lift (and thus quintessentially French) as a generous swipe of crimson, but take it from Damas: When done right, it appears effortless and balmy—like a sweet, summer day in Paris. Here, the beauty and style icon walks us through her minimal routine.

The palette comes in three, light-reflecting shades: Gold, Rose Gold, and Coppery Bronze. Each has a smooth, creamy consistency that blends like a dream and latches onto lids without settling into fine lines. Although the shades themselves have a soft shimmer, they were inspired by Damas's affinity for glossy, balmy lids. "Before I launched my eye shadow palette, I was always dabbing the rest of the highlighter on my finger on my eyelids," she tells me. The kiss of shine is just enough to add something extra to her makeup look while still appearing effortless.

The shimmery shadows retain that glossy, hydrated look, elevating the beat without appearing too glitzy. "I think that shimmer soft eye shadow gives a sort of curiosity; it's like a magnet," Damas adds. "The eyes are really the expression of us and our emotions, and I think that it is really cool to enhance them."

One swipe of shadow will give you a sheer wash of color, thanks to its silky texture, but you can easily build the intensity to your desired payoff. (Catch me wearing the light-gold hue on my inner eye corners all season long.) You could even mix the three shades, as Damas does, for a more glamorous, day-to-night effect. "Summer makeup is all about subtle colors and glowing looks," she adds, and these shimmery neutrals certainly pass the vibe check.

While you can use a brush to blend, Damas prefers to use her own two hands, as the warmth from your fingertips will melt the shadows right into your skin. "To be honest, I always apply all my makeup with my fingers. I actually love to feel the texture [and] mix the shades," she reveals. "For me, it also helps [me use] the right amount of product and blend it perfectly to have the natural effect that I want."

Les Filles en Rouje eyeshadows with seashells

(Image credit: Les Filles en Rouje)

As if the shades weren't beautiful enough on their own, they also come housed in a vintage-inspired mother-of-pearl checkerboard case that seriously doubles as an art piece. I honestly can't think of anything chicer to display on my vanity.

I then, of course, had to ask Damas about the rest of her go-to makeup routine, which, to no surprise, is subtle and low-fuss with an emphasis on glowing, ethereal skin. "I love glass skin, light-reflecting pearls, and glossy, balmy lips," she mentions. A quick dab of blush, a swipe of highlighter, a swirl of shimmery eye shadow, and a sheer, satin lip courtesy of her Le Baume are really all she needs for a hot summer day. If she's feeling fancy, maybe she'll slick a plumping lip oil on top for a glossier finish. Et voilà!

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Jamie Schneider
Senior Beauty Editor

Jamie Schneider is Who What Wear’s senior beauty editor based in New York City. She has a penchant for trend forecasting, covering everything from innovative skincare launches to celebrity profiles, and her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Coveteur, and more. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English before moving to NYC, and she's been there ever since. When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty finds, Jamie loves exploring vintage boutiques, reading mystery books (bonus points for an unexpected twist), and she’s always down for a park picnic in Brooklyn.